White Peony is a popular Chinese white tea. It’s also known as Bai Mu Dan or Pai Mu Dan. White Peony tea does not contain any flowers from the White Peony plant. Instead, it is a product of the Camellia Sinensis plant, like all other black, green, oolong, and white teas.
It’s unclear how White Peony tea got its name, but some suspect it is connected to the delicate flavor of the tea. As though it is so delicate, it is reminiscent of the White Peony plant.
White Peony tea originates from the towns of Fuding and Zhenghe in the Fujian Province of China. Fujian is the origin of white tea and still produces some of the highest-quality white teas on the market. It is the second most popular white tea on the market, behind Silver Needle tea.
Nowadays, you can find Ceylon or Indian White Peony tea, which has a distinct flavor through their cultivation and processing methods.
What does White Peony Tea Taste Like?
With white tea, flavors tend to stay mellow. The light oxidation and minimal processing offer a freshness unique to white tea with hints of sweetness and hay.
White Peony tea has a more delicate flavor. It gives specific notes of floral and melon with undertones of malt and hay. This tea is medium body and has a signature bright yellow color.
The different varieties have slight differences in flavor based on the fermentation process.
The Two Varieties of White Peony Tea
The two primary locations that produce White Peony tea are Fuding and Zhenghe. These two towns have slightly different processing methods that create unique flavor profiles. You can expect a difference in taste and leaf appearance due to the difference in fermentation.
1. Fuding White Peony Tea
Fuding White Peony tea produces leaves that are greener in color and lighter than the Zhenghe leaves. These leaves are very coveted for their attractive appearance.
Fuding is considered the more expensive of the two, with more attractive leaves. It offers a cleaner and more delicate taste.
2. Zhenghe White Peony Tea
Zhenghe is a fuller body tea with a higher maturation. Although Fuding tea is considered the higher quality of the two due to its leaf shape, many argue that Zhenghe tea is superior. The additional processing allows for more strength and depth of flavor. The tea is sweeter and more robust in flavor due to a longer fermentation process.
What is the Brewing Time for White Peony Tea?
White Peony tea is a more delicate tea than black tea, but not as delicate as high-quality green tea. The brewing temperature is about 85 degrees Celsius or 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use 1.5 tablespoons per 12oz of water and brew for 3-4 minutes. While white tea brews for longer, and some believe the ideal time for brewing is closer to 6 minutes, it shouldn’t brew for more than 10 minutes. At 10 minutes, you can expect the tea to turn bitter and lose most of the nuance of flavor.
Loose-leaf white tea can handle several infusions. Add thirty seconds to the brew time for each infusion. The flavor will change slightly with each brewing, but staying within the 10-minute mark should maintain the delicious flavor. Mature teas with longer fermentation times will handle longer brews better than fresh ones.
White tea offers all the nutrients found in most teas. Tea offers antioxidants, caffeine, catechins, and
Caffeine levels are low, with about 18mg of caffeine per gram of dried leaf. This low level of caffeine makes it a perfect afternoon drink or alternative for those with caffeine sensitivity.
Contrary to popular belief, white tea is higher in antioxidants than green tea and offers high amounts of catechins. Catechins act as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial ingredient. This nutrient is why white tea is a popular recommendation for skin health.
For the ultimate nutrient-rich tea, brew your cup at 194 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 degrees Celsius. This temperature preserves the maximum amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
White tea is known to have mild health benefits. In addition to improving skin health, white tea also improves oral health and kidney health. It can also help fight colds.
How White Peony Tea gets Processed
White Peony tea is unique in that the leaves are plucked along with a flower bud. This creates a stronger flavor and a more sophisticated taste than other popular white teas like Silver Needles.
White tea is only slightly oxidized compared to other teas. Green and black tea both use a higher oxidation process, creating a stronger, more full-bodied taste. This minimal processing creates a fresher taste while preserving more of the nutrients that come from the leaves.
Because White Peony tea is made up of gathered buds and leaves, they are most reminiscent of the leaves in their natural form when dried, often including whole branches or stalks. This, paired with the air-dry and withering process, preserves most of the natural freshness.
Like most tea, White Peony tea stores well at a normal temperature, although you may want to store less fermented varieties in the fridge to preserve freshness.
What to Look Out for When Buying White Peony Tea
White Peony tea varies in grade and therefore varies in price. A high-quality White Peony tea should have a fresh scent with floral notes. You should also be able to make out the tea leaves and buds in the loose-leaf package.
Restaurant grade White Peony tea is called “Shou Mei” and is one of the more expensive varieties.
White Peony tea is a beloved tea produced in the Fujian Province of China. Its minimal processing and incorporation of whole buds create a fresh clean taste with floral and dried hay notes that fuel it as one of the most famous white teas out there. Indulge in something unique, and try this high-quality white tea for both its delicious taste and wonderful health benefits.