Notes of elderflower blossoms, winter melon, and water chestnut.
White tea from Fujian, China・April 2021・野生貢眉・Wild
Wild Gongmei is a foraged tea from eastern Fujian Province, an hour southwest of Wuyishan near the border of Jiangxi. It is one of a pair of teas we used to launch the first issue of Founder’s Collection, Volume 02.
The tea itself is a bit of a mystery. These tea plants do not have a specific cultivar name. It is called a cai cha by the Fujianese, a term that refers to a local area’s common tea. Each region has its own cai cha, but while most are crafted as green teas, Wild Gongmei has historically been crafted as a white tea. It’s name is also a bit of a misnomer. In the tea world, “gong mei” refers not to a specific variety, but rather to late harvest white teas. In contrast, our Wild Gongmei is picked early, and has a high proportion of buds to leaves.
We added the wild qualifier to this tea’s name because this tea was foraged from small untended groves scattered across the region. In early April, seasoned tea pickers travel from grove to grove, slowly accumulating tea leaves from petit, wild growing trees to craft this tea. The gathered leaves are processed using centuries-old techniques of white teas; air-dried outdoors under partial shade. This step takes longer than modern processes that rely on indoor fans, and is both finicky and labor intensive. But the results can be worthwhile. Naturally air-dried leaves oxidize slowly, and this gradual process develops flavor and complexity.
This combination of wild foraged leaves and traditional craftsmanship creates an unusually lively white tea. Rich and deep, Wild Gongmei is reminiscent of lilac and honeysuckle flowers and defies expectations of a standard white tea. But Gongmei’s profile is actually more traditional than standard market whites, falling closely in line with white teas of yore, whose wildcrafted leaves, and small production sizes more fully expressed the innate aromatic character of the leaves.
Brew: 4 grams・150 ml・205° F・1 min
We suggest similar brew parameters for all white teas, using water that ranges between 195 - 208F, with a starting steep time of 1 minute. Extend steep time for larger volumes. A shorter steep time at lower temperatures produces a very bright and floral tea. Longer steep times and higher temperatures increases complexity and finish.
More familiar with our old quantities? Here’s the conversion:
|Metric quantities||Ounce equivalent||Servings|
|30 grams (new size!)||1.05 oz.||5-8|
|60 grams||2.10 oz.||10-15|
|120 grams||4.20 oz.||20-30|
|240 grams||8.46 oz.||40-60|