323 - Pesticide-Free 2008 Fuding Shou Mei

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There is a saying about aged white tea:

One year tea,
Three years medicine,
Seven years treasure.  

This tea, grown without pesticides on the slopes of Half Hill Mountain, just south of Fuding, comes from semi-arboreal tea bushes that are allowed to grow naturally (as opposed to the manicured, uniform tea-bushes found in typical tea plantations).  Having aged since 2008, it has now surpassed its double-treasure mark.  Shou Mei, or "Longevity Eyebrow," tends to be a hearty, robust tea, as it is made from the outer leaves of the plant, rather than the central bud leaves.  Despite this, the silver hairs of some inner bud leaves still give this cake a luminous sheen.  

Dry, this tea smells slightly tart, with notes of apricot, fig, dried fruit, jam, and old leather.  Wet, its leaves smell clean, reminiscent of hay fields and toasted grain.  It produces a warm, honey-colored brew with a flavor that is full, yet gentle.  This earthy yet silky tea is sweet, aromatic, and tart, with elements of apricots, wild grasses, chrysanthemum, plums, dry wood, alfalfa, hay, and black tea, with a slight farmhouse funk reminiscent of its fully wild cousins.  (While this tea is allowed to grow naturally, it was still planted, but has a flavor akin to a fully wild white.)  It leaves one with a lingering minty aftertaste, reminiscent of a clean meadow, open, yet rich and full of life.  

Its effects are stimulating yet grounded.  Its qi is aromatic, dry, and slightly cool.  This tea is best enjoyed with food or after a meal, and pairs well with Sichuan-style mala flavors.  

Its character is like an old, windswept sage who dwells amongst the bristlecone pines, with smiling eyes and a seemingly infinite supply of tasty snacks, endlessly procured from within his tattered robe as if by magic.  

Lasts about a dozen brews.  After this point, it can be boiled for further infusions, which will have a rich, sweet flavor, somewhat similar to black tea.  

Each brick consists of 165 grams.

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