Thanks to Instagram, I have made contact with Tanya (white tea solo) who is a boutique white tea master.
Tanya is originally from Ukraine but now lives in Arhavi, Artvin, Turkey with her family. She lived in different countries before settling down in Turkey and starting her family.
She has friends who are tea lovers like her and she learned how to craft white tea from them. The process involves no machinery.
Tanya’s in-laws have tea gardens in a little village by the Kachkar Mountain range (its peaks rising almost 4,000 m) where she plucks fresh buds and makes white tea, only about 2 kg every year.
Tanya says that these gardens are so remote that there are not even roads for cars. They use no artificial fertilizers, so the tea grows completely organically. In April, she plucks the buds and dries them in the shade to produce the least processed of all teas produced organically and crafted 100% by hand.
I was lucky to receive a sample of her Spring harvest this year and I found it very refreshing and the smell of the dry leaves was like a bouquet of spring flowers from heaven. I have very little left of Tanya’s tea and I think I will save it for a special occasion.
Origin: Arhavi, Artvin, Turkey
Harvest time: April 2020
Leave colour: Light green leaves with silvery-white pekoe (fuzz)
Liquor colour: Light yellow
Tea aroma: Floral and mineral
Tea taste: Fresh, clean and sweet
Steeping/brewing: The tea master recommends 70°C water to brew this delicate tea. I do like to brew white tea in gongfu stlye at higher temparatures (around 100°C) and brew for up to one minute. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 10 years or more if aged appropriately