June 03, 2021
by Cynthia Fazekas
Our Masters Teas have been flying in and with the flurry of activity this buying season and all its pandemic complications, my tea table has been busy. Fortunately, when it’s time to taste the Masters Teas, everything must quiet down. And such quiet in mind and environment is perfectly suitable for our Bai Hai Yin Zhen.
Harvested April of this year, Bai Hao Yin Zhen is grown in the misty, rainforest-like area of Fuding a city in Ningde Prefecture, Fujian, China. When you leave the city proper and take the twisting mountain roads up to the tea farming villages, you can easily get motion sickness from the hairpin turns and lack of a horizon, but it is worth the discomfort. Once out of the car and settled, the farmers are friendly and enjoy chatting about their families, how the tea plants are growing, and sharing little stories about their local history. Everywhere there is the familiar aroma of white tea - the terroir of this region. Even when you are not close to the tea plants it is everywhere like a spirit of the tea’s essence. Sweet honeydew melon and hints of fresh cucumber. Sublime and amazing.
And now for our tasting notes. My first infusion is a long traditional western style tasters’ steep of 3 minutes at 180F using a measured 2 grams of tea. The young fuzzy buds deliver a perfect Yin Zhen cup of silky texture and honeydew melon notes. Just like those that drift in the air of the mountain villages. The nuance is complex and lingers on the palate long after the sip is consumed. I’m consumed by memories. A second infusion still delivers after such a long initial steep, but the notes are a little mellower and suggest soft white grapes and green melon, with a finish of sweet cucumber and a hint of squash blossoms. Wonderful and perfect. Truly a gift of memory from a trip ten long years ago but still as fresh as these soft downy tea buds. These Bai Hao Yin Zhen buds still have more flavor in them to explore, so I’m excited to continue. Be sure to try it soon, while it is still so fresh!