Pressed into mountain shaped cakes, this Craftedleaf premium white tea is utterly delightful. While silver needle is my all-time favourite, you can’t deny that the slightly more robust white peony (bai mu dan) is just as delicious.
If you enjoy white tea, you need to try this one.
I ordered this tea as part of a teaware order from Craftedleaf Teas, so I could reach the free shipping threshold. Sometimes I regret these impulse purchases, but not this time!
In my tea review below, I’ll be sipping this white tea in the Western style as it’s what I personally find best for white tea. However, Craftedleaf also provide instructions for gongfu, so check the links below to learn more about that preparation.
Craftedleaf 2018 Spring Mountain White Tea at a Glance
- Origins: Tai Mu Shan area near Fuding City, in the Fujian Province of China
- Flavour: Rich and cloudy white tea, a mellow mix of floral and sweet notes with nectar juiciness
This tea is gorgeous. With pronounced melon notes in the aroma, the flavour is sweetly scented with daisies and has this creamy note. Combined with a hint of apricots and sticky stonefruits, it reminds me of eating Eton mess in the garden at the height of summer. The depth and balance of this tea is extraordinary.
Full Review – Craftedleaf Teas Bai Mu Dan
- Type: 5g mini tea cake, individually wrapped
- Tea: Spring 2018 harvest Bai Mu Dan (white peony) white tea
- Origin: Tai Mu Shan, Fuding City, Fujian Province, China
- Flavour Notes: Rich, cloudy, apricots, cream, Eton mess, stonefruits, daisies, melon, grass, summer
- Aroma: Gala melon, honeydew melon, sweet, grass, daisies, tannins, gelato, apricot
- Milk or Lemon: Neither
- Where to Buy: Craftedleaf Teas
It’s already 4 years since the harvest of this white tea, so I wasn’t expecting much from the aroma even though it was stored exceptionally well. And yet, it’s so vibrant! Instantly you’re hit with that classic melon sweetness that white peony delivers. A medley of gala and honeydew melons with a hint of grass and delicate floral notes.
Although it’s very fragrant, the dry leaf lacks complexity somewhat. It’s all very light and sweet, with no contrast.
Once brewed, that all changes. The tea brews into a pale daisy yellow-white colour and has a more intense aroma. The melon note is still present, but you can also find some darker tannin notes that are more like a green tea. It’s also taken on this curious rich note, with a hint of ripe apricot sweetness.
I recently had a melon flavoured gelato in Ely (Norfolk, UK) and this tea takes me back there. There’s a creaminess to this tea in both the aroma and flavour that’s delightfully intriguing.
The flavour is rich and cloudy with a thick, almost furry, texture. Again, apricots and cream dominate the overall palate, with some lighter vegetal and floral notes popping in here and there.
Mellow. Sweet. Rich.
This is a summer afternoon, sitting in the garden, indulging on meringue, whipped cream, and juicy ripe apricots. I cannot recommend this tea highly enough.
How to Brew Bai Mu Dan
My instinct was to brew this tea at 85°C for 2 minutes, as this is my go-to method for Bai Mu Dan. Craftedleaf Teas instructed me to use 90°C for 3 to 5 minutes, which seemed way too long… but I went with it.
And they were right!
I used approximately 2g of leaf in about 180ml of water and let it steep for 3 minutes. This produced the tea described above. However, I also brewed again at 5 minutes and found the white tea to still be delicious, albeit with a more pronounced tannin note and drying quality in the aftertaste.
For me, this is an afternoon tea but you may enjoy it further into the evening – it’s low in caffeine, according to Craftedleaf, so won’t keep you up late.
Why Craftedleaf Teas?
Craftedleaf premium white tea is always a big hit. This website sources some of the finest teas from across China, along with beautiful teaware, and ship it worldwide. They also provide a lot of detail about their teas. For this tea, they tell us that:
- The bud to leaf ratio is 1 bud to ½ leaf,
- It’s harvested from the Fuding Dabaihao tea bush,
- The elevation of the tea garden is 1800 metres,
- And they also provide some tasting notes.
I really like the format of this tea. The pressed cake makes brewing very easy. You can also snap a piece in half if you’re brewing a smaller cup or using the Western method like I have.
In terms of packaging, Craftedleaf Teas prioritise the tea rather than the planet. The plastic foil that individually wraps each mini cake preserves the aroma and flavour perfectly. Their larger pouches are sealed airtight and are resealable too.
This is fantastic news for the quality of the tea, but it’s not very eco-friendly. My regular readers know how much this bugs me.
Overall, this tea was very hard to fault. It lost a few points in my scoring system for the packaging, but it’s still within the top 1% of teas I’ve ever reviewed. And that’s saying something!
The only place to purchase Craftedleaf premium white tea is directly from their website.
If you’re wondering how best to brew this loose leaf pressed tea cake, I recommend something like my Lucky Cat Solo Tea Set. It’s perfect for brewing a small sample of tea like this, and it comes with everything you need to manage loose leaf on the go. Shop now for free delivery in the UK!