With all agricultural products, and especially with tea, scale matters. The larger the scale of production the more sacrifices in the quality of the finished tea. Large tea factories often ferment piles in excess of 20 metric tons of material where multiple large tea productions are mixed together. A small batch of shou Puerh from white2tea is ~1% of that size. When you consider that a larger factory production run could easily blend together over 100 metric tons of tea from several piles, you can imagine the that there is a lack of control over what material is used in the final blend. Some of the tea involved may be farmed in undesirable conditions, poorly processed or just generally cheap material of low quality. These large scale piles naturally exclude the possibility of using entirely high end, well cared for material like spring old arbor teas simply by virtue of their scale, e.g. there is nobody able or willing to pile up 10 tons of old arbor material from very expensive areas. Industrial scale piles vary wildly in quality, but it is not an exaggeration to say they constitute the vast majority of the ripe Puer tea in the market from both big and small outlets alike.
The small batch ripe Puer in a white2tea batch are carefully curated from materials that would otherwise never be made into shu. Reasons such as prohibitive costs (material that is too expensive to ferment in a multi-ton batch) or a simple lack of weight (most areas lack the weight of gushu necessary to make a large pile) can be solved with a tiny batch. The freedom to create ripe Puer from spring old arbor or other highly desirable base material and to create blends from several batches affords the ability to make teas unlike anything being made in the mass market. When you expand to consider batches where the fermentation levels are halted at various stages according to our desired outcome and other variables, the possibilities for high end small batch blends are largely uncharted territory.
In order for white2tea to label a tea as "small batch ripe Puer" the tea must be comprised of 100% small batch material. Some of our teas which contain a portion of our small batch material, but that have other teas blended in will not qualify for the label. We will list all of our small batch ripe Puer teas in this section, or you can search "small batch" on the site. The term small batch name will also be in the description.
In the spirit of shedding a little light on how white2tea came into being, here are a few fun facts about the history of the brand and my love of Puer tea. I tend to avoid being front and center and let white2tea speak for itself, but I hope this glimpse into who I am and how this all began gives a clearer picture of the origin story.