Friday, April 18, 2008

Rishi's Moonlight White vs White Peony

I have long been curious about the differences and similarities of these two teas, and though I have had them both frequently in the past, I thought a side by side comparison would be a fun learning experience.

The number one difference is price. The White Peony is only $4 an ounce vs the Moonlight White's ridiculously high, in my opinion, $22 an ounce. The Fair Trade Certification can account for some of the price difference, but I would be curious to know how much of the price increase makes it back to Yunnan.

The prices for the retail tins are more comparable, both about $7, but the Moonlight white is only .6 oz vs 1.1 oz of the other. While you may pay the same, you will get twice as much with the White Peony.

The next noticeable difference is the leaves. The Moonlight White is comprised of large, whole leaves:

While the White Peony is more bits and pieces.

After that, the only real difference is that the White Peony is Fujian and the Moonlight White is from Yunnan.

The Moonlight White has a cleaner, less complex aroma and yields a more delicate. lighter brew that will share many flavor nuances of other Yunnan teas. Quite simply it tastes like it comes from Yunnan. If you prefer dian hong as I do, I think it is likely you will enjoy this tea.

The White Peony has a thicker bouquet and mouth feel and an over all stronger flavor, the latter I think can be attributed to the smaller, broken leaves. Smaller leaves equal more surface area equals a stronger cup. It shares similarities with other Fujian bai cha.

Both teas are equally sweet and better when consumed hot. I noticed that as the tea cooled, some of the flavor diminished.

Which of the two a person will prefer depends on two factors. 1) How much money does that person care to spend, and 2) which province do they prefer, Fujian or Yunnan.

I am partial to the Moonlight White as long as I can buy it in a retail tin and can avoid the online price. My preference for Fair Trade aside, I have always loved teas from Yunnan, and as little as I drink white tea, I don't mind paying a little more for it.

And after all, bai mu dan can become fairly common, so a white tea with refreshing characteristics is a nice change of pace. The only real question is, are you willing to pay the extra money for it?

A note on brewing: if you haven't tried gong fu-ing your white tea, I recommend giving it a try.


Anonymous said...

Great comparison of these two teas. I like white tea, however, I have never enjoy either of these brands.

Anonymous said...

i saw your pictures and i thought about Tavalon teas which uses only high-quality whole-leafs, thanks to the tea sommelier !
you should check his blog, , i think he deserves to be in your list of "cool kids" who loves tea.

Anonymous said...

awesome article! i am a huge fan of white tea.