aged white #teas
A brief introduction and background on aged white teas (vs. fresh white teas such as the White Peony White Tea Tranquil Tuesdays offers).
This is in response to a question from a customer at a recent tea tasting. When I was just in Fuding, Fujian, the historical origin and current leader of white tea production in China and the world, I asked our white tea producers (a local family from Fuding, Fujian)what they knew about aged white teas and this is what they told me:
- aged white teas were and are commonly used by local villagers in the Fuding area as folk traditional medicine to treat fevers and sore throats.
- of the three main types of white tea traditionally produced in Fuding (Silver Needle 白毫银针, White Peony, and Shou Mei 寿眉) normally people age 寿眉shou mei white tea (though I have also tried aged Silver Needle).
- Traditional Chinese Medicine pharmacies still sometimes prescribe aged white teas for medicinal purposes (and an aged white tea does taste very medicinal and quite different from the fresh, delicate, and sweet taste of fresh white teas).
- Aged white teas and fresh white teas also look very difference in both leaf appearance and liquor color. Aged white teas leaves are noticeably with darker brown and red colors and the liquor is a deep auburn burnt sienna. See a photo of the contrast in liquor on Tranquil Tuesday’s Flickr here (the darker liquors are the aged teas).
- If you are aging a white tea, you need to store it properly, and it is common to re-fire the tea once a year.
- Teas shouldn’t be arbitrarily aged: only teas intended for aging (which the tea master took into account while processing) will age well. So this is like how some wines are meant to be aged while some are not and the winemaker will take that into account while making the wine.
- The overwhelming majority of white tea consumption is still fresh (within a year of picking) and while aged white teas roots are in folk medicinal uses there are niche groups of people who enjoy the taste of aged white teas.
Discover more photos from Tranquil Tuesdays’ trip to Fuding, Fujian for the Spring 2012 Harvest on Flickr or purchase our fresh White Peony White Tea from our online store.
- Explore the stories behind each of Tranquil Tuesdays teas and teaware
- Travel with Tranquil Tuesdays seeking the best teas and teaware in China
- Learn the historical and cultural elements that make Chinese tea and teaware so unique