Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What-Cha: Malawi Bvumbwe Peony White Tea, A Tea Review

I am so nervous! I finally grew a pair (and admitted that it was tolerably complete) and entered my Scourge army into the monthly painting contest on the Dropzone Forums. I have been told numerous times that my army is awesome, and I am very pleased with how it came out, but I will be going against professionals and seasoned painter, this is my first army (well I did finish them, and decided I wanted a different scheme so I stripped them and started over, so second?) I feel like it is such a glaring pile of newb mistakes. But on the other hand I am one of those people that obsesses over details and never really calls a project complete....so maybe I should stop worrying? Wish me luck! This is my first time putting my painting really 'out there' so it is a little terrifying.


Ok, I have managed to calm myself down enough to write a blog about tea! A tea that looks like a pile of mulch! What-Cha's Malawi Bvumbwe Peony White Tea is a tea that if I was not more knowledgeable, I would think I am being trolled. I have seen some gloriously fluffy Bai Mu Dan, but this tea takes the cake with its massive whole leaves, and instead of being the usual shades of green these leaves are brown and dried, like autumn leaves. The Satemwa Tea Estate in Malawi never ceases to amaze me with its unusual teas (remember the Antler tea?) So, the aroma of these leaves is anything but dry and smell-less (as some giant dried autumn looking leaves can be) they are in fact leafy and a bit loamy smelling, but the real show stopper is the honey drizzled peach sweetness and touch of fresh growing vegetation and hay. This tea reminds me of the edge of summer into fall, it has that warmth of summer with the crispy leafiness of fall.

Leaves this size do not fit in my normal gaiwan, so I used my green gaiwan-ish thing. Technically this thing is a gaiwan, but it also is called a travel gaiwan or easy gaiwan, I thought that its built in strainer in the lid and short-wide profile would make for a good pseudo houhin until I can get a real one (or a shiboridashi, a girl can dream) they fit perfectly inside the wide gaiwan. When they are wet they become beautifully mottled colored, and oooh the aroma is nice. Notes of sun warmed hay, scuppernongs, and apricots, so delightfully sweet and fruity! The liquid is a veritable summer picnic of fruit, with melon, apricot, peaches, honey, and a distinct note of sun warmed alfalfa and grass.

The first steep tastes like a field and fruit, it is sweet and full of sun drenched life, warm wildflowers, alfalfa (like the grass not the salad sprouts) with a finish of dried apricots and melon. This tea is delightfully sweet and has a cooling effect, which would make this an excellent summer tea me thinks. Even though it has a cooling effect, it also has a very relaxing lazy feel to it, like I want to sip it while lounging under a shady tree on a warm day.

Yes, I definitely went for a second steep, and this one I decided to give it a long steep, I steeped it for a whopping ten minutes. I really like pushing the boundaries with white tea because I have found that it takes a lot to screw up the taste, and usually what you get is something bland rather than bitter. The aroma of the second steep is really muscatel and has a tiny hint of honey and hay. Steeping it really long brings out the muscatel notes, along with rich honey and apricots, oh man it is so rich and sweet, almost like a dessert! This might be one of my new favorite White Peony teas (why is it that almost all my favorite White Teas come from Africa now?) it is just so rich and sweet, plus the leaves are so fun!

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite lines in a rap song is by the rapper Black Thought, from The Roots: "Y'all see the masterpiece, but to me it's unperfected." I think this often applies to artistic works...so hopefully the people in the contest will see a masterpiece, even if you weren't fully satisfied with it. I actually have been feeling that way recently about some of the YouTube videos I've been filming...as I get a little more experienced making them, my standards get higher, and I think there's a danger for any sort of artistic creator, if you let your standards grow faster than your skill level, it can be discouraging. I think just embracing imperfection and being willing to put stuff out there even if it feels unfinished, is often necessary to actually getting your work out there.

    This tea sounds really wonderful. I tend to love African white teas, but I have yet to try any of these darker ones, and those are the kinds of white teas I tend to like most.

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