5. June 2017

White Tea

White Tea Part 1 —— White Tea – Yunnan Yinsheng Tea

White tea 白茶 [bái chá] is a kind of very light fermented tea, the special tea kind of the six big Chinese tea kinds, which are white, yellow, green, oolong, black and dark teas. After a harvesting, fresh leaves need to withering, dry in the sun or dry with a gentle heat, unlike other tea processes, white tea leaves is lack of rolling processes. The good manufactured white teas are mainly buds with white hair as snow or silver, white teas in China are always used as herbal medicines.

The processing techniques are mainly two steps: withering and drying, the most important one is withering, which includes indoor or/and outdoor sun withering. White tea could only dry with gentle heat at a low temperature till the water content reaching 4-5%, so these processing techniques would not destroy enzyme activities, and not promote oxidations, in order to keep the original hair fragrances and fresh tastes. Recently, new white tea processing techniques also add a light rolling procedure to make the dry tea shapes more regular, for example, Bai Mu Dan dry tea leaves are more like a White Peony.

White Tea of the Yunnan Province is famous of high and pure fragrances, Yinsheng Tea 银生茶 is considered to be the best white tea in the Yunnan province, only tender shoots are harvested from Pu’er tea trees in earlier springs – before the Qing Ming festival. The name of Yinsheng, it comes from the ancient name of Pu’er tea in the Tang Daynasty, which had been earliest cultivated in Wuliang 无量 and Ailao 哀牢 mountian areas. The Tang government official, Fan Chuo had wrriten Yinsheng Tea in his book <Man Shi 蛮史 – Barbarian History>. In general, white tea could be perserved for many years (5,10 and 15 years).


White Tea Part 2 —— Ya Bao Tea

Ya Bao 芽孢 [yá bāo] tea is from pure Pu’er buds, which is only harvested once a year at the begining of spring, so its yield is precious little. Different from other Pu’er teas, Ya Bao Tea has a green grass and nectar fragrance and a fresh, sweet and sour flavor. Its soups from first steps are clear like water, but its strong fragrances and flavors show, especially in purple Ya Bao and wild Ya Bao. It’s good to drink fresh on its own or with some other sheng Pu’er tea.


White Tea Part 3 —— Moonlight White Tea

Moonlight white 月光白 [yuè guāng bái] is white tea from Simao areas in Yunnan province and famous of its mystic  process, plucking leaves under bright moonlight and processing without any sunlight on. Because of black blade upper surface and white back, one white hair bud with two black blades as a whole look like a crescent moon in a dark night.


White Tea Part 4 —— Hubei White Tea

The white tea of the Hubei Province is a valuable and rare variety of tea trees, which has been transplanted from the Anji White Tea 安吉白茶 [ān jí] variety of the Zhejiang Province to Hubei Enshi and Wudang areas. According to its processing procedures including frying and rolling, Hubei/ Anji white tea should be considered strictly as a kind of green tea, only because this variant’s new sprouting leaves are jade white, we call it white tea. Like other green tea processes, after withering, Hubei/Anji white tea leaves (1 shoot and 1 leaf ) should be fried, gently dried and then frozen at 0- 5℃ to keep the jade color.

In 1930, tens of wild white tea trees were found in Xiaofeng Town, Anji , Zhejiang province, and the Anji county annals recorded, that new sprouts were white like jade, which turned to yellow after drying and were produced by the local Jinguang temple. After that time, these trees can not be traced, until a hundred year old white tea has be noticed at the 800 meter high Tianhuangping Town, local people call it Da Xi white tea. In 1980s, this valuable tea variety has been protected by the goverment scientific research personnel and succeeded in the asexual reproduction.

In springs, new sprouts and tender leaves’s colors are changing with the temperature, from bright yellow to jade white, and the leaf veins are emerald green, looking like a blossoming of Yulan magnolia. This phase is called the Flourishing white stage, one sprout and two leaves are the right shape to be harvest, after this phase, mature leaves turn to pea green, and new sprouts in summers and autumns are light green. Recent years researches show that, Anji white tea is a stable  temperature-sensitive mutant from genetic mutations.

Dry tea is emerald green with light yellow color, wet fragrances are like grass and bean, tastes are sweet and fresh without any bitterness. Hubei/Anji white tea‘s amino acid content is the double of other green teas, a low content of tea polyphenols makes it taste less bitter than other green teas. Wet leaves are extreme beautiful, jade white and lightly transparent blades with green leaf veins.


White Tea Part 5 —— Fu Ding White Tea

Fu Ding white tea 福鼎白茶 [fú dǐng] is original from Mont. Tai Lao in Fujian province,  jade white 1 shoot and 1 leaf are harvested in springs and then  should be withered naturally or in temperature controlled ovens, dried, and then put into freezers for 3 hours at 1-5℃. This tea variety, Dabai tea tree is also known to produce Bai Mu Dan – White Peony 白牡丹 [bái mǔ dan] tea, which is famous of its dry tea appearance, a green leaf is wrapped a white hair covered shoot like a white peony bud.

Fat shoots from this variety are produced Bai Hao Yin Zhen tea – White Hair Silver Needle 白毫银针 [bái háo yín zhēn],

寿眉 (贡眉 Photo) [shòu méi (gòng méi)] is from another variety Cai Cha in Fujian province.

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