Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: long, silvery buds covered in downy hair
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 180 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: pale gold
Puerh is probably the tea that comes to mind when people think of Yunnan but there are lots of other good things to be had. Whites teas from this region tend to be less delicate than their Fuding counterparts. You can think of it as a beefier Silver Needle. The main difference is that Yunnan whites are made using var. Assamica rather than the smaller leafed Da Bai variety.
The dry leaves of Jinggu Spring Buds consisted entirely of long, slender needles. They were silvery grey and positively fuzzy. Those little hairs, also called trichomes, are an immature leaf’s natural defense against insects and excess sunlight. Don’t let that scare you, trichomes also add a lot of sweetness and soften the mouthfeel of tea. The stems of each leaf seemed unusual prominent but I’m OK with it. Stems also add a lot of flavor to tea!
My glass gaiwan is my go-to tool for brewing white teas. Those leaves are just too beautiful to cover up while they are steeping! This tea brewed up a very pale gold. The trichomes that I noted on the dry leaf were noticeably visible in my sharing pitcher. Even before I took my first sip I was swept away by a sweet, hay-like aroma. My husband may have caught me with my nose in the cha hai. He’s used to things that like that happening by now.
The taste was wonderfully soft and smooth with a lingering sweet finish. It was complex with hints of florals, subtle spice, and a bit of pleasant biscuity quality. There was also an interesting meatiness that reminded me of plain, dry peanuts. This tea held up well through multiple gongfu infusions but I found it just as enjoyable when brewed in more western fashion.
Have you ever tried Jinggu Spring Buds? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!