What is Shou Mei White Tea?
Cultivated in the Fujian and Guangxi Provinces of China, Shou Mei White tea translates to “Longevity Eyebrow”, thanks to its crescent-shaped leaves that resemble eyebrows.
Shou Mei is considered the lowest grade of white tea, as it uses mostly leaves, along with a more mature bud from a later harvest, giving it a lower caffeine content, stronger taste and darker brew color.
How do you pronounce Shou Mei?
The proper way to pronounce Shou Mei is “shoe my”.
What do you need to make Shou Mei white tea?
Using loose tea leaves really will give you the best tea-drinking experience. By letting loose leaves steep in the boiled water, they have room to unfurl and release all of their natural aromas.
How do you make Shou Mei White tea properly?
To make the perfect cup of Shou Mei tea, you will want to use 1.5 teaspoons of tea leaves for each 8-ounce cup. If you don’t have loose-leaf tea, use 1 tea sachet or 1 tea bag.
Tea tip: if you want a stronger flavor, add more tea leaves rather than steeping them for a longer period of time. Most people don’t realize this, but steeping tea too long doesn’t increase the good flavors, it actually can make it more bitter.
Step 1: Pour your water into the tea kettle.
Use cold bottled spring water or cold filtered water. (Tea Tip: Do not use distilled water – this will negatively impact the taste). Make sure to pour some extra water to warm up your teapot or steeping vessel.
Step 2: Boil your water.
For an optimal flavor experience, bring the water to about 175°F. It is important to avoid brewing with boiling water, as the high water temperature can scorch the leaves, making them bitter. If you do not have an electric tea kettle with a temperature setting, just bring your kettle to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and let the water sit for a couple of minutes before steeping the tea.
Step 3: Warm up your teapot.
First, pour a bit of your boiled water into your teapot or steeping vessel and swirl it around for a few seconds to allow it to warm the vessel. Then you can discard this water in the sink.
Step 4: Put your Shou Mei White tea leaves into the teapot and add the rest of your hot water and then cover the pot.
Step 5: Steep your tea leaves for 2 to 4 minutes.
Step 6: Strain your tea leaves.
This is easiest if you have a teapot with a strainer.
Step 7: Decant your infused tea into your teacup, add sweeteners to taste, and enjoy!
For a more authentic tea experience, you can also brew Shou Mei tea “gongfu style”, which uses more tea leaves, a much shorter steep time, and a Gaiwan. The Gaiwan is a small traditional Chinese brewing vessel made of either porcelain or glass. Its use dates back to the Ming Dynasty and its name literally means “lid and bowl”.
What does Shou Mei White tea taste like?
Shou Mei (Longevity Eyebrow) features a strong flavor, quite similar to that of a light Oolong tea. Its taste is deeper than the other White tea varieties, with a bold fruity taste and some floral notes.
How much caffeine is in Shou Mei White tea?
The exact amount of caffeine in a cup of Shou Mei White tea varies depending on different factors such as the age of the leaves and steep times. In fact, white teas can range from 6 to 75 mg of caffeine depending on the exact type of white tea, as well as the brewing method used.
Overall, white tea has much less caffeine than most black teas as well as coffee. In fact, white tea, on average, has about 40% less caffeine than a cup of Joe.
Since Longevity Eyebrow tea is made with mostly leaves with the occasional mature bud, it has the lowest caffeine content of the common White tea varieties.
What are some health benefits of drinking Shou Mei White tea?
Shou Mei White tea has many health benefits including antioxidants, heart health, cholesterol control, blood sugar control, digestion aid, and oral health.
For a full summary, check out our post on the health benefits and possible side effects of White tea.
What is the best way to store Shou Mei White tea?
When it comes to storing Shou Mei tea, there are a few important things you will want to avoid. These are air exposure, light exposure, moisture, heat, and strong odors.
In order to keep your Longevity Eyebrow white tea in its best and freshest condition, you will want to store it in a container that helps avoid the above-mentioned threats.
The best containers are made of opaque materials with a tight seal. Some good options include non-reactive metals, glazed ceramics, and non-leaching plastics. Beware that while you may see wood tea storage options, they are not best for storing loose-leaf tea, as they can have their own odors that can alter the taste of your tea.
Once you have your tea in its storage container, keep it in a cool, dark place.
You want to ensure your tea stays fresh as long as possible. To make sure you’re not making any common mistakes, be sure to check out our post on the best practices in tea storage!