Also known as Bai Mu Dan, White Peony is the most common style of traditional white tea. Manufactured from two tea leaves and a silvery bud, it is processed with a minimum of handling and a unique withering process which results in an amber-orange infusion with low astringency, weighty mouthfeel and a mild flavor that pairs well with most foods.
Chinese Bai Mu Dan White Tea
Literally meaning White Peony, Bai Mu Dan comes from Fujian Province. Leaves are sun dried after plucking and then piled for a short time. Finally the leaves are baked to be finished for shipping.
Bai Mu Dan (aka Bai Mudan) White Tea was developed in the 1920s in Fujian as China worked to meet the demand for unique teas from the United States and Europe. Bai Mu Dan is usually a bud and either one or two small open leaves. When you look at the dried leaves they resemble small peony flowers; hence the name White Peony. The bud in Bai Mu Dan is shorter than Bai Hao Silver Needle White Tea typically, as it is made from different cultivars of Camellia Sinensis. Bai Mu Dan is also dried in the sun. However,it is typically baked after drying resulting in a wide array of colors in the leaves from silver to the dark brown you would expect from a black tea. Still,the tea is only around 5-7% oxidized. This white tea can be brewed just like Bai Hao, however you should experiment with brewing it like an oolong, with a water temperature up to 190° Fahrenheit and 3-5 minutes of steeping. It produces a very different flavor depending on how it is prepared. Brewed as you would a white tea you get a smooth floral tea. Brewed as you would an oolong (closer to 190°) and you will get strong muscatel flavors with a hint of nuttiness from the very pale yellow liquor. Unlike Bai Hao, this tea is used as the base for most flavored white teas, as it is produced in much larger quantities making it a more cost efficient.