Shou Mei Classic (ZW23)
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From Upton Tea
The loose leaves of this tea are rather broken, but still take up a great deal of space. They are greener in color than a typical Shou Mei that I've had. Compared to a typical Shou Mei (which is my favorite style of white tea), this one does tend to have a grassier aroma.
The brewed tea is rich, bold, fresh, clean. Hints of the grassiness of green teas, without the sharpness. A little bit earthy. Less sweetness than other white teas, and no floral qualities. This tea is remarkably different from ZW62, and is actually very slightly cheaper. It's hard to say one tea is "better" than the other because they are totally different in leaf style, aroma, and flavor. I prefer this one because it has more grassy tones and is less sweet, and because it's overall aroma is stronger and is not as easily overpowered if you drink it with a meal, but I can imagine many people might prefer ZW62.
The brewing instructions, of 2-3 teaspoons per cup, and 3 minutes at 180 degrees, I found worked very well. You can get away with using fewer leaves, and I would actually recommend it. However, you can't get away with multiple infusions...after steeping 3 minutes, even if you let the second cup steep for 15, it's very bland and without any of the characteristics that make the first so enjoyable. I also tried a single infusion of 10 minutes, which is great for some white teas, but it did not work so well in this case; some strange,muted characteristics came to dominate the aroma and cover up the freshness and lightness. I recommend sticking with a single, short infusion.
This tea is very cheap as white teas go, but it is still expensive, especially given that the leaves are only good for one infusion. But this is offset by the fact that fewer leaves are needed to brew a flavorful cup. Overall, I find it offers good value, I would say it offers the best value for a Shou Mei from Upton.