White teas are made from leaves cut in early and late spring. The entire harvest of the leaves ends in the month of May.
Fujian China is the true white tea house. This mountainous province produces an incomparable supply of teas, it is almost the only one that produces 4 of the 6 varieties of teas. The aroma of authentic Chinese white tea is delicate. The leaves should be covered with white hairs, be long and thin. The buds should be matte in color and the best ones have green touches. White teas do not twist or roll because this is appropriate for the green tea process. This tea is air-dried or oven-dried to make it light and bulky. Both white teas that we have at Academia Barista Pro are sourced from China. By its process, the leaves can have dark green, light green, gray green, and honey colors. The leaves should not be just one color.
This is a tea that should not be prepared with water at very high temperatures. You should treat it like a green tea and not like an Oolong or black tea, two processes that resist very hot water. In order to enjoy a white tea as it is, you must weigh your leaves, this is one of the teas with the highest volume and you will not be able to enjoy it well if you measure it by tablespoons.
As is true with native tea classes (which are specifically produced in one place in the world), the process of a traditional tea cannot be replicated so easily anywhere. Authentic white tea requires perfect terrior and the skills inherited from tea workers to give it that particular consistency and flavor.
Now you can find white teas from other Chinese regions like Anhui, Yunnan; also in India like in Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri, where they also produce their version of the silver tip tea. Some of these are exquisite in appearance and workmanship, but their taste does not match the cup compared to one from Fujian, China. White teas produced outside of China are produced primarily to meet and supply a high demand by tea companies and their need to buy cheap leaves, for blends and to prepare ready-made bottled teas.
Authentic white tea is strictly produced in three places, northeast of Fujian province, China: Fuding, Jianyang and Zhenghe. Although white tea is prepared with many tea bushes, only 5 are the traditional bushes to prepare white tea. The leaves are large and produce large buds that keep hairs fine until after being processed.
These cultivars are:
Fuding Da Bai (Fuding Big White)
Fuding Da Hao (Funding Great Young)
Zhenghe Da Bai (Zhenghe Big White)
Zhenghe Da Hao (Zhenghe Great Scion)
Xiao Bai (Small White)