Thursday, August 14, 2014

Teavivre: Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2013, A Tea Review

Yay, it is Thursday, my favorite day of the week...why, you might be asking, because it is Ben's day off. Usually we gallivant, game, and go to gaming night at Tabletop. Part of our rambling around today took us out for Indian food (I ate way too much and still feel stuffed) and to the thrift store. At said store I found a new tea set, a pretty Kyusu and matching cups, I had to have it of course.

Today we are having a nice little visit with Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2013 from Teavivire. This tea is pretty fancy, made from Shou Mei White Tea plucked in 2011, it is then compressed and aged making it a cousin of Pu erh and giving it an extra smoothness. This will be my second aged white tea cake and I am excited, I love teas that are out of the 'norm' or my usual zone of sipping. The aroma is sweet, like a rich blend of muscatel and honey, in fact it reminds me a bit of honey wine (specifically the Grecian Honeyed Wine I used to make when I could imbibe in my younger days) with a nice finish of hay.

The now steeped leaves is still very sweet, a nice honey sweet and muscatel aroma wafting from the soggy leaves. It reminds me of late summer harvest of grapes and hay, it has a heavy warmth to it that I can safely say is reminiscent of Provence. The liquid is more honey less wine, there is still a muscatel quality to it, but the sweetness of honey takes the forefront.

The taste, oh man, it is so sweet! I feel like I am drinking tea that tastes like mown hay, freshly broken stems, and a touch of grapes, but with a massive splash of honey wine mixed it. It is mild and heady, like wine without the burning and tipsy quality, but it still has the warmth and sweetness.

For the second steeping the aroma is much the same as the first, but much more intense. It has an added edge of richness that it did not have previously. This time around the taste is more balanced. It is still very sweet, but the notes of hay, grapes, and fresh vegetation are not overwhelmed by honey wine. The mouthfeel has a touch of creaminess about it as well.

On the third steeping the aroma has taken on a touch of earthiness, I have noticed that Shou Mei almost always has an earthy quality making it unique among its white tea friends. The taste has also acquired a mellow earthiness and leaf loam taste, this of course is accompanied by muscatel and broken stems. It is not as sweet this time as the previous steeps, but it still has an intense honey taste. I really liked this tea, the beginning sweetness was a bit intense (though not in a bad way) and it fades to a nice mellowness at the finish.

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