Updated: Oct 18, 2018
In June, our white tea appreciation month, we’d like to bring you different aspects and facts about white tea and its growing environment. In the past few weeks, we’ve introduced the basic knowledge, the history, the varieties and the growing environment of white tea. If you haven’t read them yet, we highly recommend you checking them out. Today, let’s talk about the harvest of white tea.
If you've read our first white tea blog, you might remember that white tea is the easiest tea to make. The making of white tea is relatively simpler than most other teas such as oolong and black tea. White tea can be processed and produced at a much faster pace. However, this doesn’t mean that white tea tea-making is merely a labor work that requires no knowledge or experience at all. On the contrary, there are plenty of principles and criteria that we have to follow.
First is the timing of the harvest. Not all white tea products are harvested at the same time. In our last blog, we’ve described the differences among three major white tea products: silver needle, white peony, and Shou-Mei/Gong-Mei. The most distinct difference among the three is different leaves from various growing stages. Traditionally, the harvest of fresh leaves is associated with the lunar calendar, especially the 24 solar terms. Leaves of silver needle are usually harvested before “Qingming”, which was April 5th this year; leaves of white peony is harvested before “Guyu”, which was April 20th this year; all leaves of other white tea products can be harvested during the tea season.
Second is the standard of the harvest. Leaf-harvesting is highly selective. Similar to a company’s hiring process, tea makers also need to draw the line on what kind of fresh leaves they want and don’t want. Just as different jobs have different minimum requirements, different white tea products have their own respective demands. For example, when it comes to silver needle, the highest grade in white tea, there are 10 “don’t” in harvesting:
Don’t harvest in rainy days.
Don’t harvest tips which have dews on them.
Don’t harvest slim and small tips.
Don’t harvest purple-colored tips.
Don’t harvest tips that are damaged by human activities.
Don’t harvest tips that are bitten by bugs.
Don’t harvest tips that are extended already.
Don’t harvest tips that are empty inside.
Don’t harvest tips that are ill-looking.
Don’t harvest tips that are damaged by frostbites.
The strict demands ensure the the quality of fresh leaves, the raw material for tea-making. The best white tea can only be achieved by the best environment and the highest harvest standards. However, in many introductions to white tea, the harvest standard is missing. We hope this blog can finally fill the void of this long needed clarification.
We hope you enjoyed today’s blog. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment, tweet us @valleybrooktea or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also follow us on Instagram @valleybrooktea and join our mail list to get our daily tea updates and our latest promotions! Finally, If you are interested in ordering some white tea, don’t forget we have a white tea sale for the entire month of June! Use code: whitetea186 and get a 10% off on all white tea products!