|an entirely unrelated plant that reminded me of white tea|
Like I said last week, I'm going to keep bringing up the topic of white tea until I feel like I have a better grasp of how to make it more accessible for tea newcomers and the tea curious. I've mentioned the Google+ Hangout before, and this last week I asked the others taking part about their take on this topic.
Got a lot of positive feedback for even bringing the topic up, and I wanted to share a few of the ideas that I liked. First of all, no matter what other information is gleaned, the early favourite for 'best introductory white tea' is clearly Pai Mu Tan (or Bai Mu Dan or White Peony, as it's sometimes called).
The general consensus is that, for a white tea, this is a much more accesible tea than some other possibilities. I can certainly agree with that. Actually, David Galli from the Portland Tea Enthusiasts' Alliance had an interesting perspective, and it helped reinforce what I'd already thought about this type of tea. He said he was introduced to them as an intimidating tea, and avoided them for the longest time. Now he drinks them as much as any other teas.
He suggested trying a Tai Mu Ye Sheng white tea from Jing Tea, which you can find here: Tai Mu Ye Sheng. I can't personally recommend it, because I haven't tried it. Nevertheless, the description has made me very thirsty.
But the fact that white tea intimidates some tea drinkers is exactly why I keep coming back to this topic. There's absolutely no need to let the mere thought of white tea freak you out. I'll be going into more detail about brewing it in a later post, but it's really not a big deal. If I can do it, anyone can. Really.
Another opinion that some members of the hangout had, which I think it's important to voice here, is that the ridiculously high price for some white tea makes it hard to rationalise buying the stuff. More than one person said, 'If I'm going to spend that sort of dosh, I'd rather get an above-average Oolong or decent Matcha.' I can see their point. I don't necessarily agree, but I do understand that position.
May-King Tsang (of May King Tea) said that she found that people who were already accustomed to drinking green tea transitioned more easily to white tea. She also suggested a Silver Needle white tea with a bit of jasmine in it. I might actually try that when I introduce people to this type of tea in person. As long as the jasmine wasn't overpowering.
And finally, Laine Petersen said that she's noticed women gravitate more easily to white tea. She insisted that she didn't want to perpetuate any stereotypes. The opinion that a few shared was that some men already had enough of a grudge against the assumed femininity of tea drinking. That a woman was more likely to go for such a subtle tea. Again, I can definitely see this.
We keep coming back to that. The subtlety of white tea. Like David said: the way in which white tea was talked about made the whole topic intimidating. I'd like to try and help counteract that. Any ideas about how I might help make that happen?