2015 Cattleya Shou Mei Bing (佩蘭壽眉餅, Pèi Lán Shòu Méi Bǐng, "Cattleya Longevity Eyebrow Bing") - At any given time, we try to keep at least one big bing of aged Shou Mei in stock. Shou Mei is the leafiest grade of Fuding white tea, picked latest in the season, and theoretically is the "lowest" grade of white tea after White Peony and Silver Needle, in ascending order. We're huge fans of shou mei because it appreciates the most from aging of any of the three types. The profusion of broad, dark, late-season mature leaves and sparse, slender white buds gives it its name which means "Longevity Eyebrow". This same leafiness also causes it to oxidize dramatically with time, leading to the rich, sweet, warm flavors characteristic of aged white tea. This particular 2015 Shou Mei cake by Fuding tea farmer and master Li Yan Mei has notes of fruit leather, dried raspberries and cherries, with notes of maple syrup and dried pineapple in the after-fragrance. The body is sweet and full, and the liquor is a bright red-gold. The Qi is full-bodied and invigorating, palpably euphoric and grounding. The saying in Fuding goes "one year tea, three years medicine, seven years treasure". For this reason, the price for 7+ year-old cakes is much higher than those younger than 7 years. This cake is now 6 years old and we are going to try to acquire as many as we can this year before they turn 7 (or, more likely, before they sell out). The name "Cattleya" refers to a genus of orchids from South America; this tea is so named because it has an elegant quality reminiscent of orchids (although it does not have what one would call an "orchid fragrance").
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As good as their last old shou mei, like dates, honey wax, apples, and of course autumn. Super delicious and I highly recommend.