Organic White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) White Tea from TeaVivre

For those of you who did not see the photographic evidence that I posted to my social networks late last evening, I have officially completed the organization of all of my tea samples! This was a huge victory for me, as the various boxes were really stacking up in my storage room, and thus causing me anxiety every time I opened the door to this room. But, that is no longer a problem, and all samples are sorted by country of origin. I would have preferred to organize by region, but I ran out of boxes. Oh well. Here is the photo of my “organized” tea samples.

Organized Tea Samples
Organized Tea Samples

Again, I found many good samples that had been lost in the chaos. As someone who has recently made huge changes to dieting and lifestyle, I have been focusing more specifically on organic products in general, including tea. I was excited to find several organic tea samples, including this Organic White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) from TeaVivre. If you are passionate about organic products, and want to try a light and satisfying white tea, visit the TeaVivre homepage! You can get 1.75 ounces (50 grams) of Organic White Peony Tea for $10.90. TeaVivre has a large variety of fresh, natural, and high quality Chinese teas, many of which are organic! There are many tea retailers out there offering Chinese teas, but few have the assortment that TeaVivre offers.

This Organic White Peony Tea comes from Mount Taimu, Fuding County, Fujian Province, in eastern China. Fuding is very highly respected for the white tea produced here, especially the White Peony and Silver Needle teas. The difference between White Peony and Silver Needle white teas is quite simple. White Peony uses a two leaf and bud pluck. Silver Needle is usually a very fine unopened leaf enveloping a fresh tea bud. This Organic White Peony from TeaVivre is produced using leaves harvested from the Da Bai (Large White) and Da Hao (Large Hair) cultivar tea bushes.

The sample packet has been opened, and a sweet, floral, and robust scent is escaping the packet. Let the journey begin…

Organic White Peony Bai Mu Dan Tea Dry Leaves
Organic White Peony Bai Mu Dan Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves range in color from bright green to forest green, and light brown to dark brown, with some of the leaves being covered in fine silver downy-like hairs. The buds appear white from the abundance of silver hairs, and are needle shaped. The thin stems are dark brown. The pluck is two fine leaves and a long bud. The leaves have a smooth, light, and crisp texture. Many of the leaves are whole, but the majority are medium to large fragments. Considering the small sample packets that the leaves were packed into, I would expect the leaves to arrive in better condition if purchased in the retail quantity and packaging. Many of the leaves and buds are detached from the stems, but there are no bare stems in the mix. The smell carries scents of hay, tea roses, dried cherry, dark honey, and light burgundy wine.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 185°F (85°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. Expect three quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves. Add 30 seconds to each subsequent infusion.

Organic White Peony Bai Mu Dan Tea Infusion
Organic White Peony Bai Mu Dan Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, pale golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma carries scents of hay, dandelion, light honey, lemon, and cedar wood. The body is light-medium, with a surprisingly round and robust texture. The taste has notes of hay, dandelion, lemon, cedar wood, light honey, and burgundy wine. The aftertaste carries the hay, lemon, and burgundy notes. There is a moderate level of astringency. Overall, this is a very nicely rounded white tea!

Organic White Peony Bai Mu Dan Tea Infused Leaves
Organic White Peony Bai Mu Dan Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fairly uniform fresh forest green color, with the buds being slightly lighter green, and the stems light brown. The leaves are mostly medium to large fragments, with some whole leaves in the mix. The buds are all whole, with an average length of about 1 inch (25 mm). The stems show a pluck of two leaves and a bud. The leaves all have a soft, smooth, fairly delicate texture. The smell carries scents of hay, dandelion, wood, and light burgundy wine.

The Organic White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) Tea from TeaVivre is a good quality, organic, and reasonably priced white tea. More robust and flavorful than the Silver Needle styles of white tea, this Organic White Peony has much to offer in terms of aroma and taste over at least three infusions. With caffeine levels high enough to keep your eyes open, but low enough to not hinder sleep, this is a great tea to enjoy at any time during the day or evening, unless you are very sensitive to caffeine. This is a good every day use type of white tea, inexpensive compared to Silver Needle, and consistent through multiple infusions. Click Here to go to the TeaVivre website, and find the Organic White Peony under the White – Organic category.

Thanks to Angel at TeaVivre for supplying this sample of Organic White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) Tea. Cheers!

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Fikkal Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal White Tea From Surajmukhi Tea

In the past, I have reviewed several black teas, green teas, and maybe one white tea from Nepal. However, today will be my first experience with a silver needle white tea from this up and coming tea producing nation. This review will focus on the Silver Needle White Tea from Fikkal Tea Garden, located in the Ilam District of eastern Nepal. This sample was provided by Surajmukhi Tea.

Sadly, I was not able to find much information on the Fikkal Tea Garden. I was able to determine that it must be closely positioned to Kanyam Tea Estate and Factory, just a few kilometers away from the India border and the Darjeeling region of India.

The sample packet has been opened, and a unique earthy aroma is being emitted from this Silver Needle tea. Let the journey begin…

Fikkal Silver Needle White Tea Dry Leaves
Fikkal Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have the standard colors for a silver needle tea, consisting of some dark greenish brown stems, and buds covered in downy-like silver hairs. Most of the buds are whole and unbroken, but there is a notable amount of fragments and crumbs. There are also some bare stems in the mix. The buds have a very soft, fuzzy texture. The buds are fluffy, crisp, and delicate, cracking easily. The buds are the standard needle shape, and are thin compared to those produced in China. The aroma is quite unique, with scents of hay, barnyard, animal hyde, light flowers, and light grapes.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

To best enjoy this tea at home, use 3 grams of dry leaves for every six ounces (180 ml) of water to be used. The leaves are quite light and fluffy, so use 2-3 teaspoons to reach the 3 gram amount. Heat water to 175°F to 185°F (75°C to 85°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. These leaves may be reused at least three to four times.

Fikkal Silver Needle White Tea Infusion
Fikkal Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal White Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, pale, golden-yellow color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of hay, light green grape, valley flowers, light honey, and light vanilla. The body is light-medium, with a velvety and clean texture, and a refreshing energy. The taste has notes of hay, light green grape, valley flowers, light vanilla, light honey, and light apricot. The aftertaste leans to the hay and honey notes, with an essence left on the breath that carries the hay and valley flower notes. There is a very mild astringency, and no bitterness whatsoever.

Fikkal Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves
Fikkal Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from the dark brown stems to light brownish-green buds. About half of the buds are whole or unbroken, while the other half are bud fragments. There are a few bare stems in the mix, and a notable amount of small fragments and crumbs. The buds have an average length of just under one inch (25 mm). The buds are fairly thin. Some plucks have a very fine leaf enveloping a smaller bud. The aroma has scents of hay, green grapes, light barnyard, light valley flowers, light honey, and light animal hyde.

Although I cannot say that I am overly impressed by the appearance of the Fikkal Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea, either in the dry or infused state, I was highly impressed by the characteristics of the infusion in the cup. The color of the liquor was bright and uplifting, the body and texture were refreshing and clean, the taste was sweet and well layered. I am currently on the third infusion of the same leaves, and this tea maintains these positive characteristics quite well from infusion to infusion. I was slightly concerned about how this tea would turn out in the cup, given the earthy and animal scents that I was picking up in the dry leaf, but neither of those descriptions ended up in the cup. With a little more attention paid to the pluck and processing of these buds in order to improve their appearance, this tea could easily compete with it’s competitors from India, Sri Lanka, and even China.

Thanks again to Ankit Lochan at Surajmukhi Tea for providing this interesting sample of Fikkal Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal White Tea! Cheers!

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company

Today, I have an opportunity to review a tea that is in the top three most expensive teas that I have had, thanks to the Heritage Tea Assam Company in India. This review will focus on their Super Fine grade Silver Needle white tea. To view more information on the Heritage Tea Assam Company, please click here.

The Heritage Tea Assam Company produces silver needle white tea only during the second flush harvest of each year. This tea is produced in very limited quantities, thus the high market value. Such fine white teas originating from the Assam region are also quite rare. If you are able to find this tea, be prepared for a high price tag. If you are a white tea enthusiast, however, then certainly you will want to try such a specialty product.

The sample packet has been opened, and the sight of such fine, fairly short and slender buds is intriguing me. Let the journey begin…

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Dry Leaves
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a light yellowish-green color, with delicate downy-like hairs covering them. The leaves have the typical sickle shape. The pluck is one fine leaf and unopened bud. The buds are fairly short and slender, with the average bud measuring 0.5 to 0.75 inches (12 – 19 mm). There leaves have a smooth, soft texture. Most buds are whole and unbroken. The aroma of the leaves is quite unique, with scents of cocoa, sweet hay, and light dried fruit.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

To best enjoy this tea at home, use 3 grams of dry leaves for every six ounces (180 ml) of water to be used. The leaves are quite light and fluffy, so use 2-3 teaspoons to reach the 3 gram amount. Heat water to 175°F to 185°F (75°C to 85°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. These leaves may be reused at least three to four times.

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 1st Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light pale golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of flowers, sweet hay, and light spice. The body is light-medium, with a gentle texture. The taste is fairly delicate, and has notes of flowers, sweet hay, and light spice. The aftertaste has hay and floral notes, and there seems to be slight touch of cocoa that develops.

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 2nd Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 2nd Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 3rd Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 3rd Infusion

The second and third infusions were definitely stronger in aroma, body, and taste than the first infusion. The same general characteristics of flowers, sweet hay, and light spice were present.

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fresh light forest green to light brown color. The pluck is one fine leaf with bud. The leaves are mostly unbroken, but there are some fragments. Although the buds have expanded in the water, they are still shorter and thinner than Chinese silver needle teas. The aroma has scents of flowers, hay, and a light touch sweet red wine.

The Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company is certainly a unique product coming from the Assam region, which is more commonly known for the robust black teas produced there. This white tea is quite the opposite, with a fairly delicate aroma and taste. The leaves produced three quality infusions, and I am confident that a fourth and maybe even fifth will still product quality infusions. I did have some difficulty in picking out the flavors in this white tea, as I found the undertones of the taste to be very delicate.

If you think that the only good teas coming from Assam are of the black variety, then try this tea! If the Super Fine price tag is too high, then there is also a Fine grade. One way or another, you will discover that the Heritage Tea Assam Company is forging a new path for Assam tea growers, introducing Assam grown teas that are more delicate and attractive to fine tea enthusiasts. As their experience and skill increase, I expect the Heritage Tea Assam Company to gain more popularity among tea enthusiasts around the world.

Thank you to the Heritage Tea Assam Company for providing this incredible high end white tea! Cheers!

Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea from Doke Tea Estate

I have reviewed maybe four of the high quality teas being produced at the Doke Tea Estate, but I must say that I was very happy to find a sample of their Silver Needle white tea in the most recent package of samples from Lochan Tea. Since deciding to import some fairly expensive silver tips white tea from Sri Lanka, I am always interested to try other silver needle products for comparison purposes. Thankfully, I am still happy with the silver tips from Sri Lanka, even though the price tag is about 150% some other good silver needle products from India, Nepal, and Malawi. However, I have much respect for the products coming from the Doke Tea Estate, as well as the Lochan family in general, and I am excited to see how their Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea compares to the others.

The Doke Tea Estate is located in Bihar, India, and is situated southwest of the Darjeeling region, and on the south-east border of Nepal. Please click here to see the Doke Tea Estate website. You may also find the Lochan Tea website by clicking here.

The sample packet has been opened, and a sweet grape and hay fragrance is instantly detected. Let the journey begin…

Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Dry Leaves
Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform light pale yellow color, and are covered in fine silver hairs. A few of the leaves have developed a brownish color. The pluck is one fine leaf and unopened bud. The buds are long and fairly slender. The leaves have a soft, downy-like texture. There are some leaf fragments, and no bare stems in the mix. The aroma has scents of sweet hay and light grape, giving it a distinct second flush character.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My at home steeping suggestions are to use three grams of dry leaves for each six ounces (180 ml) of water to be used. Heat the water to 175°F to 185°F (80°C to 85°C). Infuse the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Leaves may be reused two or more times.

Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Infusion
Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light honey-like color, light pale golden-yellow, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of grapes, sweet hay, light honey, and light flowers. The body is medium, with a round texture. The taste has notes of roses, grapes, and sweet hay. The aftertaste is a blend of roses and hay, and a similar essence lingers on the breath.

Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Infused Leaves
Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh light forest green color, with few leaves showing light brown mostly along the stems. The pluck is mostly one fine leaf enveloping the unopened bud, and a few have the second leaf. There are some leaf fragments, and no bare stems. The buds are long and slender, and have a smooth texture. The aroma is sweet and floral, with hints of grape, light rose, and light hay.

Of the silver needle white teas that I have had from India, I will say that this Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea from Doke Tea Estate holds one of the top two positions. The grape hints in the aroma and taste was different than any other silver needle white tea that I have had, and fits the second flush character that Darjeeling and nearby tea producing regions are known for. The Lochan family focuses on producing teas with a level of quality that are unmatched in India, and this Silver Needle White Tea upholds that reputation perfectly.

Thank you to the Lochan family for their dedication to producing very high quality teas, as well as their work in the tea communities of India and Nepal, and of course for providing these samples! Cheers!

Satemwa Needles White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

I was in the mood for a good white tea last evening, and thankfully I still have some samples left from Satemwa Tea Estate. Among those samples, I found the Satemwa Needles. My search quickly ended for the subject of last evening’s review.

To learn more about Satemwa Tea Estates, located in the Shire Highlands of Malawi, check out their website here.

The sample packet has been opened, and the look of these needles have me excited. Let the journey begin…

Satemwa Needles White Tea Dry Leaves
Satemwa Needles White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a pale green to dark pale green color, with a generous portion of silver tips. The leaves are long, narrow, and some are slightly twisted. There are some bare tips, but most appear to be a fine leaf with the tip. There are fine silver hairs covering all leaves and tips. The aroma has scents of hay, and light sweet wood.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes, with thirty seconds added to subsequent infusions.

Satemwa Needles White Tea 1st Infusion
Satemwa Needles White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, light golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of sweet hay, light papaya, and light spice (black licorice). The body is light-medium, with a delicate, soft, easy sipping texture. The taste has notes of sweet hay, light papaya, very light honey, and very light black licorice. The aftertaste is delicate, with notes of sweet hay. The essence left on the breath also resembles sweet hay.

Satemwa Needles White Tea 2nd Infusion
Satemwa Needles White Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly darker golden-yellow color. The aroma is stronger on the papaya and black licorice scents, and lighter on the sweet hay. A citrus marmalade scent is also evolving. The body remains light-medium. The taste has also lightened on sweet hay notes, with the papaya, black licorice, light honey, and a touch of citrus marmalade taking the place of the sweet hay. The aftertaste and essence retain the delicate sweet hay note.

Satemwa Needles White Tea 3rd Infusion
Satemwa Needles White Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with an identical color as the second infusion. The aroma remains fruity and sweet, with a light spice. The citrus marmalade and papaya scents are most dominant. The taste is also dominated by notes of papaya and citrus marmalade, with lighter notes of sweet hay, light honey, and black licorice. The third infusion had plenty of aroma and taste. It was nearly as good as the second infusion.

Satemwa Needles White Tea Infused Leaves
Satemwa Needles White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a light forest green to light brown to brown color. Leaves consist of mostly a one fine leaf and generous bud pluck. The mature buds have a curved spear shape. The leaves and buds have a strong structural feel, and can easily produce another infusion or two of acceptable aroma and flavor. The buds average 0.5″ (13 mm) to 1″ (25.4 mm). The aroma is phenomenal, with scents of papaya, black licorice, and citrus marmalade.

The Satemwa Needles white tea definitely satisfied my desire for a white tea with a soothing aroma and relaxing texture. This tea blended the classic sweet hay aromas and tastes of Chinese silver needle tea with the citrus marmalade and papaya tastes that I have become familiar with in the white teas from Satemwa Tea Estates. This is a very good quality tea, and is a nice alternative to classic Chinese silver needle teas. Producing three strong infusion, with more to give, will assure you that this white tea will keep you company through the evening, or through a few hours sharing with friends.

Thank you again, Satemwa Tea Estates. Cheers!

White Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal

I have heard and read that Nepal teas have some traits similar to Darjeeling teas. Thanks to the generosity of Niru Trading, I have an opportunity to try samples of white, green, black, and oolong teas from the foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal. These will be my first experiences with Nepalese teas, so needless to say that I am quite excited to try them out and compare them with teas that I am more familiar with.

Niru Trading is certified organic by the USDA, NASAA (Australia), and JAS (Japan). The tea bushes are grown on pollution free land. It is said that one can taste the freshness of the Himalayas in each sip of the teas from this region. Mount Kanchenjunga is located in the eastern-most border of Nepal, in the north corner, with China to the north, and the Sikkim state of India to the east.

The sample that this review will focus on is the White Tea from the Mount Kanchenjunga foothills. The packet has been opened, and this white tea looks very fresh. Let the journey begin…

Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea Dry Leaves
Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a fresh, bright green to forest green color, with plenty of silver tips. The leaves and tips are covered in delicate downy-like white hairs. Leaves appear to be all medium fragments, with many whole tips. There are no bare stems in the mix. The aroma has scents of sweet hay, light brown sugar, and light flowers.

Five grams were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.

Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 1st Infusion
Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a very light, pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of sweet hay, flowers (light jasmine and rose), and very light honey. The body is light, with a refreshing smooth texture. The taste has fresh notes of sweet hay, light floral (jasmine & rose), very light pear. The sweet hay continues in the aftertaste, and a flowery essence is left on the breath.

Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 2nd Infusion
Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly darker shade of light, pale yellow color. The aroma has more dominance on the floral (jasmine, rose) scents, and a light honey scent. The sweet hay scent has lightened. The aroma is quite different from the first infusion. The body remains light, and the texture refreshing and smooth. The taste has evolved significantly from the first infusion. The notes of jasmine and rose are dominant, while the sweet hay note has diminished. The taste is dominated by floral notes, which reminds me of some Darjeeling first flush teas. The aftertaste and essence are both dominantly floral.

Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 3rd Infusion
Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a nearly identical color to the second infusion. The aroma remains dominantly floral, with some lighter sweet scents. The body and texture remain light and refreshing. The taste has lightened some, but is still dominated by floral (more rose, less jasmine) notes, and some light sweet (honey) notes. It is interesting that the taste has changed yet again, with the rose being the dominant taste, and the jasmine lightening some. There is much taste and aroma in this third infusion, and I have really enjoyed the evolution of both from infusion to infusion.

Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea Infused Leaves
Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fresh, light green color. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, with many whole tips. Stems display a two leaf and generous bud pluck. The leaves have a silky feel, but are not delicate. I believe an additional one or two infusions are possible. The aroma is incredibly floral, with dominant scents of jasmine and roses, and a lighter scent of sweet hay. The aroma of these leaves is incredibly fresh and clean.

My honest opinion of the first infusion was one of being underwhelmed. I thought the aroma and taste of the first infusion were fresh, clean, but very basic. However, that all changed with the second infusion, which had a completely different aroma and taste than the first infusion. Suddenly, the aroma and taste of the second infusion could compete with the first infusions of some good quality Darjeeling first flush teas. I was shocked in the difference between the first and second infusions. The third infusion continued the floral bouquet in aroma and taste, which I very much enjoy. Had the characteristics of the first infusion been maintained in the succeeding infusions, my personal rating of this tea would have been average. By the end of this review, however, I gave this tea a high mark. The evolution of the aromas and tastes from infusion to infusion was very pleasing, and the aroma and freshness of the infused leaves was truly invigorating.

My first experience with Nepalese tea was incredibly positive. This tea put my emotions to the test, evolving from the initial feeling of slight disappointment to the final conclusion of being highly impressed. Many thanks to Niru Trading for providing this opportunity to try the teas of Mount Kanchenjunga. Cheers!

Bvumbwe Peony White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

UPDATE: The Bvumbwe Peony White Tea is now available for purchase at The Tea Journeyman Shop! Click Here to view and purchase this beautiful looking and fruity tasting white tea from Malawi!

Every time I find a few moments to do a review, I feel something drawing my attention to the box of samples from Satemwa Tea Estates. The teas from Satemwa, for the most part, have truly been outstanding and unique. I have this philosophy of being fair to everyone who sends samples to me, and trying to mix the reviews up to avoid redundancy. To be honest, though, Satemwa’s products constantly tempt me to break that cycle and just do a week’s worth of their teas.

So here is one that the moment I opened the sample package, the stress of trying to decide which sample was next on the review agenda immediately vanished. Imagine fresh tea bush pluckings being placed on a drying tray in the sun, then put directly into a sample bag. That is exactly what this tea looks like. Simple, sun dried, no shaping whatsoever. Plucked, dried, bagged.

Let the journey begin…

Bvumbwe Peony White Tea Dry Leaves
Bvumbwe Peony White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a wide range of colors, from light to dark green, red, and light to dark brown. The leaves are whole and attached to the stems. The pluck is three leaves and a generous bud. The leaves are not rolled or shaped in any way. To repeat, plucked, dried, and bagged. The aroma is delicate, with light scents of sweet hay and flowers. I absolutely love the way this product looks in it’s dry state. I am already impressed.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.

Bvumbwe Peony White Tea 1st Infusion
Bvumbwe Peony White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a bright, pale yellow colored liquor, clear and transparent. The aroma is delicate, with scents of light sweet hay, flowers, light honey, and light stone fruit (apricot). The body is medium, with a lively feel and smooth, velvety texture. The taste is delicate, refreshing, uplifting, with notes of sweet hay, light honey, flowers, and light apricots. The aftertaste is refreshing, with sweet hay and floral notes.

Bvumbwe Peony White Tea 2nd Infusion
Bvumbwe Peony White Tea 2nd Infusion

 

The second infusion produced a bolder, bright pale yellow color. The scent of light honey is stronger in the aroma, with the light sweet hay, flowers, and light apricot scents being retained. The body remains medium, but the texture is thicker and very smooth. The taste is stronger and retains the notes of sweet hay, light honey, flowers, and light apricot. The aftertaste is slightly sweeter than the first infusion, with a flowery essence being left on the breath. I enjoyed this second infusion more than the first due to the thicker texture, the sweeter scent, and the stronger taste. This was an excellent infusion.

Bvumbwe Peony White Tea 3rd Infusion
Bvumbwe Peony White Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a very similar, perhaps slightly darker, color to the second infusion. The scent has lightened some, but remains sweet and floral. The sweet scent seems to be more of a marmalade scent than honey in this infusion. The body and texture have lightened slightly from the second infusion. The taste has also lightened some, but retains the same general characteristics of the second infusion. Despite the lighter aroma, body, and taste, this third infusion was very high quality.

Bvumbwe Peony White Tea Infused Leaves (3)
Bvumbwe Peony White Tea Infused Leaves (3)
Bvumbwe Peony White Tea Infused Leaves (1)
Bvumbwe Peony White Tea Infused Leaves (1)

 

Bvumbwe Peony White Tea Infused Leaves (2)
Bvumbwe Peony White Tea Infused Leaves (2)

The infused leaves are mostly light to dark brown in color, with some leaves being partially to mostly light grass green. The leaves are 99.9% whole and unbroken, still attached to the stem. Stems show a pluck of anywhere from one leaf and generous bud to three leaves and generous bud. I had to add a few extra photos of some of the nicer leaf specimens. The leaves have a thin leathery feel, and should be able to provide at least one to two additional infusions, which I certainly plan to take advantage of. The aroma is incredibly sweet, with a blend of honey, sweet hay, and fruit (marmalade).

It is products like this Bvumbwe Peony that is the cause of me wanting to spend vast amounts of time reviewing the teas from Satemwa Tea Estates. And once I run out of new samples from them, not a problem, going back to experience them all again is sure to be as high of a pleasure. This tea displayed the beauty of tea in it’s dried form, bright liquor, and fully intact infused appearance. The aroma was sweet. The taste was incredible, consistent, and evolved nicely from the second to third infusion, changing the character of the sweetness. Satemwa truly has a strong grasp on producing amazing quality white teas. Thankfully, I think I still have two samples of white teas to experience.

Another stellar grade for a product from Satemwa Tea Estates. Cheers, and thanks again!

Bvumbwe BSP White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

A quiet night at home this evening with my wife at class and my son in bed early. It is a perfect evening to focus my attention on a lighter, more subtle tea. Perusing my white tea samples, I came across the Bvumbwe BSP white tea (106) sample from Satemwa Tea Estates in Malawi. For more information on Satemwa Tea Estates, please click here.

The sample pack has been opened, and a unique, sweet wood, hay, and flowery aroma is escaping the packet. Let the journey begin…

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Bvumbwe BSP White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from light to dark green, and light to dark brown. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, and do not appear to have a defined or standardized shape. The shape of the leaves appears to have occurred naturally with the sun withering process. The pluck is difficult to determine, as the few stems that do exist in the mix are not whole. The aroma has scents of sweet wood, hay, and dry flowers. The appearance of this white tea is unlike anything I have seen from Asia, and is more similar to the few white teas of Hawaii that I have tried.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 175ºF (75ºC). The leaves were infused for three minutes on the first infusion, three minutes thirty seconds on the second infusion, and four minutes on the third infusion.

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Bvumbwe BSP White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a surprisingly dark yellowish gold, almost orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma is floral, sweet (light honey and hay), and a light hint of ripe tropical fruit. The body is medium, with a lively, yet smooth texture. The taste has notes of flowers, wood, sweet hay, light citrus, and very light honey. The aftertaste starts as floral, but develops into a fruity (prunes or raisin) essence.

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Bvumbwe BSP White Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a similar, but very slightly darker shade of yellowish gold, orange color. The aroma remained floral and sweet. The body remained medium, with a smooth texture. The taste remained floral, with notes of sweet hay, wood, and very light honey. The aftertaste remains floral, with a fruity essence.

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Bvumbwe BSP White Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a color that is lighter than the first two infusions, but still a dark yellow-gold-orange color. The aroma remains floral, with a more recognizable fruity hint. The body remains medium. The taste remains dominantly floral, with light citrus and honey notes. The aftertaste remains floral, sweet, and very pleasant.

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Bvumbwe BSP White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves displayed a range of colors from bright to dark green, and light to dark brown. Many of the green leaves had substantial brown spotting on them. The leaves were all medium sized fragments, with an occasional well-developed tip in the mix. The stems displayed a two leaf pluck. The leaves had a thin leathery feel to them, and I believe they could produce another one to two infusions with good aroma and taste. The aroma of the infused leaves was quite floral, with a fruity sweetness, and hints of wood.

I enjoyed the Bvumbwe BSP White Tea very much. It was very unique and distinct from it’s Asian white tea counterparts, and I found the taste and aroma better than the Hawaiian white teas that have a more similar appearance. This white tea was not quite as light and delicate as many others are, yet the taste is very welcoming, lively, and uplifting. This is a perfect white tea to taste next to a Chinese Bai Mu Dan and a silver needle from India or Sri Lanka, for the distinction between the three would be very easy to feel, and all three would be a true pleasure to experience.

Thank you to Satemwa Tea Estates for providing yet another phenomenal tea sample in the Bvumbwe BSP White Tea. Cheers!

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

UPDATE: This product is now available for purchase at The Tea Journeyman Shop! Click here to purchase!

Here’s a tea who’s name has been catching my attention as I flip through my sample list, the Satemwa Antlers white tea. Satemwa Tea Estates has already surprised me with the high quality of the Zomba Pearls white tea, so I am interested to see how this Satemwa Antlers will compare. To read more about Satemwa Tea Estates, please click here.

The sample pack has been opened, and the appearance truly resembles deer antlers. Interesting, there are no leaves, only stems. Let the journey begin…

Satemwa Antlers White Tea Dry Stems
Satemwa Antlers White Tea Dry Stems

The dry stems vary in color from fresh green to brown and dark brown, with some silver tips in the mix. This product consists entirely of stems. There is one tip in the five grams used for this sampling. There are no leaf fragments whatsoever. The stems are between two to three inches (50 to 77 mm). There are short, soft silver hairs covering the stems. The stems show a two or three leaf with bud pluck. The aroma is very delicate, with scents of hay and wood.

Five grams of dry stems were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The stems were infused for two minutes and thirty seconds.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea 1st Infusion
Satemwa Antlers White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a lively pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma was sweet, with scents of honey and lychee fruit. The body was medium, with a smooth, silky, satisfying feel. The taste was quite complex, with notes of lychee fruit, honey, and sweet wood. The aftertaste is sweet also. Very interesting. Excellent taste and texture.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea 2nd Infusion
Satemwa Antlers White Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a very slightly lighter shade of pale yellow than the first infusion. The aroma remains very sweet. The body remains medium and smooth. The taste has lightened on the sweet wood, and the lychee fruit note has become more prominent. The honey note remains, as well. I enjoyed this second infusion more than the first.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea 3rd Infusio
Satemwa Antlers White Tea 3rd Infusio

The third infusion produced a liquor with a very similar color to the first infusion. The aroma has lightened, but remains sweet. The taste has lightened overall, but retains the same general description. I am amazed with how good this third infusion tastes.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea Infused Stems
Satemwa Antlers White Tea Infused Stems

The infused stems have a greenish-brown color. Some stems show a two leaves and bud pluck, others show three leaves and bud pluck. One tip was found in the mix. There are no other leaves whatsoever. The aroma is very sweet, with hints of lychee fruit and sweet wood. The aroma of these stems is truly incredible. Certainly among the best aromas I have come across.

Every aspect of the Satemwa Antlers White Tea surprised me in very positive ways. The presence of only stems, with no leaves, was the first surprise. The amazingly sweet aroma and taste were unexpected. The texture was smooth and very satisfying. It was a thick, yet smooth sweetness. It was incredible, and unlike anything that I have tasted in other teas.

This product has lived up to the high expectations that I have developed for Satemwa Tea Estates. This was truly a pleasure to experience, and every tea drinker should give this product a try, if they can find it. Cheers!

Zomba Pearls White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates in Malawi

I received a package of samples today that is unique from all of the other packages I have received prior to this. This is the first package of tea samples from any estate in the African continent. My experience with African teas is limited to the two or three samples that were included in the certification courses I have completed. I have read in limited amounts about Africa and its teas in books and certification materials. Once I opened this package, I gained confidence that my experience with African tea was about to develop exponentially.

The Satemwa Tea Estates are located in the Shire Highlands of Malawi. Malawi has been referred to as the “warm heart of Africa.” These estates boast many certifications, from Fair Trade to Rainforest Alliance to the Ethical Tea Partnership. They produce specialty teas of all kinds, including puer and oolong (cannot wait to open those samples soon). Satemwa also takes pride in cultivating what they refer to as superior cultivars. To read more about the Satemwa Tea Estates, please visit their website here.

The Zomba Pearls white tea (107) first caught my attention tonight. The sample packet has been opened, and I cannot decide if I am more intrigued by the shape of the hand-tied leaves or the fruity smell. Enough talk, let the journey begin…

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Zomba Pearls Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from pale light green to reddish-brown. The leaves are skillfully hand-tied into somewhat of a capsule shape. These leaves are unbroken, fully intact leaves still attached to their stems. It is difficult to tell the pluck, but based on the size and shape of the tied leaves, I am assuming a two leaf and bud pluck. The aroma is fruity, lightly floral, and very slight hay.

Four grams of dry leaves were placed in a 8.5 ounce (240 ml) kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 185ºF (85ºC). Leaves were infused for one minute thirty seconds on the first infusion, then two minutes on the second and third infusions.

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Zomba Pearls 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a lively pale yellow color, perfectly clear and transparent. The appearance has a very pure, clean effect to it. The aroma is delicate, but sweet (light honey) and fruity, and very slight floral. The body is light-medium, with a silky, almost creamy or juicy feel. The taste is very clean and delicate, with subtle notes of light honey, tropical fruit, and earth (minerals). I may have even picked up a slight black licorice note. There is no astringency whatsoever. The aftertaste is also delicate, but sweet and floral. I have never experienced a tea that was delicate and light bodied, yet this creamy. The pure, clean feel of this tea is truly amazing.

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Zomba Pearls 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a very slightly darker shade of pale yellow color. The aroma remains delicate, with fruity, light honey, and slightly floral. The body remains light-medium, and the silky, creamy feel has been retained. The taste is slightly stronger, and holds the notes of light honey and mineral, but the fruity taste is slightly different, perhaps papaya? The aftertaste is fruity and floral. I may be up all night drinking this tea until the taste is completely gone. It should be noted that this tea has a very bright and uplifting energy to it. It is incredible.

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Zomba Pearls 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with an identical color to the second infusion. The aroma remains fruity with light honey and floral scents. The body is light-medium, and the feel just as silky and creamy as the first infusion. The taste has become more fruity (papaya), with notes of light honey and mineral, and slight floral and black licorice. The aftertaste remains fruity and floral. This third infusion is honestly as good as the first and second. The photos of the liquor will stop at the three, but the number of infusions will increase until these leaves are exhausted. I will not be wasting any of this taste.

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Zomba Pearls Infused Leaves

The infused leaves are mostly fresh forest green color, with many leaves having light brown to brown areas. There are several pluckings tied together to create each capsule. The pluck is mostly two leaves and a bud, but some are three leaves and a bud. All leaves are unbroken, and fully intact with the stem. There are some quite large leaves measuring well over two inches (50 mm) in length. The aroma is fragrant and fruity, with scents of papaya and honey. This aroma is unbelievable.

I am completely blown away by these Zomba white tea Pearls. Occasionally I come across a tea that smells and tastes so good that I have a hard time imagining that it is completely natural and unflavored. Although I know this tea is unflavored and all natural, it is just hard to believe that nature can create such sensations in the form of a seemingly simple leaf. This tea is a work of art in every aspect. I was excited to try some better quality teas from Africa, but I never expected to be this impressed. Thank you very much to Satemwa Tea Estates for providing these samples. Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed this first review. If it was not nearly midnight already, I would dive in to a second sample. Tomorrow morning cannot come soon enough. Many cheers to Satemwa Tea Estates!

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.