White teas are the most delicate and cherished of all teas. The finest varieties are appreciated by tea connoisseurs for their unmatched subtlety, complexity and natural sweetness. The majority of the tea leaves we harvest here at Light of Day Organic Farm are used for our White tea offerings.
During the plucking, great care has to be given to the selection of the leaves. Usually only the youngest silvery leaves, free of chlorophyll, and still covered with short white hair or down are used. The leaves and buds grown for white tea are actually picked before the shoots open, which is attributed to the delicate, sweet nature of white tea. There are approximately 70,000 buds (hand-plucked!) to comprise the total weight of one pound, thus explaining our support of fair trade programs and significance of teas grown and harvested with local, Traverse City labor.
The production of most varieties of white tea consists of only two steps: steaming and drying (some white teas are very slightly oxidized as the very end tip of the bud as it is plucked from stem). The absence of withering, rolling and extended oxidation leaves the appearance of the leaves essentially unaltered. The white down of the unprocessed leaves is clearly visible and gives the final tea leaves their silver-white appearance.
When infused, white tea has a pale yellow liquor color and a delicate, fresh flavor. The two most popular white teas are the White Peony, which we call “All White” (also referred to in the industry as “Pai Mu Tan” or “Bai Mudan”) and the treasured Silver Needle, which we call “Cherished” Silver Needles” here. We also offer a scented version called “Floral Silver Needles”, which we scent here on site with Lilac, Asiatic Lily, Magnolia and Hosta flowers to create the “Jasmine” scent. We do this perfuming numerous times until we have the scenting (perfuming) at the ideal amount.
Light of Day is growing Camellia Sinensis leaves in Leelanau County, Michigan, making us Michigan’s only certified Demeter Biodynamic tea farm, and the only certified grower of organic tea leaves in North America! Everything we grow is used in our White Tea offerings. Our “Cherry Mint” and “Be Still” (both White teas) are top sellers.