Ancient Tree White Moonlight Tea is a rare and highly distinctive white tea specialty from Yunnan, China. While there are many attempts today to reproduce white tea (Bai Mu Dan / White Peony or Baihao Yinzhen / White Silver Needle), originally yielded from the Da Bai tea variety in the Chinese province of Fujian (Fuding and Zhenghe), in other tea cultivation regions and from other cultivars, White Moonlight Tea is a genuine Yunnan tea tradition as ancient as the tea trees it is made from. It is processed in two versions, one of which is White Moonlight Tea with a 1:1 ratio of buds and adjacent tea leaves, and the other one is the pure White Moonlight Buds.
Tea Master Zhang Tian’s family from Jingu in Yunnan has been growing and processing Moonlight White Tea and White Moonlight Buds for countless generations. Their property is home to a population of “wild” (actually: semi-wild, as they are of wild origin, but are cultivated today) tea trees, the oldest of which is about 800 years old. While keeping the exact details of the method a secret from the outside world, the skill required for the delicate handpicking and processing of Moonlight White Tea has been developed and passed on from one generation to another for hundreds of years in the Zhang family.
White Moonlight Tea has its name on the one side from the buds’ and leaves’ unique shape and color respectively. “White Moonlight” once refers to the distinct crescent shape of the white Moonlight tea bud, making it look like a crescent moon, while a second aspect is the characteristic color pattern of the White Moonlight tea leaves, which are white on the top side and black on their back, just like the moon, whose one side is lit by the sun, while the other one is dark. Amazingly, once infused both leave sides take on a consistent color, with the exact shade being individual for each leaf somewhere in the spectrum between pale green and brown.
White Moonlight white tea is harvested in very limited quantities during full moon in March and April each year, when the first buds and tender tea leaves are emerging from the ancient tea trees. Another hint to the origin of the tea’s name? The family’s centuries-long experience with the cultivation and processing of this tea has taught the producer that the tea tree’s active ingredients will have a particularly strong drive into the branch tops and thereby the plant’s youngest buds and leaves during the full moon phase, producing positive effects both on the resulting tea’s taste and health properties. The processing, involving a delicate air-drying process, is also tightly bound to the spring season, as only the climate conditions are proper for the withering and curing of Ancient Moonlight Tea. The cool spring weather and the resulting slow growth of the tea leaves coin the flavor and aroma of White Moonlight Tea through a particularly high concentration of active substances.
Ancient Tree White Moonlight Tea is picked with a 1+1 picking standard, meaning that always one pertaining, most upper leave is picked along with each silky-smooth, downy silver-white buds. The resulting combination is among the best the world of white tea, in particular its sub-category Bai Mu Dan /White Peony, into which White Moonlight Tea technically falls, has to offer. The leaves portion adds a similarly rich and complex foreground to the characteristic subtle, elegant and gentle flavor of the young buds – the latter rather coming in „through the backdoor“, metaphorically speaking – to combine both components to an unparalleled allover result that comprehensively takes possession of one’s taste sphere right from the very first sip. immediately. It is especially the pronounced, broadly facetted and complex nutty flavors that make Ancient Tree White Moonlight Tea’s taste stand out from “conventional” Bai Mu Dan / White Peony teas. To this adds the characteristic “Qi” of wild born, ancient tea trees, generally producing a clearer felt, more intense, but nevertheless pleasant and balanced effect on the human body.
White tea, being high in amino acids and polyphenols, is widely considered as having strong antioxidant features and cooling effects on the human body and blood, being beneficial to eyesight, strengthen the immune system and raise energy levels, along with concentration-improving and mood-enhancing properties.
Preparation: Pour 250ml of 80°C – 90°C hot water (let cool for a short period after boiling) over 4g of Ancient Tree White Moonlight Tea in a glass, clay, ceramic or porcelain teapot. Infused for 1-2 minutes for full taste, White Moonlight White Tea will produce a long range of delicious steeps, whose exactly number is hard to keep track of. Like other white teas, White Moonlight Tea is also particularly well suitable for delicious and refreshing cold infusions and/or ice tea.