Shou Mei (寿眉) is a style of White Tea that is grown in the Fuding area of Fujian province of China. The tea is the same varietal that is used to make Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needles) and Bai Mu Dan (White Peony), but Shou Mei is (less tippy) a 2 or 3 leaf to 1 bud ratio. The processing style also allows for more oxidation through natural air drying.
Our Shou Mei was aged as a loose leaf tea for 2 years in Fuding and then for 3 years in Kunming before being made into these handy little dragon balls. The result is a lightly aged, but very clean Shou Mei that brews up an incredibly rich orange hued tea soup. The taste is very sweet with notes of honey, and dried fruit. Incredibly viscous and smooth, with no real astringency at all (even at higher temperatures). This is a tea that can be enjoyed fully right now. Further aging would be beneficial but is not at all needed.
These Dragon Balls were made by my mother in-law and father-in-law. They make them in their spare time. They use little pieces of cotton to compress them instead of saran wrap. Saran wrap compression is the most common method because it's faster, but it causes off gassing into the tea since the tea must be steamed to soften and is very hot. We use cotton, which is safe.
There is a saying in Chinese in regards to aging white teas: 一年茶、七年宝 - First Year it's Tea, after Seven Years it's Treasure!
Each Dragon Ball is 7 grams!
May 2013 Harvest, June 10th 2018 pressing
We also have pressed a cake from the same material which can see by clicking the link below:
2013 Shou Mei White Tea Cake from Fuding
Scott and "The Oolong Drunk" Cup this tea together in the video below!