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Visiting tea garden in Fuding city of Fujian province in China

[2013.03.29] Posted By

silver needle

 

I am now in Fuding city of Fujian province in China to buy some white teas and base green tea for making Jasmine pearl.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuding

 

The home town of Fuding Da Bai Hao

Fuding city is the hometown of the very famous cultivar, called Fuding Da Bai Hao (福鼎大白毫). The bud of Fuding cultivar is covered by white downy. That is why it is traditionally used for the production of white tea such as Silver Needle, Bai Mu Dan (White Peony), the base green tea for Jasmine Pearl and also for black tea called Golden Monkey that is also sometimes used for the counterfeit Lapsang Souchong. I visited 3 manufacturers today to survey the tea quality and also to understand the management of the tea garden.
tea garden for white tea

tea garden of white tea

 

Teas from Fujian province possess higher risk of pesticide residues contamination

Based on our experience, the tea produced in Fujian province has higher risk of pesticides contamination. We therefore focus on the garden that uses no pesticide or organic garden. As for the garden that carries no organic certificate, we need to conduct pesticide inspection (more than 300 substances) to follow up the result.

organic tea garden

 

I visit tea garden now so as to ensure that we are buying the tea made in March

Due to the popularity of white tea, it is not only produced in March, but also in April and sometimes May. The earlier the plucking, the better the quality, if the rest of the conditions remain the same. The reason why I visit Fuding city now in March is to ensure that we are able to obtain the white tea harvested in March and not the later crop. The earlier crop gives deeper after taste and more body. If tea is harvested late in spring, it lacks body, tastes flat and also it causes an uncomfort on the tongue with dryness.

tea garden for white tea

 

tea garden for white tea

 

tea garden for white tea

 

Extremely small leaf

Today, when I saw the Da Bai Hao, I was surprized by its extremely small size. Usually most of other teas are plucked later when the leaves grow big enough. According to the garden owner, the skilled worker can only pluck about 250g of fresh buds spending the whole day. After it undergoes various process, the weight will be 1/4-1/5. It’s that labour-intensive work in plucking the fresh tealeaf for producing white tea.

silver needle

 

tea plucker

He is carrying tea in the bags. It is for Bai Mu Dan.

 

Tea leaf cannot wait

The plucker was lining up at the factory and waiting for the measurement of the wegitht of leaves he plucked. Their wages are paid according to the weight. Many tea pluckers are not willing to deal with the white tea. Moreover the production period for the high-end white tea is very short, because once the weather becomes warmer, the bud will grow into the leaf. This is a race against time. Consequently, they have to hire the workers from other villages with higher wages. Sometimes, in order to ensure that they can have sufficient workers to pluck the tea, the factory might have to provide meals and accommodation for them.

inspection of the weight of tea collected a day

The tea plucked a day is recorded and wages are paid accordingly.

tea for white tea

This is over size for silver needle. It will be processed in Bai Mu Dan

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