Aged Shou Mei Tea Brick (老寿眉白茶) is a vintage white tea from Fujian Province that comes compressed in 248g bricks. Made from the larger, coarser leaves and stalks, it has been aged to produce a smooth and complex flavour with sweet medicinal notes. This particular batch was pressed on 15 May 2013 from leaves harvested in the weeks prior. After pressing 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 248g bricks. The bricks are a convenient shape for long-term storage and this particular tea has acquired a great complexity of flavour over the years. 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.
These aged white tea bricks are formed of large, coarse, loosely pressed Shou Mei tea leaves. The more loose pressing resulted in a quicker maturation of flavour. It produces a light amber liquor with a light herby aroma reminiscent of eucalyptus with a hint of fruity tobacco. The taste is very smooth and complex with fruity and herbaceous notes. There is a pleasant, lightly medicinal herbal edge that has developed due to ageing and a sweet, creamy mouthfeel present throughout. The aftertaste is mouthwatering, sweet and slightly tangy, reminiscent of muscovado sugar. Overall this is a complex aged white tea that delivers a sweet mouthfeel with background tangy fruit and herby medicinal notes.
We suggest brewing at 95°C for around 3-4 minutes according to your taste. Prise off a required amount of leaves with a sharp knife or pu-erh knife and brew multiple times. For best results, we recommend gongfu style of brewing: approximately 3g per 100ml at 95°C in a gaiwan or your favourite teaware with an initial quick rinse. After that, follow with first infusion of 20 seconds, increasing the time with each subsequent steep.