What is small batch shou Puerh tea? | white2tea Blog blog

September 11, 2020 3 min read

What is small batch shou Puerh tea?

You may have seen white2tea using the phrase "small batch" for our latest ripe Puer blends. What does small batch shou Puerh mean exactly? It's a term we are using to describe our small scale fermented piles where we oversee the entire production from purchasing the raw Puer, through the fermentation process to the finished blended shu.

  • Small scale means using the best teas, not industrial scale piles

  • We select our tea from high quality raw Puer that is rarely fermented into ripe Puer tea

  • Hands-on curation and attention to detail unique to small batches

  • Control over the process from raw through to the finished ripe. We know what goes in and what comes out

  • Varied fermentation levels in each individual pile and experimentation with blending multiple high quality teas

  • Half a decade of experience making small batch shou blends that aren't available anywhere else

Small batch Puerh tea, why does scale matter?

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.

Ripe Puer fermented in tiny batches offers control

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.

Which teas will white2tea label as small batch?

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.

Are small batch teas a good choice for me?

Whether or not small batch Puer tea is important to you will be a personal decision. There are plenty of quality teas that are made at larger scale and we blend with those teas as well. Our Waffles is a great example of a blend with an exceptional price and quality made using larger batches. However, focusing on small batches will allow us to pursue higher and higher quality shu Puer blends that push the boundaries of what is being made in Yunnan.

 

white2tea co.
white2tea co.



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