Seth and Maggie are good at bringing me edible presents from distant lands. Very good.
From their honeymoon in Scandinavia I received dried fish and aquavit. From their tea researching jaunt through India and Pakistan I obtained fermented cauliflower leaves, yeast for making the rice beer known as chang (aka "thoo-n"), coriander honey, dried cubes of yak cheese, saffron, cardamom, and of course tea.
Most of the tea they brought me, like most of the tea in India, was black. Since I haven't found an Indian black tea that I've loved, I found myself pouring most of my gift for guests; guests, as a people, generally want black tea and don't care where it's from. And so I guilty found myself ignoring my last sack of tea. It said "Darjeeling" and the bag was black, so I assumed its contents were as well.
Oops! As luck would have it, my mistake was pointed out by Dave, the one guest who doesn't
want black tea. Turned out I had a white tea, and it was not only Organic Makaibari Silver Tips but Organic Makaibari Silver Tips Imperial. The Imperial is apparently only picked when conditions are right and under "full moon beams."
I haven't toyed with temperature and brewing time enough to fully report on OMSTI, but so far it's been fun. A short brew made with not very hot water (my system: I use the extra water Elise boils for coffee once enough time has passed for me to think "maybe I'll have some tea," at which point it's somewhere between the temperature for oolong and for ice) that I'm drinking right now is predominantly tannic, also grassy, and not quite roasty but... let's call it toasty. Why I have no idea, since white tea is not roasted. This batch must have grown next to a shrub that was struck by lightning.
A longer brew of leaves on their third or fourth steep produced a viscous cup with notes of citrus peel and a sort of off-fruitiness that I can't quite place. Call it resin. Again, I need more time to figure this one out but will keep you posted.
Seth and Maggie: sorry it took so long. But look at it this way -- now you gave me an aged white tea!