Compared to other teas (and especially at higher water temperatures) use a bit less leaf by weight than you would for Puer or black tea. By eye, you may want to use more leaves than usual. Regardless, a small scale is recommended for the best and most consistent results.
Unlike some fresh White tea, aged White tea has oxidized over time, making it durable to hotter water temperatures. Try aged White tea steeped at a boil. If it is too bitter, you can try 90C and increase the temperature as needed on later infusions. The hotter water will tease out more flavor and body for white tea. As always, experiment as every White tea varies on age and bud content. The more age on White tea, the more it benefits from steeping with boiling water.
Fresh White tea doesn’t need it, though aged White tea benefits from a rinse. Some cakes and bricks, like our 2017 Turtle Dove, need a rinse to release the tight compression to get a thorough infusion. If your aged white tea is tightly compressed, it may require a longer rinse to open up. Some aged White tea may have some undesirable storage tastes on the surface, which a rinse will aid in removing. We go deeper into the topic of rinsing teas in our blog post All About Rinsing Teas.
Gongfu style lets aged White tea shine, highlighting the thick texture, honey flavor, and engaging complexity. This tea brewing style also gets many infusions, getting the most out of your prized aged White tea. Aged White tea can start off light and honeyed and in the later infusions go medicinal. Not to mention, gongfu is an excellent method of tea brewing to share tea with friends and family.
Start with an aged White tea gongfu style ratio of 1 gram of leaf for every 20ml of teapot or gaiwan. Brew the tea for 10 to 30 seconds, adding more time to each infusion. Every new infusion will reveal a darker and darker tea broth.
Grandpa Style with aged White tea is a more chill way to brew tea for one. The flavors are more melded together and transition slowly compared to gongfu style. Since aged White tea is durable, it will not over brew nor easily get bitter. Grandpa style is great for daily drinking, pairing well with our 2016 Old Whitey.
To start, try around 3-4 grams for a 300ml glass. Top with water, sip down, refill water when low, and repeat. Leaving the leaves in is part of this brewing style. This is also a comparatively lazy/easy way to brew the tea that doesn't require too much attention or fuss.
The older and darker the aged White tea, the best it comes out as a stove boil. The long simmer of the white tea leaves quickly unlocks then concentrates the aged date and medicinal flavors. Our 2014 Gongmei Brick is an excellent candidate for boiling the leaves. It is also ideal for coarse older leaves, like Shoumei, which are slow to saturate with water.
Stove boiling is also an option to get a final last infusion and new life from the leaves leftover from a gongfu session.
Place around 5 grams of leaves in a small sauce pot or stove safe teapot, whether it be glass, enamel cast iron, or stainless steel. Bring to a boil and simmer the leaves in 500ml of water for at least 5 minutes. Consider a hot plate by your gongfu table so it is convenient to simmer your leaves. Dealer’s choice if you rinse your leaves. Stove boil has the power to awaken the leaves, but rinsing beforehand will assist in removing any questionable storage tastes.