White Tea Week, Day 1: “Bi Luo the Belt”
In late 2012, I was given a unique opportunity. Canton Tea Co. wanted me to guest blog for them, relating my personal experiences with Dan Cong oolongs. I did finally get around to said blog…oh…three months after they asked. Instead of using it for “just” a blog update, I was informed it would be used for something else.
They asked me if they could use said blog in the third week of a monthly subscription service they were launching. As payment, I got to test-run said service. Monthly tea subscriptions are a dime a dozen now, and there are some great ones out there. However, a year ago, the only game in town (of that magnitude) was 52Teas. Canton Tea Co.’s Tea Club was taking it a step further.
Each week, new and unique teas would be featured along with profiles, background info, and personal anecdotes. Even in my smidge of a capacity, I was happy to be a part of it, and I was able to experience some fabulous teas in the process. There was this Hawaiian white…oh my gawwww *cue drooling*…
Alas, all good things had to come to an end, and my trial run of the subscription ran out. I wish I could’ve monetarily renewed it, but I was poor at the time. Actually, make that all the time. Seems to be a recurring problem. Luckily, I was in no shortage of teas to try. However, one showed up that made me go, Damn it!
On Week 26, a White Bi Luo Chun appeared. White. Bi Luo. Chun. Until that week, I was only aware of three variations on that style of tea – a gold-tipped black, a Keemun, and the original green tea. A white tea of that style definitely made my neck hairs erect.
I made my best beggar eyes in Canton Tea’s general direction.
They appeased me…probably out of pity.
I won’t go into what Bi Luo Chun is, or what its precarious history amounts to. I covered that story quite vividly HERE. No, I made none of that up.
Bi Luo Chun green tea actually hails from Jiangsu province, China. This white variant hailed from Yunnan province, much like it’s gold-tipped sibling. However, unlike Golden Bi Luo, this looked like no “Green Snale Spring”. Bi Luo Chun usually looks like this:
Leaves rolled to look like snail shells, as per the name. These looked like, well, slugs maybe. (Green Slug Spring. Heh. That has a ring to it.)
Okay, that’s not entirely fair, there is some wiggle room to the rolling of the leaves. I have come across some more anachronistic approaches to Bi Luo Chun rolling. Generally, though, they’re rolled pretty tightly.
All snark aside, the leaves did smell very pleasant, and as floral smelling as the description indicated. I caught a whiff of lotus and honeysuckle when I put nose to bag. Aside from the flowers, the scent also reminded me of rough wilderness – a common trait I find in Yunnan whites. It wasn’t quite as rough as rough as those…but close.
On taste, it’s a Chinese white through-and-through with an herbal front that transitions to a slightly grassy but mostly floral middle, and trails off nicely into a feeling of old forest. It doesn’t have a melon-ish lean like some good Chinese whites, but makes up for it with a slight citrus tickle on the aftertaste. All in all, it had a lot in common with Yue Guang Bai, another Yunnan white, but with a better flavor delivery. I, frankly, enjoyed it over its Jiangsu-produced green tea sibling.
Don’t believe me? Well, try it for yourself. Or you can take your opinion and “Bi Luo” off. You know I had to use that pun at least once.