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Jan 02

Guest Post: White tea: Perfect for that special holiday-period gift

Some of the biggest holidays of the year are upon us. The Christian celebration “Christmas” arrives in December as well as various New Year’s celebrations in January. Both events are celebrated in gala fashion and gifts often are exchanged.

Some of the gift-giving is simple, unornamented, and traditional. In this category falls the sincere salutation, the agreeable and enduring expression of friendship–and maybe a home-baked fruitcake but only if the receiver of it is known to actually like the delicacy!

Other gifts are more elaborate and tea can fall into this category.

Of, course tea is an everyday gift. It is not grown and processed to be stored till Dec. 24 or some other moment when a region of the world wants to celebrate something. Such occasions are too scattered to be reserved for tea gifts. After all, one doesn’t reserve air or water till such time as one feels moved to give it to a person needing it, right? Tea is a staple of life and staples are for daily giving.

Still, there are special moments when a special gift is appropriate and tea can be such a gift. White tea is a fine example.

This tea is a delicacy, even by tea standards, because its production is relatively rare and in limited quantities. It is estimated that 100,000 shoots are harvested from tea bushes for every kilogram of white tea produced. In other words, the harvesters are not only careful in their plucking, they are picky. A leaf that is perfectly fine for a green or black tea often is less than suitable for a white tea.

As has been noted by many historians of China, such perfection can become obsessive and, indeed, became such to Emperor Hui Zong, who reigned in the early 1100s. The emperor got so caught up in finding the supreme white tea that he neglected more important matters of his kingdom such as defending it against enemies within and without. His reign ended unhappily–though he might have been enjoying a fine white tea as he watched his power slip away.

Pu Gui White Tea is a wonderful example of the marvelous drink, a tea that is offered by Wild & Bare Co. This tea is harvested in the spring in Guizhou Province, with one tiny needle bud plucked at a time from the bush. Not just any tiny needle bud, of course, but the best of the best. It and other select leaves are lightly processed in the sun.

When they are finally infused by a drinker, they produce a pale yellow soup (with a hint of tantalizing pinkness) from which the aroma of roasted chestnut rises to the drinker’s nose. The wonderful taste and aroma of Pu Gui White Tea make for an exquisite gift, especially when the tea is richly boxed in black and gold. It is a gift truly fit for an emperor — and how Hui Zong would have loved to receive it!

As the holidays at year’s end begin to dominate the calendar and finding special gifts for special people becomes a frantic objective, don’t forget white tea. Indeed, it is unforgettable.

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