As I open the Tiger Box to kick-off a 15-day exploration of Chinese tea and culture, I am excited to taste one of my favorites from Volition Tea, Colorful Peony. I had a brief taste when Annie and I first met over tea last Summer, yet it has remained cemented in my tasting lexicon. Join me as we navigate Spring Festival from afar.
The Tiger Box is a limited edition curated experience containing teas and cultural stories from Annie of Volition Tea and Yao Yao of Yao Cha, in celebration of the Lunar New Year 2022. Join me as I taste and explore each day in the lead-up to Spring Festival. For more information as well as additional celebrations from tea brands, I invite you to explore Spring Festival 2022
February 1 Notes from Annie and Yao Yao
Happy New Year 春节快乐 (chūnjié kuàilè)!
In the North, Annie’s family has handmade dumplings for breakfast. In the South, Yao’s family eats tangyuan (sweet rice balls) with osmanthus and sugar for breakfast.
Then we head out to visit family members and temples to pray to the Buddhas and Gods.
Cleaning is forbidden, as it will sweep away your good luck.
WHAT IS COLORFUL PEONY?
This three-year vintage Bai Mudan presents a dynamic set of aromas, colors, and flavors due to the shaking of the leaves, a step typically reserved for oolong teas.
Season: Oct 12, 2018
Cultivar: Mei Zhan
Origin: Yongchun, Fujian, China
Picking/Processing: Bud +2 leaves, shaking integrated
My Brewing Parameters
Brewing Vessel – Clay Gaiwan
Leaf to Water Ratio – 3g for 150 mL
Starting Temp – 100°C
Infusion time(s) – 20 sec. +5
Eyes Dry: buckwheat brown and moss-green leaves, baby’s breath white buds,
Nose Dry: spring grass, slight hydrangea
Nose Wet: petrichor, muscatel, orchardgrass
Eyes Liquor: pale lemongrass to a deep gold core,
Mouth Texture: medium-bodied, slightly cooling
Mouth Taste: sweet, honey, floral
Nose Cup: creamy, celery
Mouth Finish: lingering floral sweet, a touch of dryness
Eyes Wet: blue-green and brown leaves, waxy and thick,
Body Sensation: joyous, calm, warmth in the chest
HOW IT MAKES ME FEEL
I step out into the cool morning air and make my way down to the nearby lake. As I approach the crest of the hill that leads down to the water, the local woods encompass the path down and I hear the loud rush from a waterfall. Petrichor fills the air as sunlight shines upon the creek that receives the lake’s supply, and the late spring flowers are in bloom. A mix of warm and cool, there’s a feeling of hope and contentment that the landscape provides at this hour.
RECOMMENDED LISTENING FOR COLORFUL PEONY
Colorful Peony is resilient and sturdy in leaf material and my clay gaiwan provides an added mineral experience while rounding out any harshness that could develop through longer brew times. It’s highly floral while providing store fruit and honey richness that teeters into Zhangping Shuixian territory. Whether it’s cold-brewed, used as a component in mixology, or enjoyed in cooking, this tea exudes creativity. Priced at 24 USD for 30 grams, I find this well worth it as its long-lasting potency shifts over countless infusions. Because of its complexity, I recommend utilizing Colorful Peony in a comparative tasting with another Bai Mudan or even Dongfang Meiren.