Wednesday, August 27, 2014

White Peony (Bai MuDan) Tea

I recently got a goodie bag from Teavivre with some of their teas they say will cool me down with their "cooling effect". I was pretty intrigued by this "cooling effect" claim so I decided to do a little bit of research. The cooling effect is something that is a part of traditional Chinese medicine; actually there is a lot of effects to Chinese medicine. One can get a warming effect (a rise of the body's internal temperature), a cooling effect (a drop in the body's internal temperature), and a neutral effect (No change to the internal temperature). While I have noticed the effects of the warming energy of tea, I've always attributed this to the temperature of the tea itself. According to Chinese Medicine, its not and that is very interesting to me. Reading further, I learned that some teas are better suited for certain times of the year due to their energy released into the human body. In the spring/summer(warm months), it is best to consume white tea, raw puerh, and various other green tea/oolongs. In the winter(cold months), it is best to consume aged/cooked puerh, roasted oolongs, and generally darker liquor teas. Traditional Chinese Medicine is something that is complicated, to me, but is interesting to see what plants/herbs/tea can "heal" the body with its specific energy.

Borrowing from Teavivre!
Moving on, I picked out a tea that I enjoy when I am really thirsty and want a light refreshing brew; White Tea. I haven't had Bai MuDan before but due to my experience with Silver Needle, I had a general idea of what I would be tasting. I picked out a smaller gaiwan (100ml) and decided to put the full 5g sample in because having 2g left over is sort of a hassle, plus I usually like my tea on the stronger side. The leaf itself is totally different from the silver needle but there are a few needles in the mix of leaves.  The smell of the dry leaves are quite nice. Earthy-Hay-maybe a little dirt. It may sound un-appealing but I know that this is gonna be a good flavorful pot of tea! The color is a light yellow with orange hues. More then likely this is because of the oxidation that occurs in the processing.

Borrowing from teavivre!
Using 180-190 degree water, I did a fast 5sec steep that I dumped out. I wanted to clean the leaves and wake them up for their full potential. Second infusion was about 10 seconds. The color was a nice pale gold color with the un-mistakeable smell of hay. White Tea liquor reminds me of being on our family farm as a child. Earthy flavors power through with a slight hay like sweetness that is comparable to sucking on a real piece of hay. I have no idea why or how white tea gets this flavor profile but it really does make me nostalgic for simpler time when I was running through fields and climbing in barns. The viscosity of the liquor is wonderful and thick! Its almost syrupy. I'm sure this is mostly due to the amount of leaf I used. I get 5-6 good infusions and the color starts fading into 2 maybe 3 OK infusions. I kept the infusion about the same due to how much leaf I was using. Ive always felt that white tea doesn't really have a long infusion life though.

Now back to how I feel internally; I do get this sense of being cool after I drank this tea. It is an odd sensation. Ive noticed that sometimes when I drink high roasted teas before bed, I have trouble cooling down and can even sweat during the night. With this tea, I did feel cool even though the 80 degree/80% humidity here has been hellacious. Its not a miracle tea and its not going to make you cold but you do get a feeling of being cool/comfortable. Its a very subtle feeling that makes me want to pay more attention to what effects the tea has in those little precious leaves.