Shou Mei Squares (寿眉白茶) is a white tea from the famous Fuding tea growing area of Fujian Province in China. Picked later in the year and using a larger leaf, this tea comes pressed into convenient small wafer squares. Compared to other white teas, Shou Mei produces a somewhat stronger liquor with a more robust character. This particular tea was picked from trees of Fuding Da Bai Hao (福鼎大白毫) cultivar plants in May 2019.
Shou Mei is considered to be the 4th grade tea to come from these 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 changes from one producer to the next greatly. 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 our case this Shou Mei white has been pressed into small wafer-thin squares that weight approximately 4-6 grams each. This makes them extremely convenient for brewing – just use one per pot for western brewing. As with other similar teas it has a good potential for being aged before drinking.
Shou Mei Squares come in handy small wafers that highlight the quality of the leaf quite nicely. The neat squares are compressed quite lightly so the leaves start taking water and separating in the pot quite quickly. The liquor produced is very clean and clear with a smooth and light taste. As the leaves used here are of high quality, this tea is on the lighter side. The taste is mellow, with a distinctive sweet honey edge. There are also light fruity, woody and floral notes that complete the flavour. Aftertaste is clean and lightly tangy.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed around 3+ times depending on your taste preferences.
This Shou Mei Squares white tea was first featured in our October 2019 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.