Back for another episode.. Old Whitey & Hoplite (Yancha) are featured in the September W2T Club.
Old Whitey & Hoplite Oolong — TeaDB James InBetweenIsode Episode #106
One response to “Old Whitey & Hoplite Oolong — TeaDB James InBetweenIsode Episode #106”
Loose white tea, usually silver needle/top grade, and white tea cakes, usually grades 2-4 (Shou Mei is grade 4), differ mainly in that the latter undergoes steaming prior to pressing into cakes. Steaming/pressing changes the character of the tea and supposedly makes it more amenable to aging (allows it to become bit smoother, creamier, and sweeter), in comparison to loose silver needle. (My 2011 Fuding white tea cake was better–fresher tasting–a few years back, though my storage might be a bit too dry.) I’ve never seen silver needle cakes (not saying they don’t exist–I don’t know); it’s top grade tea, very fine, so perhaps it doesn’t stand up well to steaming/pressing, or perhaps it simply makes the most sense to enjoy this tea in its ‘pure and fresh’ form–and silver needle, like green tea, is best when fresh and is not intended to be aged (I only buy green tea fresh in China–and typically finish drinking it there; doesn’t make sense to take it home and store it). White tea is picked, withered in the sun, and then carefully dried indoors–the drying process is temperamental as the ambient temperature needs to be carefully controlled, even altered at different times during the process. There is no ‘kill green’ (stop oxidation) process, as there is with green tea–and this is the main difference from green tea. There is no roasting either, as there is with oolongs. You mentioned that your Old Whitey was roasted; if so, this would make it something different from traditional white tea (as produced in Fuding, Fujian). Perhaps Old Whitey is a hybrid invention of some locale in Yunnan?