Brioche, honeydew melon,
cucumber and fresh barley
Lemon sole, cucumber salad,
Picked by hand
Emperor's Peak, Fuding
White tea has always had a reputation for being rare and expensive. During the era of China's imperial dynasties, it was strictly for the Emperor and members of his royal court. 'Common people' were not allowed to drink white tea at all. But nowadays, if you know where to look, you can experience the best white teas. We found this wonderful example in Diantou town, Fuding, in the far northeast of Fujian province. White tea is believed to have originated here, among the misty granite peaks of Taimu Mountain. To be classed as a Fujian white, the tea can only be made in specific areas north of the Minjiang River, with buds from cultivars of tea bushes indigenous to this region.
What sets white tea apart is that it's made only from the tender, unopened spring leaf buds of the tea bush. It is one of the truly ancient tea classes, made very simply by letting the freshly plucked tea leaf buds gently wither in the sun. For a premium Fuding white tea such as this, only buds of the Fuding Da Bai Hao tea bush cultivar can be used. Known as 'silver needles', the down-covered buds are plucked with great care as they emerge in the spring. The delicate processing continues as the buds are naturally withered in the sun before being dried to retain their subtle complexities.
LEAF APPEARANCE:Silvery curled buds with a downy fur
AROMA:Fresh-baked brioche, sweet hay and pine needles
LIQUOR:Golden with a pinkish hue
TASTE:Honeydew melon, cucumber and fresh barley
THE ART OF PREPARATION
EMPEROR'S PEAK WHITE TEA
This is our recommended brewing guide, but by all means adjust to your own taste.
- Warm your teapot and cups with boiling water.
- Discard the water and add three level teaspoons of tea to your pot.
- Add 250ml / 9oz water (i.e. one teacup or small mug) at 85°C / 185°F. If you don't have a thermometer, let the boiled kettle sit for five minutes.
- Place the lid on the pot and steep for three-to-five minutes. Stir, then strain the tea into your cup.
- To re-steep the leaves, repeat steps 3–5 (up to three times).