When we released Jade Star Aged White tea cake in 2015 we thought that it was a bit of a gamble. I loved the tea for its rich, nutty taste and crazy high sensation but I was not sure if you Teaheads would share my passion. Within a few months of release I released that you Teaheads were loving this cake - pictures and excited reviews started doing the rounds on Instagram, forums and other platforms and we immediately began hunting for Jade Star II.
At the end of 2015 we started contacting all of our White tea producers to find out if they had any aged White teas like Jade Star. We tasted probably over 30 different samples but none of them came close to Jade Star. This is because of a number of reasons. The first is that aged White tea is a relatively new style and there is very little stock produced before 2012. The second reason is that if there was any older tea, it was often not stored properly for ageing (there is a difference between aged tea and old tea). Another issue that we had was that we were specifically searching for a blend of Bai Mu Dan and Shou Mei white tea - most producers had solely Shou Mei or super expensive (and not worth the price) aged Yin Zhen (buds without leaves).
We continued our search through the whole of 2016 and tasted many samples without any success.
By Spring 2017 we were getting tired of hunting and were running out of ideas. We were receiving emails from Teaheads around the world asking us when they would be tasting another Aged White tea and we could sense the growing frustration that we had nothing to offer. So, we went to Fujian to go hunting. On our last day in Fujian we were in Xiamen, a little fed up because we had not found anything. We went to a recommended shop in the city to taste their tea, knowing full well that it would be very unlikely that we would purchase anything since this was an expensive place and would be charging us retail prices.
During our tasting session we sampled a delicious 2009 blend of Shou Mei and Mu Dan and we fell in love with it - so much so that I began to ask prices. We were met with a simple 'no we are not selling this tea'! Clearly the shopkeeper understood the rarity of this tea and was holding on to it for a bigger payday in a few years. We left frustrated and I went for a meeting with other producers but I could not get that 2009 tea out of my head and so I began asking around to find out who supplied that shop with tea.
Through sheer providence, we found someone who drove us to a lock up apartment where we discovered a small batch of Aged 2009 Bai Mu Dan and Shou Mei. I am not sure if it was the same tea as in the shop, but with one taste we bought up the entire batch. The search for Jade Star II was over and I allowed myself a pat on the back and a breather before the search for Jade Star III begins!