How Are Yin Zhen White Tea Pearls Made?

Yin Zhen white tea has had numerous names throughout Chinese History. In its raw form it was called Baihao Yin Zhen or White Hair Silver Needles. When they are rolled into the shape of a pearl, they are called Dragon Pearls. Yin Zhen white tea leaves exclusively come from China’s Fujian province and are considered one of the most prized and expensive teas in the world.

Why Are They Shaped Like Pearls?

Some people wonder if the white tea pearl’s unique shape is just marketing ploy. Well, it’s not! There are a few good reasons why the best Yin Zhen white tea comes from white tea pearls. For starters, rolled tea is less exposed to air and moisture, thus allowing the tea to age at a much slower rate. This is important because the unique taste of white tea can be ruined by the slightest exposure to moisture and thus reduces its overall value.

It’s also important to remember that white tea has a very distinct aroma and rolling the raw tea into the shape of a pearl is meant to keep that aroma intact for a long time. The fact is that Yin Zhen white tea is more likely to lose its fresh flavor than green tea, and this is the reason why the best white teas are packaged in the shape of white tea pearls.

How Are Yin Zhen White Tea Pearls Made?

Although the process used for producing white tea pearls can be replicated with green tea as well, their taste remains quite different from those of white tea pearls. This is because white tea has a different biochemical composition from regular green tea. This difference is what allows white tea pearls to have a very distinctive taste and aroma compared to ordinary green tea leaves.

Unlike green tea, only the top buds or leaf shoots of the Yin Zhen tea plant can be used to create white tea pearls. Also, the first flushes must take place within a very short span of time, usually between the months of March and April. This is the time when the year’s first new buds “flush” and become ready for plucking. It’s also worth mentioning that white tea should only be picked during a sunny morning and only when the buds are completely free of moisture.

After the white tea leaf shoots have been harvested, they are placed inside a container and then left under direct sunlight where they will wilt after a few hours. In some cases, the shoots are placed inside an artificial chamber that creates a warm airflow. This is done to avoid the risk of rain, but some tea aficionados consider this process to be less effective than the traditional method.

After the plucks have wilted, the softened shoots are then collected for enzyme oxidation and further processing. They are then gathered and baked at low temperature. This raw material is then given to workers to be rolled into the Yin Zhen white tea pearls that we all love and enjoy.