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October 10, 2021 4 min read

Storing white tea and how to age baicha

White teas (also called baicha in Chinese) can be aged to develop new flavors, aromas or to increase their smoothness, but how your store white teas matters. White tea storage conditions will directly impact the direction of the tea. Additionally, baicha from different areas have vastly different characteristics. Consider some of the aging concepts below to make sure your plan for maturing the tea matches the results you desire.

  • Always follow the golden rules of tea storage.
  • What kind of white tea are you planning to age and what region is your baicha from?
  • What are your goals for aging your white tea?
  • Don’t get caught up in the numbers game
  • Good examples of aged white tea to begin with

How should you store your white tea?

When storing your white tea, the most important factors to consider are your storage environment and your long term goals. When you store any tea for an extended period of time, the storage environment will affect the tea as it ages. White tea and how it ages has become a more popular topic of discussion as aged white teas have gained popularity in recent years. In this post we will look at key storage factors for white tea.

Follow the Tea Storage Golden Rules

Regardless of your tea type and aging preferences, there are a few golden rules for tea storage that you should always adhere to. Never allow your tea to be stored near strong odors since your tea will act like a sponge for nearby smells. Always avoid direct sunlight. Avoid extremes of any kind; this includes heat, cold, wetness and dryness. Take your natural environment into account and adjust towards the middle path. If you avoid extremes, you'll also avoid a lot of common mishaps that can ruin your tea, such as mold.

Baicha from different regions will have different character

Different white teas will age in different ways, depending on their base material, regional profile and processing. It is important to take this into account when you are purchasing teas. As an example, Yunnan white teas made from large leaf varietal tend to be all about mouth feel and in some case body feel. Fujian white teas tend to be more flavor and fragrance forward. Even these descriptions are a disservice, as neither of those two regions are monoliths; they both have multitudes of varietals and processing methods! Deciding which teas are right will take a lot of sampling and research. Choose teas that you connect with and age them while tasting as you go.

What are you trying to accomplish with your white tea aging?

White teas will tend to age in very different ways in different environments. If you prefer to maintain more of the original character and fragrance while your tea ages at a slower pace, you should aim for a tightly sealed environment with lower relative humidity. (If you need to know your relative humidity, pick up a cheap hygrometer at the hardware store) If you prefer a more dramatic change in flavor and fragrance with improved mouthfeel, higher relative humidity and airflow will likely help you reach your storage goals. It is difficult to give perfect advice with so many factors involved, but trying white teas that have been stored in different regions may help give you clues to what you are after. Our white teas are stored in natural Guangzhou storage, which has a higher humidity and temperature than most places on Earth.

Tea age is just a number

Without going into too many details of the exaggerations that occur in the tea world, there is very little truly old white tea. Most white teas that people are beginning to age now are roughly 10 years at the oldest, though many vendors are not bashful about pumping that number up to being from the 1990’s and 2000’s in order to feign rarity or command a higher price. As we advise with all aged tea claims, take the numbers with a grain of salt and drink what you enjoy. Shopping for teas that you enjoy within your budget with never disappoint you, even if the claims are outlandish. Your enjoyment is factor number one.

Which white tea is right for you?

If you are looking for good examples of white teas with age, we recommend trying our 2014 Gongmei brick and 2014 Shoumei. These Fujian teas were purchased by us several years ago and have been kept in our storage since. Our Yunnan white teas tend to sell out a bit faster, but our tightly pressed 2017 Turtle Dove is a sun dried large leaf varietal tea that is beginning to show its maturity. We also recommend our 2016 Censers from Guizhou, to try white tea from a different province. These teas are all available at the writing of this article, but we’d be happy to recommend you other options if needed.

white2tea co.
white2tea co.

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