Bai Mu Dan or Chinese White Peony Tea is a delicious and often under appreciated tea. My own love for this tea has moved me to share just a few of its many unique attributes.
This tea is sometimes referred to as “new style tea ” meaning a more recent invention for the greater production of White tea. Even so Bai Mu Dan has been made in this same fashion for over a hundred years. Still new, however, when sized up against some centuries old teas.
Bai Mu Dan or Chinese White Peony Tea is a perfect example of tea that is a “pluck specificity”, meaning that Bai Mudan is made from a careful plucking of buds and first leaf together. It is an early spring pick and so it has the signature downy covering on the buds.
Bai Mu Dan is essentially a shade dried tea, as is the traditional Silver Needle bud set tea. A simple 3 step process is involved in manufacturing Bai Mu Dan tea. First is the outdoor whithering under shaded canopies, next air cooling and drying indoors, and finally a bake-drying, not firing is needed to thoroughly dry any leaf moisture content. This final process happens quickly before the leaf can undergo any enzymatic changes.
Because of the unique process of shade drying and air drying, Bai Mu Dan has a small percentage of oxidation. Just this little bit of oxidation gives Bai Mu Dan its particular lush, and full flavor. The result is a more concentrated flavor than true bud set tea and one surprisingly reminiscent of full bodied oolongs. With a dark brown amber color, Bai Mu Dan is superb in its mellow and smooth taste, with no astringency .
Bai Mu Dan is a delight for all tea drinkers and not to be missed. I always prefer teas to be organic whenever possible to make the entire experience one of good health, fullness of flavor and a celebration of the leaf and the bud.