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2024 Overview: Our Yunnan White Tea Quality, Process, and Weather Insights

[2024.05.13] Posted By

One of the teas we’ve been focusing on in Yunnan Province is white tea. Historically white tea has been produced in both Fujian Province and Yunnan Province for a long time.

While white tea from Fujian Province is well-managed during processing, we are dissatisfied with the quality of the raw materials due to the use of fertilizers in conventional farming practices, resulting in a lack of aftertaste and flavor. Therefore, since around 2016, we’ve been making efforts to produce white tea in Yunnan Province.

Although white tea from Yunnan Province has high-quality raw materials, processing management has been challenging, often resulting in tea that resembles dried ear mushrooms.

However, through years of experience, we’ve improved our production methods and facilities, and in recent years, we’ve been able to produce white tea with excellent flavor and color.

Especially this year, the weather has been favorable throughout the entire production period of white tea, and we believe we’ve achieved very satisfactory results.


Scenery from the Local Primary Processing Plant

Quality is crucial due to the simplicity of the tea processing.

Making white tea is pretty straightforward. It mainly involves letting the tea leaves wither and dry. Unlike oolong or black tea, which undergo a lot of fermentation, white tea only goes through a light fermentation process as it withers.

Since the process is simple, the quality of the material is very important. If the tea leaves aren’t top-notch, it can be tough to get that full, rich flavor. Even though it looks good, the taste might not live up to expectations.

We focus on tea from Yunnan Province for a few reasons: the high altitude of over 2000 meters, the abundance of old trees aged between 100 and 500 years, and the agricultural practice of pesticide-free and fertilizer-free cultivation. These conditions allow the tea to grow slowly, develop rich flavors and aromas, and create a lingering aftertaste.

A Unique Production Method Unseen Elsewhere in Yunnan Province

Making white tea might seem straightforward, but mastering the withering technique demands various skills and careful attention to detail. Without handling the tea leaves precisely, the resulting white tea may not meet expectations.

We’ve drawn on our extensive experience in white tea production in Yunnan Province to ensure the best conditions for withering. This includes setting up facilities at the main production site in the mountains under our guidance. Additionally, we provide comprehensive training to local farmers in process management to ensure consistent production.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Production Methods Without Any Artificial Heat

White tea production in Yunnan Province, unlike in Fujian Province where warm air is used, results in a delicate flavor profile. However, adverse weather conditions can significantly impact the final product. Continuous rain or high humidity can cause the disappearance of the top notes, known as “qingxiang” in Chinese, from white tea. To address this, we assign an ID to each tea garden and production day and conduct daily tastings of each batch to select only the finest lots.
We ensure to procure only the lots that meet our standards by paying higher prices than the standard selling price set by producers. Lots that are not selected are directed to other local tea buyers.

Maintaining Freshness Through Distribution Management

For white tea, once the tea passes the tasting test after production, it is immediately packaged in aluminum bags, sealed with a heat sealer, and exported promptly.

Previously, during the COVID-19 period, we relied entirely on producers to handle this process. However, this arrangement posed challenges, particularly during peak seasons when producers were overwhelmed with processing fresh tea leaves daily. Consequently, they could only pack the teas once the peak season subsided, resulting in shipping delays of over a month.
This year, we’ve taken on the packing process ourselves, we swiftly pack and ship the tea immediately after production. This proactive approach ensures quicker turnaround times, enabling us to deliver even fresher white tea than usual to our customers.

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