Aged Citrus Chen Pi Shou Mei (陈皮寿眉白茶) is a vintage white tea from Fujian Province that comes compressed into individual mini cakes. Made from the larger, coarser leaves and stalks, it has been blended with tangerine peel (chenpi – 陈皮) and then aged to produce a smooth and complex flavour with medicinal notes. This particular batch was harvested and pressed in May 2013. After initial processing it was stored in Fujian until 2021.
Shou Mei is considered to be the 4th grade tea to come from the tea plants. The first grade is Yin Zhen Silver Needle that consists solely of fine tips. The second grade is Bai Mu Dan White Peony that consists of some tips plus smaller leaves. The third grade is called Gong Mei, although often this tea is combined under the more famous Shou Mei name. The fourth final grade that consists of coarser and larger leaves and fewer tips is called Shou Mei. The name Shou Mei (sometimes also Sow Mee) is often translated as ‘Longevity Eyebrow’.
Shou Mei is a type of tea of which very many grades exist and the flavour profile greatly changes from one producer to the next. The main driving factor behind that is how late the picking of the leaves is in the year and also by the proportion of larger coarser leaves. Such darker leaves normally signify lower quality and they produce a darker liquor, albeit with a more full-bodied flavour. This tea can come in loose form but is also commonly sold in pressed form, with large cakes being a particularly popular form. In this case, it was pressed into ~5g mini discs or cakes. These make for convenient storage but also for convenient serving, each mini cake being an individual serving. While aged white tea is a more recent development, they are quickly gaining in popularity due to unique and complex flavours that develop over time. Blending tea with tangerine peel or stuffing citrus fruits with tea is a traditional tea making technique in China. The resulting teas produce a complex flavour with rich zesty citrus notes.
These aged white mini cakes are formed of pressed Shou Mei tea leaves that are blended with tangerine peel. It produces a bright lightly coloured amber liquor with a medicinal citrus aroma. The smooth flavour is zesty with fruity citrus notes that are sweet, herbaceous and a touch woody. There is no bitterness or astringency but there is a pleasant medicinal flavour reminiscent of a herbal tea present throughout. The aftertaste is zesty and refreshing. A very easy to drink and enjoyable tea, perfect for a post meal drink.
We suggest brewing at 95°C for around 3-4 minutes according to your taste. Use one mini cake per serving and brew multiple times. For best results, we recommend gongfu style of brewing: 1 cake per 150ml at 95°C in a gaiwan or your favourite teaware with an initial rinse to start opening up the leaves. Alternatively, skip the rinse and extend the first infusion until the mini cake starts opening up. After that, follow with infusions of around 30 seconds, increasing the time with each subsequent steep.