White Tea Sourcing Guide
by Daniel Hong
A map means a lot to an adventure, a map with direction leading sometimes is more valuable than a map with all details. Above map was made in 1963 by Zhang Tianfu, this map shows three most important white tea production areas: Fuding, Zheng He and Jian Yang.
Theoretically “white” is just about processing craft, all tea varieties can be made into White, but the quality is not the same, just like everyone claims they can sing, but that does not make them great singers!
Do you know who is the the №1 tea variety in China? It’s Fuding Da Bai. Who is №2? It’s Fuding Da Hao. You see how important of Fuding to white tea, so let’s dig from Fuding.
Fuding has many USDA/EU certified organic teas, many of them locate in Bailin Industrial Zone (tell your driver it’s in front of Bailin Tunnel), like Ba Min Tea Cardiff.
Other organic certified companies include (part):
- Silver Dragon Tea
- Southeast Tea
- Fu Fang Ming Tea
I suggest you landing Fuding as your first stop for white tea, there are 3 reasons to back my suggestion:
- Good quality: Fresh leaves material is very good, processing skills here is very good too
- Large output: The yield here is №1
- Trade practice: Factories here are familiar with international trade customs
When you’re in Fuding, except the downtown, there are 3 towns you can visit:
- Dian Tou town: The white tea trade market is here, you can buy & sell fresh leaves here, the varietal Fuding Da Bai originates here too
2. Pan Xi town: A lot of people think the best white tea comes from here, the noodles is excellent too
3. Guan Yang town: Many exporting companies put their tea bases here
4. Tai Mu Shan: A good place for sightseeing and hiking, Yu Shan island is so beautiful
Zheng He exported a lot to Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, its varietal Zheng He Da Bai is a very good plant for making white tea & black tea, but Fu An Da Bai beats it by output and long picking time, so the most widely planted varietal in Zheng He is Fu An Da Bai.
Zheng He has a different processing craft from Fuding, normally it doesn’t need sun drying, they build a very special house for in-house drying, the result is more rich & mellow taste while less freshness than Fuding.
There are three major companies you can visit:
- Dao Hua Xiang tea
- Bai Mu Dan tea
- Long He tea
- Yan Gen tea is another one I recommend although not so famous
Jian Yang is the source of white peony and used to be №1 outputs. Although right now most of teas made here is rock tea, it still make two very special white tea:
- Little white tea, also named Xiao Bai, it uses local seeds reproduction bushes
- Water fairy white, aka Shui Xian Bai, that’s the same material for making rock tea, it has very flowery note
Jing Gu county in Yunnan has very beautiful Moon Light White tea aka Yue Guang Bai, there are lots of possibilities to produce new and great white tea here because of its abundant resources.
So don’t hesitate, call and take a tea tour, you will discover more surprises.