Xue Ya Snow Bud (雪芽) is a complex organic white tea that comes from Fujian Province of China. Grown around the famous Fuding tea growing area, it has neat small silver leaves. This Xue Ya Snow Bud white tea has a smooth and clean taste with a touch of vegetal astringency that makes it rather unique. It is grown in a fully organic tea garden at an altitude of 800-900m. We source it direct from the grower in Fuding and this lot is from the May 2020 harvest.
The Xue Ya name, which literally means Snow Bud, comes from the appearance of the silver buds when plucked – they look as if covered by snow. There is plenty of this silvery, downy ‘fur’ on the dried leaves of this tea, signifying it is made from fine tips. When the leaves are brewed and unfurled, it is possible to see that they are mostly represented by smaller buds and leaves. The use of such small, young leaves that are still covered in silvery ‘fur’ results in a very fine taste.
This tea is made from young leaves of Fuding Da Bai (福鼎大白 – Fuding Large White) white tea cultivar. This is the same cultivar that is used for producing various white teas grown around Fujian Province, including Yin Zhen Silver Needle white tea. While Silver Needle generally has a very delicate profile, the leaves and processing selected for this Snow Bud white tea produce a more complex character that is a little more challenging.
Xue Ya Snow Bud has fine, small silver leaves that have a light fruity aroma. The pale golden liquor has an appealing colour and a light savoury and vegetal fragrance. The smooth taste has a juicy, mouth-watering quality and clean notes. The main vegetal flavours have notes of light wood, unripe fruits, quince and a hint of mixed herbs. The aftertaste is complex, a little drying, chalky and verging on being lightly astringent. It is definitely more on the complex than delicate end of the white tea spectrum.
Xue Ya Snow Bud is best brewed at 70°C for about 2-3 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed multiple times. As with all white teas, you can brew this one for a longer amount of time at lower temperature or alternatively you can brew it for a shorter period of time of around 1 minute at 90°C, also brewing multiple times.