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Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Home Discount Store’s Pai Mu Tan Tea

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The Subject:  Pai Mu Tan (White Peony)
Company:Home Discount Store. [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:175° F
Steeping time:4-5 mins.
Tea type:White
Dry leaves:  Broken leaf pieces ranging from green to copper, sweet smell like fresh-cut alfalfa

1st Infusion:  
Steep time —  4 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Honey-like sweetness
Taste, plain —Smooth, honey impression in aftertaste
Color, plain —Amber
2nd Infusion:
Steep time —  4½ mins.
Aroma, plain —Same as above
Taste, plain —Still gentle, honey impression gone
Color, plain —Amber

This is the 4th version of Pai Mu Tan I’ve tried (the tea is also called Bai Mu Dan, White Peony, and other variations). Each version has tasted quite different from the others. Although we’re not rating this version as high as one of the others, the 1st infusion of this one is quite remarkable and our favorite so far (we have one more from another company to try yet). The rating here is actually based on the 2nd infusion not being quite what we had hoped.

Despite that, we recommend this tea. The first infusion has a delightful honey impression in the aftertaste that actually gets a bit stronger as the liquid cools slightly. If you like the taste of honey but are allergic, this tea could be a very good one for you to try.

Also, compared to the other versions, this tea is quite a bargain price-wise. So, hubby and I don’t mind that we only liked the 1st round (the 2nd one lacked the wonderful honey impression in the aftertaste).

We’ve been noticing that some tea vendors, this one included, are giving steeping directions that are both for a more U.S./English-style way of infusing and also a more Asian/gongfu-style infusing. Very nice. We followed the former way. The vendor also states that after some experimenting you may find that you need to adjust the steep time. So true. Vendors’ instructions are usually guidelines, a nice place to start.

The leaf pieces are smaller than in other versions we’ve tried, but that is not necessarily and indication of quality. What it does indicate is that you could steep this tea a shorter time for the same flavor. The leaf colors are fairly typical for this style of white tea, ranging from dark green to coppery.

Our proposal is that you do a long (4½ to 5 minutes) steep and enjoy it, forgetting about any subsequent steeps. You’ll still get your money’s worth.

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

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