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From The Archives | True White Tea
Visiting with Mr. Lin, one of the producers of white tea in the Fuding area. As we had dinner right on the water in a fishing village, he commented on how just not too long ago, when he and his brothers were harvesting tea up in the hills behind us, his sister would cast a net right here, catch some fish, and walk them all the way up the mountain for her brothers. This beautiful new highway and cars we traveled on to get there were not even imaginable. Fuding, like most Chinese cities, have moved forward with the speed of light.
White tea can not be in any other shape, he said. Once you try to make a curly Silver Needle, reducing its straight, fuzzy white nature to make tighter shipping weight, you break the spine and it will not meet white tea standards. We can try to make the buds roll a bit tighter, but that’s about it. Even people in many other areas in China will try to make ‘white tea’ with their local varietal, and even if they had planted Fuyun #6, which is a Fuan institute developed hybrid white tea varietal, it would not taste the same. Fuding white tea has that never astringent, high clear fragrance and taste that other areas can not reproduce. The controversy with white tea continues, though perhaps, place of origin and varietal differentiation is all we, as teabuyers on behalf of the US consumer, can offer for everyone to make an informed decision. Packages of ‘Rose White Tea’ in the supermarket will never tell you what the varietal is, nor origin, nor the date of harvest. April 4th harvest? Forget it. Mr. Lin said he knew that some tea importers will use his white tea for blending, having been stored for as long as 5 years!!