Moonlight White 月光百- This tea is a western version of the classical white tea Bai Mu Dan “White Peony”. While the white tea process originates in Fujian on the east coast of China, the style has been applied to pu-er plants in the west. By harvesting a high ratio of buds to leaves and allowing the tea to air-dry without being cooked, Yunnan tea farmers have created a robust white tea with large downy white buds that maintains the earthy, floral character of the pu-er tea plants as well as the delicate, fluffy mouthfeel. The name moonlight white refers to the silver appearance of the buds among the darker leaves, as well as the fact that it is dried outside overnight, presumably exposing it to the light of the moon. A clear,sweet, gentle tea with surprisingly pronounced qi.
"In 2018 we asked Nannuo mountain tea farmer Li Shulin to make Moonlight White - the sun-dried Yunnanese white tea known for its large buds and leaves - out of the Zi Juan “Purple Grace” cultivar. Zi Juan Cha was bred from the naturally-occurring purple tea plants (Zi Ya Cha) of Nannuo mountain, eventually yielding a particularly purple plant high in the blue/purple pigments anthocyanins that give the naturally-occurring mutant Zi Ya its distinctive hue. While the naturally-occuring Zi Ya leaves have a heterogeneous appearance, generally darker than normal “green” sheng pu er, the Zi Juan leaves, bred for their pigment concentration, have a uniform blue-green color and yield a beautiful and remarkable liquor ranging from purple to pink when processed into Sheng Pu Er (we sell this tea as Purple Grace). We wanted to see what would happen if it were sun dried - allowing the plant pigments to remain unaltered by the cooking process (sha qing) applied to sheng pu er. When we visited in 2019, Li had a surprise for us - he had produced batches of Moonlight White using both Zi Juan “Purple Grace” cultivar and Zi Ya “Wild Purple” seed-propagated plants. We call the Zi Juan moonlight white “Moonlight Purple”, and as is the case with sheng pu er it produces a more noticeably purple brew than its mutant ancestors, tending more towards a pale pink than the gemtone purple of sheng pu er. Its flavor is soft and has the sweet tang associated with purpleness in all its forms. The fragrance carries distant notes of cranberry skin on the exhale, while the leaves have a rich floral-honey profile."