White2tea 2016 Diving Duck – Weekend Review

White2tea has started rolling out their spring selections for the year, so I decided to stick with one of their teas for this week’s Weekend Review. I’m going to refrain from ordering any new stuff for a few weeks due to the current shipping woes between China and the US, so please don’t buy everything up before I get a chance. I assume shipping between the countries will resume shortly since the US has opted for a non-intervention approach to the virus. Stay safe out there.

This week, I drank White2tea’s 2016 Diving Duck. I bought this tea last year and it’s been sitting in the top my pumidor as a part of my daily rotation. This tea is a chuggable drinker, the Coors Banquet of sheng. Its gentle Yiwu character and smooth texture make it a great candidate for sharing with friends who may be new to sheng or for a long session where you don’t want to get overwhelmed. I brewed this tea with boiling water and short steeps – except when I forgot to pour off at steep 4.

Edge-of-the-cake material.

Steeping notes

Steep 1 liquor.
  1. Gaiwan lid aroma is savory-sweet with slight smokiness. Soft, slightly savory taste. Empty pitcher gives a strong sweet fresh aroma. Medium thickness and smooth texture. No bitterness but some gentle astringency.
  2. Slight smoke, gentle astringency and savory sweet taste. Very smooth texture. Just a hint of aged taste.
  3. Deep gold color, slightly brassy tone. Some bright / sharp notes emerge; continuing gentle astringency and smoothness. 
  4. Accidentally pushed to 30-45 secs. Brassy orange liquor. Drawn out some sharp bitterness. 
  5. Flavor is similar, slightly aged savory sweet notes. 
  6. Bitterness gone due to a shorter steep. Return to smoothness, gentle savory sweet.
  7. Gentle astringency, savory sweetness lightens to bring a more juicy Yiwu body.
  8. Freshly boiled water. Return of savory notes, still very smooth. Texture thinning a bit. Stopping here. Feeling strong caffeine energy and getting hungry. This tea can go longer if you don’t push it or overbrew.
Steep 4 (overdid it).

Diving Duck responds faithfully to your brewing style. If you are gentle with it, it stays consistently smooth with no bitterness. If you start scrolling Instagram (please follow @the.kettle), you’ll be rewarded with a punch of bitterness. I grab this tea when I want something straightforward that doesn’t require a ton of attention to appreciate.

Spent leaves.

This tea is still available at white2tea.com for $43 per 200g cake (21.5 cents per gram). I think this is a good deal for a tea with such consistency and smooth texture, though there may be more interesting cakes out there for the price. I expect further aging will just keep the smooth train rolling to new territories.

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