White peony tea is a lesser-known white tea that originated in China, but it’s well worth the effort to seek it out at the market. This delicate yellow drink has a rich yet subtle flavor and is considered the most luxurious white tea available.
White peony tea is a specialized white tea made with a careful mixture of young tea buds and leaves. This tea is gathered on a one-bud-two-leaf ratio, with twice as many tea leaves in the blend as tea shoots. White peony tea is also known as Bai Mudan.
White peony tea is a complex and delicious brew for tea connoisseurs to try. Read on to learn more about the characteristics of white peony tea and what sets it apart from other tea varieties.
This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is sort of boring, but you can find it here.
What Is White Peony Tea?
There are many kinds of white tea cultivated around the world, but white peony tea is a particular cultivar of Chinese tea plants grown in the province of Fujian. White teas outside of these regions of China may advertise themselves as white peony tea, but they aren’t the same as the Bai Mudan cultivated in the Chinese mainland.
What Does White Peony Tea Taste Like?
White peony tastes similar to green tea with a milder, more fruity flavor. This floral-tasting white tea has a naturally sweet flavor that pairs well with sweeteners like honey and rock sugar. However, white peony tea is still palatable even without sweeteners.
What Does White Peony Tea Look Like?
After being brewed, white peony tea has a translucent, pale golden liquor reminiscent of honey. Before brewing, white peony tea looks like a dried mixture of loose leaves and buds. Unlike green and black teas, which may be curled or rolled for a particular texture, white peony tea is dried naturally. This gives the dry tea blend a fluffy, eclectic texture.
What Does White Peony Tea Smell Like?
White peony tea can contain many different fragrances depending on where the tea is grown and how it’s processed, but most white peony tea blends have a mixture of floral and fruity aromas. White peony tea contains notes of stone fruit, lemon, and autumn leaves.
Why Is White Peony Tea Associated with Peonies?
Contrary to its name, white peony tea doesn’t contain peony flowers. Instead, white peony tea was named for how the tea leaves and buds unfurl when exposed to boiling hot water, like a blossoming peony. The tea’s lightly floral perfume after brewing is also reminiscent of peonies.
Types of White Peony Tea
There are two major varieties of white peony tea that are grown in China, and their flavors vary depending on which one you select. Here are the main cultivars of white peony tea that you can buy:
- Fuding white peony tea: Fuding tea is grown in the Fujian province of China and is brewed from darker tea leaves, giving it a greenish liquor compared to other white teas.
- Zhenge mudan wang white peony tea: Zhenge mudan wang is grown in the Zhenge province and has a sweeter flavor than fuding white tea. It also has a more full-bodied mouthfeel, making it a richer brew overall.
No matter which variety of white peony tea you go with, white tea is a suitable tea for multiple infusions. This allows you to re steep the tea up to four times, enjoying the subtle differences in the flavor of the tea after each steep.
How Is White Peony Tea Harvested?
White peony tea is usually harvested from the first flush of tea that is harvested in the earliest part of spring. White peony tea is harvested by the most expert tea pickers in China since it requires a specialized method of hand-picking where only the best tea leaves and buds are chosen for processing.
How to Brew White Peony Tea
White peony tea has to be brewed carefully to avoid damaging the fragile botanical oils in the tea that create its aroma and flavor. Here’s the method you should follow to brew the perfect pot of white peony tea:
- Heat water to a temperature of 185° – 200°F. Keep in mind that you don’t want your water to be boiling for white tea, as this is too hot. Instead, you’ll want to heat your water to just under boiling temperature.
- Add tea to your teapot. Add three to four teaspoons of loose leaf white peony tea to your teapot. Using a glass teapot makes it easier to see when the tea is completely steeped.
- Steep for 3-5 minutes.
- Strain and serve. White tea can be served with sweeteners such as honey or the flavor can be amended with add-ins such as muddled fruit, edible flowers, or herbs. You can also chill the tea and serve it cold as a refreshing summertime beverage.
White peony tea isn’t difficult to make, but its unique flavor is one that you’ll remember long after your cup is empty. Of course, like most teas, white peony tea bags are also readily available if you want a quick cup.
White Peony Tea Is a Chinese Delicacy
White peony tea may be slightly harder to find than more commonplace varieties. However, you should find some and give it a try. The light flavors and aromas of this tea variety are delicious no matter how you like to drink it.