Shou Mei Tea Bar (寿眉白茶) is a white tea from the famous Fuding tea growing area of Fujian Province that is renowned for white tea production. This Shou Mei grade tea is compressed into 100g bars. Easy to break apart, each square is about 5g so is perfect for hassle-free brewing. It is made from the local Fuding Da Bai plants that are the plants of choice for making white tea in Fujian Province. It produces a complex herbaceous liquor that is more flavoursome when compared to ‘pure bud’ white teas like Yin Zhen Silver Needle. These Shou Mei bars were harvested and pressed in Spring 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 this case, it was pressed into 100g ‘chocolate’ bars, a shape that has recently been becoming increasingly popular. Compared to our Shou Mei Squares, this version overall has slightly younger and less coarser leaf but perhaps just a bit fewer separate tips. It is also a little more oxidised, yielding a slightly richer liquor.
These Shou Mei Tea Bars consist of larger leaves plus tips that have been pressed together to form the ‘chocolate’ bars. It produces a light flavour with a smooth and complex herbaceous profile. It starts on fruity notes that give way to tangy hints of hay and citrus zest. The smooth taste has a creamy mouthfeel, while the aftertaste is clean and just a touch drying. The herbaceous notes combined with the zesty flavours remind us of herbal tisanes, akin to the taste of lemon verbena. Overall this is a nicely balanced tea that is easy to drink. Perfect to drink now or can be aged further.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for around 2-3 minutes according to your taste. although the first infusion should be longer at 3-4 minutes to open up the leaves. Break off the required amount of squares and brew multiple times. For best results, we recommend gongfu style of brewing: approximately 1 square per 150ml at 90-95°C in a gaiwan with an initial rinse or longer infusion to open up the leaves. After that, follow with first infusion of 20 seconds, increasing the time with each subsequent steep.