Darjeeling white (whyte) tea takes a classic Indian tea, Darjeeling, and prepares it as a classic Chinese white tea. As you may already be aware, Chinese White tea is relatively rare. Only the youngest buds, many of which are unopened, that have abundant white hairs are plucked. White tea is also the least processed of all tea. The only processing that the leaves undergo is being steamed / heated to prevent oxidation. Chinese white tea leaves are not even rolled, as is Chinese green tea.
Now taking a classic Indian tea, Darjeeling, and preparing it as a white tea makes this tea rarer still and Poobong is on the leading edge in research and development of Darjeeling White tea! As stated in Republic of Tea
, "Darjeeling leaves are intentionally broken during manufacture, so you rarely see full leaf even in orthodox-method Darjeelings." Accepting this, the unbroken
leaves that result as being processed as a white tea further add to this teas' character, quality, and rarity!
Quoting from the Tea & Coffee Journal
's article about the Poobong Tea Estate,
To produce whyte (white) teas at Poobong, two leaves and a bud are gathered just before sunrise so that they still have some moisture on their surface. In traditional tea making, each picker gathers between one and five kilograms in one day, but for the manufacture of white teas, they pluck only a quarter of a kilogram. So seven days of picking are needed to make eight kilos of white tea. We maintain a seven-day plucking round from March to the end of November.
The product is tea that is clearly composed of full leaves, a mixture of light brown and green. Following steeping, the full leaves are apparent with the dominance of 'two leaves and a bud'. The light brown and green leaves are small, which is indicative of the China jat or one of the hybrids.
Let me share some of my impressions of this 'one-of-a-kind' tea. Immediately, as with all white teas, this teas' delicacy is foremost in aroma, color, taste and aftertaste. The aroma has a fresh, vegetal quality both from the dry leaves before steeping and the liquor they produce after steeping. The pale, golden-yellow color sparkles because it is absolutely crystal clear! The very delicate, yet slightly astringent, familiar Darjeeling taste is mild and subdued. It is very light without any bitterness and the aftertaste is also very light with a slight 'nut-like' taste.
This tea is exactly what its name says, Darjeeling White!