White tea is a unique and rare tea originally from China. It boasts many health benefits and is highly sought after in China ue to the developments in tea research, the production of white tea has expanded globally. According to the standards regarding the variety and fresh leaves used during production, white tea has been divided into bud tea (e.g. Silver Needle/Bai Hao Yin Zhen) and leaf tea (such as White Peony/Bai Mu Dan, Tribute Eyebrow/Gongmei and Longevity Eyebrow/Shoumei). The more famous varieties of white tea are undoubtedly the Silver Needle and White Peony.
Silver needle/Bai Hao Yin Zhen
Considered the best of all white teas, it originates from northern Fujian’s Taimu mountain. It consists of only buds with silver furry hairs, hence the name Silver Needle. This tea is picked only once per year, within a period of around eight days during the Qingming festival. The buds are required to be hand-picked while the temperature is warm and there is little humidity in the air. The best grades come from tea gardens located high up in the mountains. Its unique appearance makes the Silver Needle one of the most beautiful among many other tea varieties. Silver needle has a refreshing fragrance with pale yellow colored liquor and a sweet, smooth taste. Also considered to be the healthiest of all teas, its popularity has increased over the years and tea lovers around the world are searching for the best quality tea. The Fuding Silver Needle in our 2016 selection comes directly from the tea gardens, and straight to your tea cups. Certified organic, its high quality is guaranteed by our frequent visits to the white tea fields and factories over there.
White Peony/Bai Mudan
This tea comes from Zhenghe county, located between Fuding and the Wuyi mountains in northern Fujian. This tea is generally considered to be second best after the Silver Needle, but the best quality White Peony can also compete with the best Silver Needle. The processed leaves have a beautiful shape that resembles withered peony petals, probably one of the reasons it has been given such an elegant name. The harvesting method of this tea consists of one bud and two leaves from the Shuixian type tea trees. Because the bud has many silver hairs like the Silver Needle, some people tend to think that this tea is combined with the Silver Needle during production. The white peony tea that we offer in our 2016 selection has been certified organic. After brewing, its green leaves stay attached to the tender buds. It has a smooth, sweet, refreshing flavor with a nutty aftertaste. It is truly a high-grade white tea.
The white teas which are produced from the common shrub tea in Fujian tea area using big white tea leaves are commonly called “Gongcha” and “Meicha”, with the quality of Gongcha regarded as better than that of the Meicha.
An average quality white tea which cannot compare with the other white teas like the Silver Needle and the White Peony. No buds are chosen and only leaves are picked after the harvest seasons of the Silver Needle and the White Peony in Fujian. The color of this tea is often darker, like partly oxidized tea, giving it a stronger flavor and fragrance compared to the other white teas. It yields a flowery aroma with a hint of nuttiness. Loose, disorganized tea leaves makes the tea leaves appear less than beautiful. Usually, Gongmei tea is referred to as higher grade than Shoumei. The relatively low selling price of the Shoumei leads to it being used as a base for mixed teas. But does this make the Shoumei the lowest quality white tea? Tea Adventure offers an organic Shoumei white tea in our 2016 selection.
Aside from the three varieties above that are offered in Tea Adventure’s selection, there are three more being produced in China. The Gongmei, already mentioned, is a variation of the Shoumei, it is considered the most productive variety of white tea, taking up more than half of the total white tea production. The tea is mainly produced in Jianyang County in Fujian Province. During harvesting, tender buds and strong buds are picked together with the leaves. The finished product of superior Gongmei also has a bit of silver hair on its underside. The dried tea leaves are green in color. After brewing, it yields a deep orangey yellow or deep yellow color. It resembles the Shoumei, but is generally considered to be of a higher quality than it.
A white tea that is also produced from the big leaf variety trees. This tea is produced using the leaves picked from wild tea trees that are grown in southwest Yunnan. The big leaf white tea cake is also made using the same leaves. This tea has a rich taste that is quite similar to that of a high quality White Peony.
Not so famous, but a rather delightful white tea. Like the White Peony, the Green Snowbud is picked with both leaves and buds. The brewed liquor tastes smooth, containing mild flavours closer to that of the Silver Needle.