Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: jade green, downy buds with some larger leaves
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 180 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: very pale, greenish
When I had the opportunity to review some samples from Adagio Teas, I really dug through their website to find some cool stuff. It had been a few years since I wrote about anything of theirs and the direction of the blog has changed quite a bit. I was curious to see if I could find teas that fit into my unflavored specialty tea focus. That led to discovering some hidden gems like their Hunan Gold. The description of this one being their lightest white tea automatically made me add it to my cart.
The dry leaves were diminutive in size with a large proportion of buds. It was somewhere in between silver needle and what you might expect from a white peony. They were mostly whole and covered in downy hairs. Believe it or not, hairs (aka trichomes) in your tea are a very good thing. Not only do they protect the delicate buds from damage but they also change the mouthfeel of the tea we drink, making it smoother and silkier. I was struck by the fresh meadowy scent of this tea as soon as I opened the bag.
As promised, the taste was incredibly delicate. It was floral and just slightly vegetal with zero bitterness. Don't let the lightness fool you. There's plenty of complexity there, especially in the aftertaste. The meadow notes that I picked up in the aroma were definitely there along with a subtle sweetness. If you're having trouble tasting it, try sipping some room temperature water or nibbling on a salty cracker. That will help to wake up your taste buds.
The first time that I brewed Snowbud I followed Adagio's recommendations religiously, as is my usual protocol. Although I enjoyed it very much I could not resist the temptation to gongfu it in my glass gaiwan. I was so glad that I did because the tea really shines when prepared that way. It concentrated the aromas and made the mouthfeel even more viscous. The leaves were also really beautiful to watch as they unfurled in the water.
Snowbud sample provided for review by Adagio Teas.