At recent tea festivals around Australia some of our customers were curious about our white tea from Yunnan and what it tastes like. They got to taste free samples, and in some cases they purchased the tea. Lucky them!
Yet this intriguing white tea remains underappreciated in a market dominated by green, oolong and black teas. So we’ve compiled this blog post in reply to some of your queries.
First, to produce Yunnan white tea, farmers look for the appearance of silvery buds in early spring. These yet-to-open leaves are the “first flush.”
This white tea gets its name from the fine silver-white hairs that you can see on the unopened buds.
Then, after picking, farmers wither and dry the delicate silvery buds.
Actually, white tea is often associated with the province of Fujian, on China’s southeastern coast. But it is also produced in other parts of China, and even Nepal and India.
In China’s southwestern Yunnan province, another name for white tea is ‘moonlight white’ (yueguang bai). What’s more, the best Yunnan white tea tends to be high-altitude tea picked from wild trees, with minimal human intervention in the growth of the trees. Tea plants at high altitudes tend to relatively free of pests, which reduces the need to use pesticides.
White Tea from Yunnan: South of the Clouds
Like all our Chinese teas, Cloud Nine Teas’ own white tea comes straight to you from the family farms high in the hills of southwest Yunnan. We call ours “Silver Moon” Yunnan White Tea. A fitting name, since the leaves are silvery and many also look like little crescents.
White tea from Yunnan’s wild trees also ages well when you seal it properly. In this respect, it is quite like Pu’er tea. In fact, farmers harvest the Yunnan Silver Moon White from the same wild trees in the Pu’er area that give us Pu’er tea.
Drop by the store, and try some Yunnan Silver Moon!
PS: In choosing this name for our Yunnan white tea, what inspired us were the night skies over Yunnan. I remember a starry night spent travelling across the countryside of Yunnan. It was some years ago now, but it could have been last summer. Very late, the bus driver pulled over to take a break, so everyone filed out to stretch their legs. We were in the world’s most populous country, yet in the middle of nowhere.
Looking up at the sky, we saw a perfect blanket of stars, a dazzling display of the universe at night. An indelible travel memory.