Free shipping on orders over $50x

$5 off

your first order when you register

Swipe to the left

Posts tagged 'white tea'

Tea Production Methods: Various Tea Production Techniques

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 7 months ago 4374 Views No comments

We've taught you plenty of ways to consume tea, as well as why it's good for you and which taste superior. But have you ever wondered the backstory, aka how your tea is actually made? It's rare that we think about the start-to-finish process – how budding tea leaves make it to the beverage that ends up in your cup. But, as with all of your food and beverages, it's important to know where tea comes from, and further, how one type differs from the next.

Throughout history and various cultures and regions, there have been many methods in which teamakers have processed the leaf into a delicious tea. But post–industrial revolution, new and more efficient ways of processing gourmet tea have emerged, allowing for mass production. Still, many essential elements of the process have stayed the same over the millenia, and depending on the tea type, certain teas are still produced using techniques mastered over many centuries. Here are some examples of how different teas can be manufactured:


Black tea

For black tea, we will talk about mass production methods (which are common) in order to shine a light on the various types of production, ranging from traditional and hand-produced to mass produced with machinery. While many of our teas undergo more traditional processing methods, learning about both can provide interesting insight.

After being harvested, black tea leaves begin withering. Withering is a process in which the tea leaves are laid out for several hours in order to reduce moisture in the leaf, making them more pliable. Black teas are the most oxidized of any tea type. Think of an apple you bite into and leave on your counter. The exposed portion of the apple will start to brown; this is oxidation. In a process known as CTC, the tea is "crushed, torn, and curled" – meaning the leaves are pre-conditioned and then machine-shredded, and because of a manual manipulation process, the leaves begin to curl. (For CTC or tea bag grade tea, this process allows for more surface area of the leaf to be exposed to water, extracting more color and flavor from the leaf.) Next is maceration: rolling the tea in order to rupture it. At the same time, oxidation occurs, leading to the dark and deep color and flavor of black tea.

Try our Assam black tea for a brisk, full-bodied black originating in Assam, India. This tea is not produced using the methods mentioned above, although some parts of the processing may align.


White tea

The key difference between white tea and its darker counterpart is that white tea is nearly unoxidized. The leaves are then withered and dried slowly at low temperatures as opposed to pan-firing in high heat the way many other teas are. White tea therefore only oxidizes very slightly, due to lack of rolling and less exposure to air and heat. It's no wonder, then, that white tea has the most gentle, mild, and mellow flavor profile and color of the bunch. White tea is generally the least processed of all the tea types.

Try our house-blended Ginger Peach white tea for a delicious blend that makes a great cup, hot or iced!


Green tea

Green tea is typically steamed or pan-fried in order to prevent its enzymes from undergoing significant oxidation. As a result, the tea is less full-bodied and more clean and vegetal tasting. Because of the presence of health-promoting polyphenols, green tea must be processed delicately. With extremely low moisture, green tea lasts a long time on the shelf and maintains its strong aroma. A powdered form of the same tea leaves, following a similar process (although it's usually shade-grown), is called matcha.

Try our organic Genmaicha green tea for a delicious, nutty variety and our ceremonial grade matcha if you're looking for an antioxidant-rich alternative to coffee.


Oolong tea

Oolong is grown mainly in southeast China and Taiwan. In order to develop their bold and full-bodied taste, the leaves are picked when they are quite ripe and processed immediately. They are withered then shaken in bamboo baskets to slightly "bruise" (aka agitate) them; this drying period is relatively short compared to that of black tea. This yields partially oxidized tea, falling somewhere between black and green tea in terms of flavor and color. They are then rolled (which gives the leaves spherical appearance), either by hand or machine, and air dried, after which the leaves are pan-fired at very high temperatures; this allows for minimal moisture, meaning a longer shelf life than those fired at lower temperatures, such as green tea.

Try our unique Brandy Oolong tea for a rich, deep oolong with complex notes.


Pu-erh tea

Pu-erh, is a special type of fermented tea. Traditionally aged in caves, the tea is aged in climate controlled rooms where the humidity level is maintained at less than 80%. The tea artisan will carefully add moisture to the tea leaves which are regularly turned & tended to in order to grow healthy bacteria. In some cases, the fermentation process can occur for up to six years until the process is complete. This natural aging produces a very mellow, smooth cup. Here's one case where aging is good! The exact processing of pu-erh tea is still a well-guarded secret in china due to its complexity, cultural value, and the level of mastery it takes to produce a highly desired pu-erh.

Try our Royal pu-erh tea for a traditional, earthy brew.


Although we've laid out some of the processing techniques involved in making each tea type, not all oolong, green, or black teas are processed in the same way. The steps vary depending on the tea type, its use, economic factors, whether or not the tea is being mass produced, and many other factors. Still, you get an idea of the complexity involved in the processing of loose leaf tea, and how it may differ depending on the type. Now that you know the backstory, you can enjoy a sip of any or all of your favorite tea types alongside your upcoming holiday meals and have a built-in conversation starter!

Teas of Spring (pre-Qing Ming) and China’s Qing Ming Festival

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 1 years ago 5425 Views No comments

Spring is celebrated in different ways in each part of the world as the flowers bloom and sun emerges. While we at Heavenly Tea Leaves kick off every season with new and climate-friendly teas, spring is especially dear to us because of the range of teas it welcomes. The teas we favor in this warm-up season can be hot or iced, bold or delicate, white or black, invigorating or calming. Regardless of your choice, this season is all about good moods and positive energy; no doubt, these feelings can always be channeled through tea.

In China, spring is celebrated with an entire festival called Qing Ming – or the Pure Brightness Festival. Starting this year on April 5th, this annual festival incorporates ritual sweeping of tombs (as well as pouring wine and tea around the tombs as an act of commemoration), kite flying, lighting of firecrackers, and of course, food and beverage offerings, which is where the tea comes into play.

As a major historical producer and consumer of tea, China has adopted the drink into the core of its culture. This holiday is ultimately about honoring one's ancestors through various customs meant to acknowledge both spring and Chinese history. Along with rice balls, cakes, porridge, and other traditional foods and snacks, those celebrating the festival consume various pre-Qing Ming teas.

What does pre-Qing Ming mean, anyway? The teas served at this time of year come from tea plants that are harvested earlier in the season, before the festival; this signifies drinking from the very first harvest of the year in accordance with the Chinese calendar. These early harvest teas, according to Fresh Cup magazine, are a super-valuable agricultural gift. "When the buds and leaves of the tea plant are harvested early and with care, they can constitute some of the highest prized, praised, and priced teas of the year. But each harvest of new growth—known as a 'flush'—has its own character," writes Fresh Cup's Liz Clayton.

She continues: "Teas harvested before Qingming... are rare due to the extremely short harvest window—which can range from a few weeks to around ten days—between bud readiness and the arrival of the fifth of April. Hallmarks of these teas are the tender buds which yield a range of complex and delicate flavors—from tea to tea these may be more vegetal, floral, or grassy than the later-harvest expressions of the same plants. They may contain a richer concentration of nutrients like amino acids and a lower concentration of astringent-tasting catechins than later pickings."


Early harvest Chinese teas are beloved by the Heavenly Tea Leaves team, too, as they are noted for their versatility and delicate nature. Here are some of the newest pre-Qing Ming teas we are featuring this spring:

Qing Shan Lu Shui hails from the Chinese Tashan Mountain region and is grown at an unusually high 800-meter altitude. Picked from the Anji white tea bush, this prized tea is noted for its mixture of bright green and yellow tea leaves, delivering a fresh flavor and a subtly sweet finish. Celebrated for its cooling properties, Qing Shan Lu Shui makes the perfect hot weather comfort beverage.

Gou Nao Gong is the most well-known of Hunan province's specialty pre-Qing Ming teas. This variety originates in Chenzhou City in the Mangshan Mountain region, which has become a popular tourist destination thanks to its warm and pleasant weather. The young Gou Nao Gong leaf is picked from the Fuding Da Bai tea bush, whose distinctive twisted shape and thick body yield a light and fruity taste.

Jin Jun Mei is harvested in the famous Fujian tea garden on the southeast coast of China, which is owned and run by a small and dedicated tea farming family along with expert tea masters. This black tea is processed with the whole leaf and the half-open bud of the Fuding Da Bai tea bush, resulting in a reddish brew and floral aftertaste. Jin Jun Mei is one of the rarest teas in our collection, as only 50 kilograms a year is available for distribution.

Drangonwell is a highly-prized green tea. The flat, long leaf is typical of this pan-fired tea, which is a result of highly skilled shaping techniques developed over centuries. This years harvest was plucked on March 19, 2018, containing notes of roasted nuts, with a smooth, crisp mouthfeel.

Silver Needle is a very mild white tea with woody notes. Although it is typically cultivated in Fujian, this pre-Qing Ming tea comes from Yunnan, China.


Above all, springtime is about coming together with friends and family to enjoy beautiful weather, happy occasions, and delicious meals. Mark any of these happy moments with a delicious cup of tea – and this spring, make it a pre-Qing Ming one from Heavenly Tea Leaves!

New Heavenly Tea Leaves Website

By Noushin Ebrani 4 years ago 8903 Views 1 comment

Hello Tea Lovers,

We are proud to announce the launch of our new website http://www.heavenlytealeaves.com

Register on our site to get $5 off your first order!