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New release of Bai Shu Black Tea from Yunnan

[2017.03.30] Posted By

We have just released Bai Shu Black Tea. This is the black tea version of the tea produced only from the tealeaf collected from white tea trees. In 2016, we have released the raw pu-erh tea version named as Bai Shu Raw Pu-erh Tea. Both teas are made of the tealeaf specifically collected from tea trees with white tea trunk.

Tea leaf collected from a white bush

Usually, one tea garden consists of various kinds of tea tree, e.g., young and old tea tree, big and small tea tree, and tea tree grown under the shade or under the direct sun shine. I wanted to collect tea leaves from the specific group of tea tree and process it into tea. Throughout the years of my tea expedition in Yunnan, I have met a tea manufacturer who has both the manufacturing facility and processing skills to support my idea. I personally collect the fresh tea leaves and ask him to process it. The type of tea tree that I was interested in particular was the “White Tea Bush”. In the natural farming tea garden, some tea trees become very white if they are grown without fertilizer and always expose to strong sun light. In early spring of 2016, I have specified this type of tea trees and part of the tea was made into raw pu-erh tea, while the rest was processed into black tea.

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We kept tea for a while for maturation

We selected exactly the same type of tea trees that was used for producing Bai Shu Raw Pu-erh Tea. The tea garden is situated at about 2000m in the west of Lincang region. After receiving this tea in spring 2016, we conducted baking using our own oven and kept the tea for a while in order to let it matured. The flavor of freshly made black tea is a little greenish. It also gives astringent taste and noise in flavor.
It is very important for us to conduct moderate baking in order to further enhance the quality. Usually the flavor of tea becomes lighter right after the baking. So it is important to keep it for a few months without oxygen so as to enhance the flavor.

Shabby and white outlook

If tea tree is grown without fertilizer, it grows very slowly due to nitrogen deficiency. As a result of slower growing speed, the plant tends to slow down the overall photosynthesis. Under the circumstances, there is a very interesting phenomenon. Some of tree branches naturally dry out, and the number of tealeaf is reduced. Those tea trees show a very noticeable characteristic. The tree bark turns very white, like white birch tree. Interestingly, once the fertilizer is re-applied, the white tree becomes brown color again. Comparatively, those “white tea trees” have very less branches and leaves. Generally people may think it is very unhealthy tree or the tree is dying. However, the tealeaf from this white tree is very sweet. It is not only sweet, but also giving a very clear and refreshing aftertaste. The tealeaf from the white tea tree does not give bitter or astringent taste that normal tea does. Perhaps the tealeaf grown under harsh environment becomes very rich in natural substances.

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Making Tea from specially selected leaves

I have been always interested in collecting only the specific type of tea leaves. My standard pu-erh teas are collected from natural farming garden too. However, usually the tea garden covers wide area and tea trees scatter everywhere. Somehow there is a variety of tea tree. Some of trees grown under shade, some are directly expose to sunshine, some are very old trees and due to unknown factors some of them grow faster. The taste of tea grown under direct sun light and under shade is somehow different. When tea leaves are gathered from entire gardens and processed together, the taste of tea is homogenized.

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We worked with a tea collector

For the first time in last year, I wanted to produce tea collected only from the white tea tree grown under direct sun light. I am interested in making tea with a distinctive characteristic. For achieving my desire, I had to selectively collect tea leaves from specific tea tree with very white tree bark.
There are two ways for us to collect the fresh tea leaves. If we directly deal with farmer who owns the gardens, the cost is lower. However, this method does not produce a good outcome. In general, farmers pluck the fresh tealeaf and sell it to the tea manufacturer. Their earning comes from the total weight of tealeaf they gathered in a day. In other words the more tealeaves the more earning, hence the plucking is very random and very likely that the tealeaf from non-white tea trees will be collected and mixed. Eventually farmers tend to pluck tealeaf that does not meet our requirements. As we wish to collect the specific kind of tealeaf, we appoint professional fresh tealeaf collector. They live in the village, and they are very familiar and truly understood the condition of each tea tree. They are very good in management and they will follow the requirement of their client and lead the farmers to pluck according to the specification. I have asked help from my pu-erh tea manufacturer to introduce a reliable fresh tealeaf collector. She was indeed very competent and worked very hard to collect the tealeaf from the white tea trees.

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It looks like a bush. But it actually is a tea garden

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Following 4 photos show common tea tree

Even if the tea tree is very old, it is not certainly that tea trunk is white. The color of tea trunk becomes brownish when fertilizer is being applied.

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High clarify in taste

I was very surprised by the taste of this tea when I drunk it for the first time. It was not like the taste of classic black tea at all. This Bai Shu Black Tea tastes very clear and transparent. It has clarity in taste reminiscent of wild tea.

In fact, it is not very easy to understand the clarity in tea taste. I have been dealing with many kinds of tea in past 10 years. Only recent years I came across with so-called clarity in taste. This is the distinctive impression in taste that appears when tea is left like wild tea tree. We can detect the same kinds of taste when we taste the wild herbs and vegetable, wild fish or wild mushroom. These natural wild materials give a clear taste. Clear does not mean light. Indeed its clear or clean taste has very long-lasting finishing. If you try this tea for the first time, you may feel that the taste is light. However, you will soon realize that it is actually not light but clean.
The process of this tea is very well-managed. It gives no unpleasant odor such as over-baked flavor. The flavor of this tea will be getting stronger if it is kept longer. We adjusted the moisture at around 3%. Because of the lower moisture, it has slight astringency when the bag of tea is just opened. Nevertheless, the taste will become mellow in a few days as it slowly absorbs moisture from the environment. We prefer to keep the initial moisture to be low for better storage.

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