by kate on November 16th, 2012
Canton Tea Club Week 7: Hawaii Forest White
The tea club boxes this week contain just 5 precious grams of Eva and Chiu’s Forest White tea. Why so little? Well, this values $800 per kilo. Listen to our friend, tea expert Jane Pettigrew talking to Canton Director Jennifer Wood about her trip to Hawaii to find out more.
For me it's the typical white nuttiness that comes across above anything else. It reminds me of some of my favourite silver tips, and am glad that the fruitiness doesn't come across too strongly. It is pleasantly sweet, however.
We used the entire sample for this testing, per the instructions that came with it. We do feel quite honored to try it. The dry leaves had a cocoa-ish, vegetal aroma and a similar appearance to Pai Mu Tan. The liquid was pale yellow, melony and had a faint bitter aftertaste until it had cooled slightly. Subsequent infusions were more melony with some peaty-smoky aftertaste. The aroma of the leaves after steeping was very interesting with a fairly strong peaty-smokiness. This is our ultimate posting here. Due to circumstances here, we need to spend time on personal matters. Best wishes to you all.
I actually did a write-up of this tea last year, but - like Mikey's Mauka oolong - the difference between last year's white and this years is like night and day. Whereas last year's was grapy, buttery, and grassy, this was...well, very tropical. I can't pinpoint an exact tropical fruit it mimics, but there is definitely a residual of pineapple and still a fair presence of grapy sweetness. On a personal note, I was REALLY happy to see this delivery in the mail. I'd had a crummy day of work and errand-running, and to be greeted by a local(-ish?) white tea in the post was a pleasant surprise.
Brewer's note: Boil the s**t out of this. I know that's putting it crudely, but it's not a delicate tea at all. You get more bang for your buck wit a three-minute steep in boiling water. No vegetal kickback or anything. Truly a perfect white this year.
I do not believe that I have, previously, tasted a white tea, so I have nothing to compare this one with, but what I can say is that, for me, this is the least satisfactory of the Tea Club samples, to date and does not seem to get close to weeks 5 and 6.
Using the Gaiwan style, the first liquors produced were sweet and a bit floral but didn't seem to amount to much. Later, the brew gets progressively stronger and the sensation is at the back of the tongue, the throat even, producing the sort of light numbness you might get from extrememy mild clove or a boiled cinamon sweet. The tea lacks aroma and any fruitiness and is very disappointing.
The most obvious plus point is the staying power of the tea, with 17 infusuions near geometrically progressing to an infusion of 14 minutes. By the final brew the flavour is still very strong, at the back of the throat and there is an aroma akin to stewed peapods.
I now plan to try an orthodox brew tomorrow, but, so far, whereas last week the Tea got 5*, this week we are around 1 very expensive *