When The Wild Tea Company offered to share samples I was immediately intrigued. I’ve come across wild and semi-wild grown teas here and there but this was the first time that I had seen a vendor specialize in them. Taiwan is very well known for its oolongs but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a comparative tasting of four different white teas. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’m so glad that I did. They are all special in their own way.
Doesn’t this tea look like a pile of fall leaves that you can’t wait to jump into? It had a distinct woodsy, almost mossy aroma even before steeping them. Wild White Crane was harvested from a previously abandoned tea farm. It was withered and dried without the use of heat, which allows it to age (check out the next tea for more on that!). It brewed up a pretty shade of gold. The taste was clean and refined with floral notes and a lingering sweetness. Later infusions had a fruitiness that reminded me of a perfectly ripe pear.
Wild Decade Old White Crane is the same tea as Wild White Crane but aged for 10 years. It was so interesting to see the change in the leaves. The subtle greens have faded to browns. They also seemed much more dry and delicate in comparison. The first few infusions were a deep gold but then it gradually deepened into a more orange shade. It was also fruity but in a darker way, like dried figs. The aftertaste was slightly creamy with a lingering sweetness. I enjoyed both teas but the deeper flavors of this aged version are definitely more my jam. That being said, it was not as consistent across infusions.
This tea is also built for aging, so much so that The Wild Tea Company age it for one year before releasing. The dry leaves were the most aromatic out of all of these teas. They appeared greener with more fine tips, a very different style from the previous two. Once they unfurled red edges were visible on many of the leaves. The taste was airier than the Wild White Crane although the gold color of the liquor was almost the same. It was floral with a more prominent fruity note that leaned towards a crisp white grape.
Wild White Dragon was harvested from a total of 18 trees that are roughly 60-120 years old. Although I still enjoyed it, it was probably my least favorite out of the teas that I tasted. The taste was lighter-bodied and less aromatic so I found myself missing those high florals. There were notes of sweet meadow hay along with subtle hints malt. It was fruity but in an indistinct way that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
Thank you to The Wild Tea Company for sharing so generously. This tasting left me wanting to explore Taiwanese white teas even further. I think that we’ll see more of them coming to market as interest in them grows.
Have you ever tried white tea from Taiwan? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!