Plucking Season: Spring
The earliest written record of tea production in Fujian is kept on a stone tablet at the ‘Lian Hua Feng’ (Lotus Peak) in Nan’an County.
Ningde is nestled between the mountains and the ocean in the northeastern corner of China’s Fujian province. The region is also known as Min Dong in reference to the ancient Min culture of southeastern China.
Fujian’s mild, humid, subtropical and marine climate is especially conducive to tea cultivation which has a 1,600 year history.
The region is full of wild mountains and lushly forested hilltops that lookout over emerald tea gardens and intricately terraced slopes and valleys. Tea has been growing in Ningde for centuries and long green and white tea making traditions continue to this day.
The flavor of Ningde teas can vary drastically depending on their proximity to the coast or inland mountains. This tea was grown on a high elevation mountain further inland and has a characteristic clean, clear aroma and taste.
Using a “Fu Yun” leaf varietal, Imperial White is made by withering the tea indoors for several hours and air-drying in special rotating tea ovens. No rolling or bruising of the leaf is performed.
Water Temp: 170°F (77°C)
Quality of Water: Best with Spring water
Quantity of Leaf: 2 tsp per 8oz water
Steep Time: 3 minutes
The young tip bud and first leaf sets used to make this tea are very tender. As such, we recommend using mineral or spring water at a lower temperature (160-180 F) to avoid stewing the leaves and to bring out a more balanced flavor.
This tea is much lighter in weight and requires a little more leaf to make a full flavored cup. Around two level teaspoons per 8 oz of water is a good place to start. Steeping time can range between 2 to 4 minutes. Although the amount of re-infusions possible can vary to taste, the above guidelines usually provide 2 to 4.
As a general rule of thumb, the longer the steeping time and/or the higher the water temperature, the less leaf needed and fewer re-infusions possible.
Although white teas can be brewed in any vessel, teapots and gaiwans made from porcelain, glass, delicate ceramics, and other materials that release heat quickly work best.
If you wish to use a yixing, cast iron, or any vessel made from a heavy material, it is a good idea to tilt open or remove the lid so that some heat is released and the leaf is not stewed.
Traditionally, white teas are enjoyed from porcelain gaiwans. Not only does a gaiwan make it easy to stir the leaf and control the temperature, but also to view the leaf as it is steeping, an important aesthetic in drinking these beautiful teas.
Another common method for brewing and drinking white teas is to just place a few of the leaves in a clear glass, add heated water, and wait for the leaf to infuse and submerge. The beverage can then be enjoyed directly with the leaves and more water added as needed.