Aged white tea is a strange concept to many in the West. We’ve become very familiar with puerhs and many of us understand how well they tend to age over the years, but only the tea connoisseurs and the lucky come to realize that there are other kinds of aged teas as well. Perhaps the most surprising kind of aged tea to stumble upon is aged white tea.
While aged white tea has been enjoyed in southern China for many years, especially in its birthplace in Fuding, Fujian province, it has only recently started gaining attention in the west, and for good reason.
Whereas fresh white tea tends to exhibit a kind of refreshing and melon-like fruitiness that can be playfully aloof with our taste buds, as white tea ages, its flavor profile develops more complexity, its texture becomes creamier, and the liquor itself even seems to taste sweeter. The melon fruitiness of fresh white tea gets increasingly exchanged, with each passing year, for a flavor profile reminiscent of dark honey, dates, and dried fig.
Besides the flavorful taste, aged white tea has more pronounced medicinal properties than the young newer white tea. After all, white tea was traditionally regarded as an herbal medicine rather than tea in Fuding region for centuries. Most local families kept white tea for years as an herbal medicine.
Indeed, good, aged white tea can be intoxicating!
What is unfortunate, however, is that many tea merchants and vendors sometimes advertise “aged teas” when they have old, stale teas that they are trying to sell, and this creates the problem of leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, literally and figuratively. Truly aged teas must be aged properly, using the right grade of leaf and kept under the right storage conditions.
When white tea is aged correctly and sourced responsibly, tea lovers will be able to taste the tea the way that it is enjoyed in Fujian and understand what is meant when they say that “year one is a tea; year three a medicine; but year seven a treasure!”
At MeiMei Fine Teas, we currently carry several carefully sourced, aged white teas:
We also feature several other 2015 and 2016 white teas that are definitely worth tasting, such as our Top Grade 2015 Fuding Silver Needles (Bai Hao Yi Zhen)!
Remember to appreciate your white teas, especially as they age! And stay tuned! We will be rolling out even more exotic aged teas to our website in the near future!
Happy tea drinking!