Bai Mudan or White Peony is a modern-style white tea that is a combination of buds and leaf (quite often very few buds).
Historically, the only Chinese white tea was the traditional Yin Zhen, which was, and is still, a manufacture of 100% buds from only certain cultivars of camellia sinensis, grown in the highlands of Fujian Province. Because of the limited availability of these buds and the subsequent high cost of the finished tea, the need arose for a new version of white tea (this being defined as leaf that is very slightly oxidized and primarily air-dried, yielding a tea that is mild, smooth, and most reminiscent of a very mild black tea or oolong). Using the lower leaves of the same plants and drying them quickly provided much greater quantities of this tea, after additional acreage was planted of the necessary cultivars and a schedule was generated for the more substantial plucking of the bushes.
So, midway-to-late in the 20th century, tea makers began to incorporate the leaf with the buds from the tea bushes used for white tea. Varying percentages of leaf-to-bud are used to make several different modern-style white teas including Bai Mudan. These various modern-style white teas consequently have different tastes and quality.
After the tea buds are plucked (the timing for which is dictated by each new year’s seasonal growth of these ‘Big White’ cultivars – which require a larger bud than most leaf that is to be manufactured into green, black tea etc) and the Yin Zhen white tea is made for the year, the tea picking changes to a much larger harvest (pluck) and Bai Mudan Floral-Style tea is made.
Good quality Bai Mudan is a high-grade ‘modern’ white tea. Therefore, our Bai Mudan is a treat to offer. It has a high percentage of buds to leaf. (Some Bai Mudans that we see are not what we think of as Bai Mudan, but a tea made even later in the season that is a combination of older leaf to which few or no buds have been added). The color of Tea Trekker’s Floral-Style Bai Mudan mix of leaf is a lovely and soft melange of light greens and white tips – we avoid Bai Mudan tea that has yellowish or brownish leaf.
Tea Trekker’s Bai Mudan is clean and fresh tasting. Many do not realize that the fresh leaf material used to make white tea is not de-enzymed as are all other styles of Chinese teas, and it undergoes slight withering (as does black tea) which oxidizes the leaf and buds just a little. This is one reason why Chinese white teas are so smooth and in the case of the Floral-Style Bai Mudan, can be reminiscent in flavor of drinking a very mild black tea or a lightly-oxidized oolong such as Bai Hao.
Tea Trekker’s 2021 Bai Mudan Floral-Style is an easy steeper and in the cup will be smooth. This, our Floral-Style version, has a pleasant, light floral aroma. It has been given sun-drying, a short oxidizing wither and is finally air-dried to keep the leaf large and intact and prevent the color from darkening. The leaf is green on one side and silvery grey on the other side, and there is a generous quantity of large and juicy buds. While this may sound like an easy process, making quality white tea requires skill and experience, especially when manufacturing the Floral-Style.
This is a beautiful tea. And a lofty, voluminous tea, requiring the use of a substantial amount of leaf in order to steep a satisfying cup. This tea is delicious hot or cold, but should be steeped in water around 160°F-170°F to prevent scorching the leaf and extracting unwanted astringency.
NOTE: Even when we have full inventory, we do not pack a 16oz size because the bag would be so huge. If you want 16oz of this tea simply order two 8oz packages or four 4oz – the price is the same, and it is much easier for us to pack and ship (and for you to store) the smaller volume packages.