Blog 47: Is Golden Peony Related to White Peony?

Updated: Oct 19, 2018

At the peak of summer, most varieties of Wuyi oolong are roasted and cooled-down, and they start to appear on the market one after another. To some tea lovers, this can be a confusing time. The naming of tea does not follow a particular pattern or rule. Sometimes, a oolong tea can be mistakenly identified as a other teas because the similarity of their names. For examples, Golden Peony, a Wuyi oolong, is often considered as a white tea by inexperienced tea drinkers because there is a famous white tea called White Peony. However, as you might have guessed from the title of this blog, Golden Peony and White Peony are two totally unrelated teas. Today, let’s talk about Golden Peony and White Peony.


Golden Peony

White Peony

First of all, either Golden Peony or White Peony has anything to do with peony flowers. Despite both teas have “Peony” in their names, they are not even remotely related. Both “peonies” are different from every possible way. They come from different tea plants, and they have different harvest time, tea-making process and tastes. This is like two people can have the same name, but we cannot simply assume they’re relatives based on just names.


Golden Peony is not originally from the Wuyi mountains, which is in northern Fujian. It’s real hometown is in southern Fujian. Unlike Rou Gui and Shui Xian, Golden Peony is actually a grafting breed with inputs from Tie Guan Yin plant(female parent) and Huang Yan plant(male parent). The crossbreeding of Golden Peony took 24 years (1978-2002). Because its noble background, Golden Peony inherited the sweet and long-lasting aroma from its prominent parents. After the successful crossbreeding, Golden Peony was introduced to the Wuyi mountains. Growing in the Wuyi mountains, Golden Peony acquired the same characteristics found in other Wuyi oolongs. It’s also processed as a Wuyi oolong. Therefore, Golden Peony becomes a true member of the Wuyi oolong family.


White Peony, however, is a white tea and its fresh leaves grow on “big white tea plants” (Chinese: 大白茶树, pronounced: Dà Bái Chá Shù). White tea has different grades, and White Peony is ranked just after Silver Needle. White Peony’s big white tea plant is originally from Mount Tai Mu. Its origin was first recorded by Dong Fang Shuo(东方朔) during the era of Emperor Wu of Han (Chinese: 汉武帝时期, 141-87 BC).


Now, we believe you already understand that Golden Peony is a oolong tea, and White Peony is a White tea. One grows in the Wuyi mountains, and the other one grows in high elevation mountainous areas in Fuding. Golden Peony is harvested in late April and White Peony is harvested in March.


We understand that the random naming of teas can be confusing. However, because of the confusion, the moment of realization becomes more precious. This precious moment is reflected in our logo (see our logo explanation blog here). We hope this blog can be a resource and destination where you can find answers to your questions about tea.


We hope you enjoyed today’s blog. As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please leave a comment, tweet us @valleybrooktea or email the author directly at zhang@valleybrooktea.com. Please also follow us on Instagram @valleybrooktea and join our mail list to get our daily tea updates and our latest promotions!