WHITE MONKEY PAW
Should there ever be an official hall of fame for the world's top teas, this specialty certainly would belong in the upper category. It was originally grown in Fujin at such high altitudes that monkeys were trained to pluck the leaves. Today, this is done by people during a period of several days. The rough, slightly fluffy leaf makes a light green infusion and a mild cup. Slight nuances of honey characterize this fascinating tea. A must for every lover of green tea.
Country of Origin: China
Region: Fujian Province, Wuyi Mountains
Grade: Handmade special white tea
Altitude: 2500 - 5000 feet above sea level
Cup Characteristics: Velvety smooth with very delicate but intense full green tea flavor.
Infusion: Pale Green
Ingredients: Luxury white tea
White Monkey Paw is made from the top two leaves and the bud of new season growth (late March /early April). These delicate leaves are gently and gingerly steamed and dried so the end result is an exquisite hand made green tea. You will see that the leaves still have the ‘hairy down’ on them, which indicates that these leaves were plucked very early in the morning and within the first two weeks of the new season of growth. When you infuse these teas you will witness the delicate two leaves and a bud uncurl in your cup almost coming back to life! The dry leaf appearance of these teas is tending white and said to resemble a monkey paw. Even though this is a green tea, the visual appearance and cup liquor is so delicate that it can also be almost considered a white tea.
The most famous Chinese description of the joys of drinking tea is by Lu Tong, a Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-907) poet:
The first cup caresses my dry lips and throat;
The second shatters the walls of my lonely sadness,
The third searches the dry rivulets of my soul to find the stories of five thousand scrolls,
With the fourth the pain of past injustice vanishes through my pores.
The fifth purifies my flesh and bone.
With the sixth I am in touch with the immortals.
The seventh gives such great pleasure I can hardly bear.
The fresh wind blows through my wings
As I make my way to Penglai. My Penglai, off the coast of Shandong province, was the traditional home of the immortals.
Perhaps drinking and experiencing White Monkey Paw will also give you the inspiration to write an epic poem. To begin to journey to being the poet laureate of tea:
When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times (or even 7 times if you are attempting to reach My Penglai). The secret is to use water that is about 180°F or about 90°C. Take 7-10 leaves (which is about a large pinch of tea - using your forefinger and thumb) and let them steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look at the pattern of the leaves in the brew - they foretell life.
DUN DUN DUN And now for " the story of the Monkeys Paw"