Yue Guang Bai, also known as White Moonlight, is a type of white tea that hails from Yunnan Province in China. It has a similar taste profile to Yunnan Silver Needle, but is more robust and reminiscent of a young pu-erh. The name White Moonlight likely comes from the appearance of the dried leaves, which have a silver-white and black coloration.
Production Methods and Classification
Yue Guang Bai is sometimes classified as a pu-erh due to the production methods used, but it is still essentially a white tea, especially since it is left loose. If the tea was pressed into bricks, it would be more accurately called a pu-erh. Yue Guang Bai is made from leaves plucked from the same Yunnan trees used for producing pu-erh teas. The tea undergoes a processing method that is similar to young Sheng Cha (raw) pu-erh. Young and tender leaf shoots are hand plucked, with the buds and leaves kept intact. They are then withered, pan fried, and sun-dried. The presence of enzymes in the tea leaves causes slight oxidation during sun-drying, making it closer to a Mao Cha, the loose-leaf form of young Sheng Cha Pu-erh.
Taste and Brewing
This batch of Yue Guang Bai was plucked in mid-spring 2021 and has a mixture of silver buds and larger black-colored leaves. It has a bolder taste profile than Yunnan Silver Needle, owing to the use of not just the buds, but the one or two leaves next to the bud. The tea has well-balanced sweet and woody notes, with hints of fruity and floral flavors, reminiscent of cherry blossom.
To brew Yue Guang Bai, it is best to use water at 80°C for 2-4 minutes, adjusting the time and temperature to taste with subsequent brews. As with all white teas, experimenting with lower temperature and longer steeping time is also an option. Yue Guang Bai is a versatile tea that can be brewed multiple times, with each brew revealing different nuances of flavor.