The most buzzed tea today in China and abroad, came to awareness only in the current century. Despite its seemingly simple production, which includes stages of drying under different environmental conditions, real white tea is considered a meticulous and complex craft that hardly depends on the equipment. Chinese white tea originates in Fuding, a mountainous area at the north-eastern tip of Fujian Province, but many equally interesting versions of white tea can be found in Yunnan and other tea provinces of China. The history of white tea is slowly beginning to be explored and clarified, but it is still difficult to pinpoint when exactly the local tea in fuding began to take shape as we know it today.
With the demand comes the supply, and today white tea in China suffers from both high price tags, especially in the famous growing areas, and "over-plucking", a common issue with any trendy tea (or growing area) the Western market lays eyes on. The tea plant, camellia sinensis, grows leaves quickly and theoretically available for picking several times a year. However, you won't be able to reach high qualities of tea if you pluck leaves from the same tree too often. The highest quality Chinese tea is to be picked as little as possible, ideally once a year, in order to keep the tea trees in a good condition. Deciding between quantity and quality is the dilemma of every tea grower in China, and its implications can be far-reaching, which is why the ability to accurately and reliably classify the value of such a popular tea is quite challenging.
Similar to pu'er tea, authentic white tea in most cases will improve over time, in terms of taste and value. Compared to young white tea, aged white tea is characterized by darker and drier leaves, dark gold to red colored liquor and a fuller body tea with longer and sweeter aftertaste. On the other hand, the tea will gradually lose the lightness and grassy notes that young white tea features. The improvement procedure is a result of slow fermentation the tea leaves are undergone, and there is great importance not only to the storage conditions but also to the product's finish. The recommended form for storing white tea is by compressing the leaves into a cake, brick etc, which is also borrowed from the pu'er world, an ancient technic since Jin Dynasty.
Our white tea
Due to high demand and price tag, purchasing white tea in China is a complex matter. Serious growers will usually not let their supply to leave the factory before being aged for at least 3-6 months, which is the most critical in white tea sorting. Sometimes you won't be able to agree on a final price before this period of time has passed. Therefore, the classification and business procedure can take a long period of time, depending on the experience and expertise of the buyers. In order to ensure the finest quality white tea and higher value for money, we tend to purchase our white tea in rare collaboration with our tea suppliers who are experienced traders, and often store the products for one to two years before selling them.