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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Canton Tea Company’s Bai Mu Dan White Tea

© 2011 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
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The Subject:  Bai Mu Dan
Company:Canton Tea Company. [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:167° F
Steeping time:2-3 mins. (we did 2, 2½, & 3 mins.)
Tea type:White
Aroma, dry leaves:  Fresh mown alfalfa with nutty quality

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —2 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Faint sweetness
Taste, plain —Mild, hay-like, faint sweet cumin-like character
Color, plain —Pale orangey gold
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —2½ mins.
Aroma, plain —Mild candy-like sweetness
Taste, plain —Mild, not as hay-like or cumin-like
Color, plain —Darker orangey gold
3rd Infusion:
Steeping time —3 mins.
Aroma, plain —Faint
Taste, plain —Faded
Color, plain —Pale orangey gold

Gotta love that heat-sealed foil pouch. Considering the journey those tea leaves took, a package that blocks light, air, and moisture shows true care on the part of the vendor.

Despite a rather limpid 3rd infusion we find this a satisfying tea. We might try some more of it later and steep only once for 3 minutes, just to see if some of the flavors evident in it this go-round will come out better if left to steep longer.

The dry leaves are typical of this tea type, containing stems, broken pieces, and even some small whole leaves. This is due in part to the minimal processing this type of tea undergoes, which means among other things no sorting of the leaf pieces for size. Some of the pieces also had the downiness characteristic of white teas and were more consistent in size than another version we tried.

We steeped up small quantities in our little yellow teapot. (You might want to use a gaiwan, if you have one.) Our steeped liquid was quite a bit darker than shown in the photo on the vendor’s site. Also, as with a number of other teas, our taste experience differed from the vendor’s description.


Smooth and mellow, it is cucumber fresh with soft fruit notes and a lingering, sweet aftertaste.

Mild, hay-like, with 1st infusion having a mysteriously cumin-like sweetness. (We even brought out our jar of cumin-seed to compare.)

Try some and see what you think. This is an award-winning (2009) tea, which doesn’t mean you will like it, but the judges apparently did. One thing to keep in mind is that Canton deals with specific tea gardens and limited quantities. There will be variation from one year to the next. Also, it takes skilled workers to process this tea, and then it travels thousands of miles. That affects taste, too. If you have ever lived near an orange grove and eaten a tree-ripened orange versus one that is picked a bit green and then brought to your local grocery store, you know what I mean about the taste issues. All the more reason to rejoice in Jennifer and Edgar using those great pouches.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

1 comment:

  1. How to say Awesome to someone who is all knowing?

    Awesome Dude!


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