Tea of the Week – White Clouds

This is a tea that I bought from First Class Teas in Cambridge before it shut down due to the recession … their trade has been taken over by Iford Manor Teas (Will who was involved with First Class Teas (not sure if he was manager / tea-selector / what exactly, but he was a nice and knowledgeable guy) seems to now run Iford Manor Teas). However, White Clouds doesn’t seem to feature on Iford Manor’s tea list – their white teas are White Monkey Pekoe and Pai Mu Tan. (NB you have to click on “green tea” to get to the white teas, which I found a little confusing …)

Tea leaves in tin<– sitting in the tin.

Source: First Class Teas. Now shut down 😦

Cost: I think this was £5/100g, and I bought 50g. Not sure though. Having compared with other white teas available to buy loose-leaf, £5/100g is a plausible price.

Ethics: Unknown.

Brewing instructions: Take a pinch … brew with water that is not quite boiling, for 3 or 4 minutes. Can be rebrewed multiple times.

A pinch of teaTea in tea strainerTea brewing - top-down
Appearance:
I used a largeish pinch here, because I’ve had this tea for a while and I suspect it’s past its best … so it’s produced a fairly strong colour (for a white tea, at least!):

Tea brewing - side-onTea - side-on, showing colour

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nose: It doesn’t smell of much … this is, I am 99% sure, because it is old and has lost some of its fragrance. It used to smell of jasmine, I’m pretty sure … or perhaps not jasmine, but definitely fragrant and interesting (whereas now it doesn’t smell of much).

Taste: As noted above, the fragrant top notes have faded from this tea … my fault for storing it for too long and not drinking enough of it! Having said that, it’s by no means tasteless.

Hand holding half-full mug<– drinking and thinking

I googled “White Clouds Tea” to see what happened, and turned up this page, which describes the taste as “sweetly vegetal”. Another site claimed it has a coconut flavour.

I’m definitely not getting coconut, but slightly vegetal … yeah. Other words that come to mind … rounded flavour … not heavy. Leaves a clean aftertaste in the back of the throat (which I find very slightly unpleasant).

Food match: not sure … food for thought, perhaps. Okay, that’s a terrible attempt at a pun. But this is a tea which seems to work with sitting and thinking.

Looking through mug top-downSeeking clarity?

Bonus photos: you might have noticed in the pictures above that the tea leaves look pretty whole/unbroken … this is a sign of good-quality tea. Here are a couple of photos of the tea leaves post-brewing, when they’ve softened up and unrolled:

Tea leaves in tea strainer post-brewingClose-up: Tea leaves in tea strainer post-brewing

What do you drink when you want to sit back and think about things?

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