Review of Yunnan Yue Guang Bai Air-Dried White Tea

9 of 103 of 55 of 585 of 100

This is only the second Moonlight White tea I've ever tried; the first was from Life in Teacup. I've had this tea for nearly two years from its harvest date, but am only reviewing it now, so I've seen how it ages slightly. It seemed to change character much more quickly than a pu-erh.

The leaf is striking and unique in appearance, with leaves that are downy and silvery on one side but jet-black on the other. It arrived looking exactly like pictured on the company website. It's intensely fragrant, mainly floral but with some fruit, herbaceous and spicy notes, and hints of autumn leaves. There is a hint of the aromatic qualities of both silver needle and darker white teas like white peony or shou mei. The leaf alone smells complex.

Brewing this tea produces a somewhat odd cup, very fragrant, but lighter in character. The flavor is surprisingly sweet and has little bitterness, but there's some astringency later in the sip that gives it some body. Like with the dry leaf, the aroma is complex. More spicy notes, particularly of cinnamon, come out in the brewed cup.

This tea has changed somewhat since I first brewed it. Yunnan Sourcing's description says it will develop into something close to red tea, but mine hasn't gone in that direction yet. It has, however, developed more notes of autumn leaves, and the cinnamon notes in the aroma have strengthened. I think I liked the tea better when fresh. Although I like the notes of autumn leaves, the cinnamon notes are slightly jarring with the floral and fruity fragrances in the rest of the tea.

Overall, I found this tea slightly easier to brew than the one from Life in Teacup. It's still a bit enigmatic, though. One thing I found tricky was that the leaf is so huge, but also so delicate, so it breaks easily, even if you're being very gentle in storing it. The small, broken pieces of leaf infuse faster and lead to a more astringent, and thus more full-bodied cup with a more potent flavor, whereas the big leaves are slower to infuse and produce a milder, clearer cup, but with greater complexity.

I've served this tea to a number of people and they all seem both to enjoy it, and to appreciate its uniqueness. If you haven't ever tried this type of tea, I would recommend it, whether you know you like more full-flavored white teas, or you just want a change of pace.

In the end though, I still didn't like this as much for daily drinking as most of Yunnan Sourcing's black (red) teas. As usual though, the price on this is exceptional. This is a special tea for a very reasonable price.

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