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Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2011
Aged, healthy, worth the collection
Aged, healthy, worth the collection
Fuding City, Fujian Province, China
Dec 26, 2013
Big leaves evenly compressed into a spherical cake shape,
a slight red color with distinctive white hairs
Floral scent tinged with a whiff of aged wood
A bright and clear orange-yellow tone
A full-bodied and pure tea, texture is thick and leaves a lasting sweet taste
in your mouth and throat, a hint of red dates undertones
Nanguang Tea Garden
Low caffeine (less than 10% of a cup of coffee)
Store in cool, dry place away from sunlight; keep ventilated
The aged the better
The Shoumei Cake Tea is well aged with a distinctive taste and enduring infusions.
Usually, white tea leaves are loose and inconvenient to carry around. For practically, they are sometimes shaped into compressed spherical cakes - but easy storage and transportation are not the only reasons why this is done; the round shape of the cakes allows the tea to mature. As the years pass, the tea tends to grow smoother and sweeter, and takes on a softer finish and mellower taste.
An old Fuding town saying about tea claims that ‘tea is only the beginning: in three years it becomes medicine, and in seven years it becomes a treasure’. Every sip of an aged white tea cake should be savored and valued.
Another benefit to compressing into a cake is how it aids in natural oxidation, for which the shape of the cake is preferred over loose leaves. Only a small surface area of the leaves is directly exposed to the air in a tea cake, so the oxidation reaction is slower and more even, and promotes fermentation on the inside of the cake. The crafting process and shape of the tea give it a more enticing aroma when dry, a more attractive color of liquid, and a more savory taste as well.
Chinese Gongfu Method
|Teacup: 12oz / 355ml||Gaiwan: 3.8oz / 110ml|
|203℉ / 95℃||203℉ / 95℃|
|5g Tea||8g Tea|
|Brewing time: 3 - 5 mins||7 steeps: rinse, 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 90s, 120s|
|Rinse time is around 5 seconds|
The Nanguang Tea Garden is located along the western slopes of Taimu Mountain, at an elevation between 600-900 meters, and is about 80% surrounded by forests.
The weather here is warm and humid with abundant rainfall, and the surrounding fog allows the tea bushes to accumulate a rich array of microminerals and organic nutrients in the leaves. Mainly, the tea plants growing here are of the Fuding Dabaihao varieties.
Nanguang Tea Garden in Panxi, Fujian
Lin Jian was born in Fuding, Fujian, and has been living in a tea-filled environment all his life. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather are all tea farmers; when in elementary school, Mr. Lin helped pick the tea when there were not enough workers. This led to his dream of becoming further engaged in the tea business.
He said: “My original idea was to establish a good life for my family by running a tea business. But when I got to that point in 1993, I changed my mind: Fuding is one of the best places for growing tea. So I wanted to create a long-term organic tea business.”
Mr. Lin is now one of the first founders of Chinese white tea, owning almost 2800 acres of high-quality Fuding tea gardens, including the only organic tea garden in Fujian that has passed all the European, American, and Japanese certifications. This organic garden has also become the national agricultural standard.
In 2008, his Silver Needle white tea won the gold medal at the annual Chinese White Tea festival in Beijing.
This Shou Mei cake is produced in Fuding, a famous tea production area located in the northeast of Fujian Province. This area experiences a subtropical monsoon climate, characteristic of coastal areas, with about 1840 total hours of sunshine through the year, and an annual average temperature of 18.5°C and rainfall of 1661.6mm.
This Shou Mei white tea cake is made from the leaves of the Fuding Dabaihao plant, also called Dahao for short. It propagates asexually and takes the form of a small tree.
In 1985 it was certified as a national tea plant variety, and can grow up to 2.8m high with a thick trunk. The spring tea from this bush contains 1.8% amino acids and 28.2% tea polyphenols, marking it as a high-quality base for making white tea.
Tea has been grown in Fujian for centuries, as it has always been important for commercial purposes and trade in ancient China. Originally the process of drying the leaves was followed by a meticulous variation of hot-air drying and sun drying, in order to remove excess water from the leaves; these methods eased the preservation process and helped the tea to sell. The leaves of this naturally-dried tea seemed to appear like the Shouxing’s, the longest-living man in mythology, long curved eyebrow (眉毛, meimao). As a result, people named this tea Shou Mei.