Review: 2009 Shou Mei (Longevity Brow) White Tea
Life in Teacup’s 2009 Shou Mei is a wonderful accompaniment to a slow Sunday afternoon catching up on blogs and other work. The flavors are clean, crisp and satisfying, more reminiscent of an oolong than your classic delicate white tea. This tea is a treat.
Usually when I think of white teas, I think of silver needle teas. These white teas are pretty, delicate leaf buds that glow silvery-gray because they were plucked as young shoots. The tea they produce tends to be delicate and fragrant. When I saw this Shou Mei tea, it didn’t at all match those expectations.
Shou Mei tea is quite different and seems much more related to an oolong. It is one of the lower grades of white tea which contains much larger, more mature leaves. This was the largest packet out of the shipment from Life in Teacup – the leaves are very lightly processed, and are an assortment of coarse, flaky leaves of varying sizes which remind me of autumn and leaf piles. It’s all very recognizably leaf, stem, bud, and has the occasionally silver bud tucked inside. The scent is very light and only slightly woody.
The color of the cup is a bright red brown.
I found that I very much enjoyed this tea, a pleasant surprise after its somewhat unremarkable appearance and smell. It seems very resilient and flavorful, allowing for both a brief steep as well as a longer one without any appearance of bitterness or astringency.
The flavor is easiest to describe in comparisons to the character of other teas. It’s somewhere between an oolong and a light black tea, with a full body and substance to the cup without the slightest hint of bitterness. It is certainly not a delicate tea, and presents a strong flavor and crisp taste. I’d describe it as a slightly herbal wood, leaf, toasted nuts taste which reminds me of a green tea without the astringency or grassiness.
Pricing & Where to Buy
Buy from Life in Teacup’s website, priced at $4.50 for 25g.