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.
- 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.
- Slight smoke, gentle astringency and savory sweet taste. Very smooth texture. Just a hint of aged taste.
- Deep gold color, slightly brassy tone. Some bright / sharp notes emerge; continuing gentle astringency and smoothness.
- Accidentally pushed to 30-45 secs. Brassy orange liquor. Drawn out some sharp bitterness.
- Flavor is similar, slightly aged savory sweet notes.
- Bitterness gone due to a shorter steep. Return to smoothness, gentle savory sweet.
- Gentle astringency, savory sweetness lightens to bring a more juicy Yiwu body.
- 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.
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.
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.