Place of Origin
Anji, Zhejiang Province, China
Month and Year of Picking
Subtly creamy with a delightful mineral finish
This is a delicious green tea of legendary proportions; in fact, it’s probably the only tea that has an entire chapter of a 900-year-old book devoted to its praises. That book is the Song dynasty Da Guan Cha Lun, written by one of China’s most artistically minded emperors, Song Hui Zong. Lost to the world for almost a millennia, the legend was brought back to the realms of reality in the 1980s, when a single tea plant with leaves like white jade was discovered in Anji county, Zhejiang.
It’s taken decades to propagate enough tea bushes for a commercial crop, and these are all descended from just two mother plants, only one of which is alive today. This lonesome elder is hundreds of years old, and its mountainside home has become something of a pilgrimage site for tea devotees. Although efforts to propagate more bushes continue, the crop remains quite small, and this, along with huge demand and a short harvesting period, makes Anji Bai Cha a relatively rare tea, despite its huge popularity.
Anji Bai Cha, literally ‘white tea’, is so called because its unprocessed leaves are completely white, almost translucent in the sunshine. Lower levels of chlorophyll are responsible for Bai Cha’s colour, and they also make it famous for desirably high levels of healthy amino acids. The tea itself though, is a green tea with a floral sweetness and a subtle creaminess that has led to it being compared to liquid silk.