Yue Guang Bai (月光白) is a white tea from Yunnan Province. If you tried our Yunnan Silver Needle, this white tea is quite similar but it is even more robust and reminiscent of a young pu-erh. The name Yue Guang Bai translates as White Moonlight and most likely comes from the appearance of the dried leaves, which are silver-white and black in colour.
This tea is also sometimes classified as a pu-erh due to production methods employed. Generally we think that it is still essentially a white tea especially since it has been left loose. If this tea was pressed into bricks, we would be more inclined to call it a pu-erh.
This Yue Guang Bai White Moonlight tea is made from leaves that are plucked from the same Yunnan trees that are used for producing the region’s numerous pu-erh teas. It undergoes processing that is more akin to a young Sheng Cha (生茶) Pu-erh. So this tea starts life as young and tender leaf shoots that are carefully hand plucked so as to keep the buds and leaves intact. They are then withered, pan fried and dried in the sun. As there are still enzymes present in the tea leaves, this leads to a slight oxidation during sun drying. So this white tea is closer to a Mao Cha (毛茶), which is the loose-leaf form of young Sheng Cha Pu-erh and is the starting point for a pu-erh tea.
This batch of Yue Guang Bai White Moonlight white tea was plucked in mid spring 2021. The leaves have been carefully hand processed resulting in a beautiful mixture of silver buds and larger black coloured leaves – the result of the oxidation process while being sun dried. When compared to Yunnan Silver Needle, White Moonlight is a much bolder tasting tea. This is the direct result of using not only the buds but the one or two leaves next to the bud. The flavours in this tea are well balanced and lean towards sweet and woody notes. There are fruity and floral aspects to the flavour that remind us of cherry blossom.
Yue Guang Bai White Moonlight white tea is best brewed at 80°C for 2-4 minutes according to your taste. It should definitely be brewed multiple times, increasing water temperature and steeping time with each next brew if desired. Like with all white teas, you can experiment with lower temperature and longer steeping time as an alternative way of brewing this tea.
This Yue Guang Bai White Moonlight white tea was first featured in our June 2016 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.