Growing White Tea
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Dennis Leonetti
Posted on: March 31, 2003

My name is Dennis Leonetti and I live in Ohio. This year I want to start growing white tea. Can you help me with seeds and info on how to grow such as climate soil water sun and so on?

White tea comes from the same plant as green tea, black tea, etc. come from. The difference in these forms is in the harvesting and processing. For example, green and white tea are unfermented while oolong and orange pekoe are fermented to varying degrees. White tea can only be picked in spring just before the new buds appear so the harvest is much smaller than that of most other tea forms. The young leaves are still covered with fine white hairs, hence the name. They are then allowed to wither and dry and, unlike green tea, the leaves are then roasted. The withering process allows the moisture in the leaves to evaporate. The result is a very light-coloured tea that is almost "white-downy" in appearance and has the lowest caffeine content of all tea types.

We can supply seeds of the tea bush (Camellia sinensis). The seeds are slow and sporadic to germinate, and the germination rate tends to be lower than 50%. It takes several years for the tea bushes to reach flowering size, the point at which leaves can begin to be harvested. Tea bushes will have to be grown indoors in a greenhouse because it is not hardy in your area. They will need deep pots with well-drained, acidic soil and light shade during the summer months.

Sorry we do not have details on the roasting procedure.

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