Understanding White2Tea - Leading the Puer Revolution
White2Tea is a puer-based company based out of Yunnan, China that specializes in house-blended puer teas. White2Tea is ran by a man named Paul who is from the United States, and lives in secrecy to detach himself from the image of his brand. This is a tea company that’s always innovating, creating, and pushing the boundaries of the puer market. Since making his debut on November 17th, 2012, Paul has transformed his site from selling only factory teas to now primarily producing his own pressings of puer. As of today there’s still a shroud of mystery and skepticism of White2Tea and their teas, despite the love and growing success that they’ve had. With that, hopefully the following will give you an idea about what White2Tea is, and why they play an important part in the puer revolution — which is still growing strong to this day…
To understand something, you must know some of its history. To start us off, we’ll talk about Paul and his blog. Paul of White2Tea began his journey by starting his blog the ‘TwoDogBlog’, and a month later, opening the domain for White2Tea. White2Tea started in late September of 2012 when a blank page read, “White 2 Tea Co. will be here soon”. Only a month and a half later, on November 17th, the shop was born. After selling factory teas for a short period of time, Paul released White2Tea’s first ever house blended sheng puer in July of 2013. White2Tea collaborated with Tao Cha Ju, a puer company, to blend the 2012 Giant Steps sheng puer. With the popularity of Giant Steps, the company took a leap forward to continue making in-house sheng puer. Shortly after, White2Tea released their very first stand alone produced puer titled New Amerykah, which showed that they promptly found their voice in puer production.
[White2Tea's Shop Upon Opening]
In the summer of 2014, White2Tea took their first major step in the puer market as they released their first full production of sheng. The new White2Tea productions featured a wider-range of in-house puers, as White2Tea released some of their most well known teas to date. Their ‘New Amerykah 2’ was their very first sequel to a sheng puer production, as their famous ‘Last Thoughts’ was also released. 2014 Last Thoughts is a tea that was high in price point, and incredible material, that helped gain White2Tea fame in the puer market. This was due to the fact that material at this grade is rarely sold in the open market, especially in the west. Last Thoughts caught the attention of more serious tea drinkers, and got White2Tea’s name buzzing within the tea community.
2015 was the year that transformed Whtie2Tea from a tea company to a status symbol. This transformation began in June of 2015, when White2Tea continued their momentum from 2014 to release a larger-scaled production of spring sheng puer. White2Tea did so by releasing a wide-variety of sheng — which was nearly double from the previous year. We got to see the return of Last Thoughts, which was said to be blended slightly different, along with other teas that grabbed the attention of tea drinkers. White2Tea’s redesign from their simplistic puer shop to a personalized in-house sheng producer grabbed the attention of the tea community as a whole, and got a lot of people and tea bloggers talking (and drinking).
The 2015 spring release showed what White2Tea was capable of, because at this point they had their own tea club, sold tea ware, and released a wide-scale production of sheng puer. Some of these sheng puers grabbed the attention of numerous tea bloggers and critics due to their flavor profile and their complexity. Some of these attention-grabbing teas were their Poundcake, Bosch, Tuhao As F*ck, and yet again, Last Thoughts. These teas gained a lot of attention within the tea community, and some were even hailed as the best sheng puer sold within the market. Besides a wide array of new teas, White2Tea’s redesign made them a ‘status symbol’ because of their tea’s wrapper design and overall flavor profile.
[White2Tea's New Amerykah]
With the success of their 2015 Spring Release, White2Tea continued to innovate and push the boundaries of selling in-house produced puer. In January of 2016, White2Tea released their first group of shou puer (which is also known as ripe tea). White2Tea released just four of these teas; many gaining attention such as their Old Reliable and Brown Sugar. However, within that same year, the site closed down in July for an awaited ‘release’. If you haven't guessed by now, their site was closed for three days, while under construction, to release their spring 2016 teas. Now that White2Tea grabbed the attention and status of the previous year’s release, this would prove to be a defining moment for White2Tea by asking the question: Is this tea company here to stay?
The release of White2Tea’s 2016 spring sheng puer had an advantage, and Paul used the success and momentum of 2015 to thrust White2Tea into a new look. They capitalized on their newly reformed status symbol, and released a collection of spring teas that were designed with heavier western influence. With the new releases we saw the return of Bosch, Poundcake, Tuhao As F*ck, and Last Thoughts (unfortunately, this would be the last year Last Thoughts was going to be re-released). With the attention of everyone in the tea community, White2Tea’s ability to promote their own brand proved successful as they received critical acclaim for their new teas with bloggers, critics, and other tea drinkers in the market. They used this to continue their success to release a full lineup of of fall teas, along with more shou puer.
[A selection of White2Tea's Spring Collection]
The Wrapper Designs
A part of understanding White2Tea is getting to know their wrapper designs. Since 2014, White2Tea has incorporated western influences from pop culture (music being the biggest inspiration) to design their puer wrappers (all designed by White2Tea operator, Paul). While some bloggers weren't a fan of this due to conflict of tradition, this allowed their teas to grab attention in the western market. Puer is traditionally consumed in the Asian markets (China to be more specific), and while puer is gaining more popularity across the globe, puer was a tea that didn’t make its influence travel very far with the ‘millennial’ generation. However, some believe that modernizing the puer wrapper design has made it more accessible for a newer generation to be curious and attracted to puer tea, and in turn, teach an appreciation for traditional Chinese culture.
[An Example of White2Tea Wrapper Designs]
The Art of the Blend
White2Tea’s in-house puer productions consist of puer teas that have been blended from multiple areas. Their song puers are traditionally blended of two or more origin teas. This means that they will mix tea from two or more different regions, to create a unique tasting blend of tea. Typically, the blends vary in price point depending of the price of the material. Since White2Tea doesn’t release any information about where their material directly comes from, they sell their teas with the following principle: The higher the price point, the better the tea and material. In theory, the more money you spend on a beeng, the better the material you’ll receive.
While White2Tea has been criticized by some on the worth of their tea and buying tea blindly, they still find popularity with tea drinkers who will testify that you get exactly what you pay for. Many tea drinkers can sometimes detect the origins of certain material based on the teasing notes, and will testify that selling these blends in this way is a smart move. Selling tea is competitive and finding a way for your drinkers to detect the honesty presented in their, without compromising the source of your ingredients, is one way that White2Teas succeeds.
One aspect about White2Tea blends that makes them so fantastic is the way they blend their teas. Unlike anyone else in the market, White2Tea blends their tea in such a way that all of the positive attributes of a material is highlighted in every way. The reason why their tea has gained such quick attention, and are often hailed as a status symbol (besides image), is that his blends are usually creative and genius. It’s not what White2Tea uses in a blend, but rather, how the material is used to make the best blend possible. This transcends his tea from being a drink and into an art form.
[White2Tea's 2012 Giant Steps]
White2Tea has made a name for their self in the puer market, simply because of the way they innovate. One of the main ways White2Tea innovates with puer is their ability to blend sheng from different regions (like mentioned above). However, White2Tea ventured out from their beaten path in the fall of 2015, when they released a beeng named 2015 Pin’. What makes 2015 Pin so special is that the beeng is blended with material that came from three different aged sheng puer. This oddity ended up being a success within the tea community, as bloggers and critics praised the beeng for its complexity and its flavor profile.However, that only added fuel to their desire to continue to innovate with tea.
White2Tea continued to push innovation by releasing numerous amount of different teas in their monthly tea club. For 2016, they released various educational club shipments by providing their subscribers with a wide array of tea drinking experiences. One of those experiences was providing their subscribers with tea material that was made into a sheng puer and black tea (for comparison), and two different sheng puers that came from the same source, but one came from an older tea tree than the other. However, besides their tea club, they set their innovation into motion by releasing their famed ‘Hot Brandy’ — a tea cake mixture of both white tea and black tea pressed together.
Along with the numerous ways the company has innovated, Whtie2Tea released a mini tong of two bricks called Sister and Brother, which is exactly the same tea except one tea was cooked longer than the other while being processed. Other innovations that White2Tea has produced included bamboo shoots stuffed with sheng puer, various mini beengs of sample sets, a white tea made from sheng puer tea trees, and a shou puer tea brick mixed with orange peel to give it a citrus-like tasting profile. Overall though, White2Tea keeps pushing the boundaries between whats normal and traditional, and pushes the limits to bring new expirerencs to their consumer base.
[White2Tea's Hot Brandy]
White2Tea is a puer company based out of Yunnan, China that has swiftly created a name for their self in the world of tea. Their speciality went from selling puer to producing their own puer teas, and has pushed the boundaries of what it means to make sheng puer. There’s still a bit of mystery behind the company such as where their teas specifically come from, but their business practices quickly gained the trust of tea drinkers alike because of the honesty thats presented in their cup. Speaking of their tea, they managed to make their tea’s a status symbol, and managed to captivate modern pop culture in their tea cake wrapper designs.
With the 2017 Spring production cycle quickly approaching, Whtie2Tea has been busy at work doing what they do best — blend tea from different regions and to be as creative as possible. With their innovations, we’ve seen a wide-variety of different teas (including a black and white tea cake mix), that has quickly gained the attention of puer drinkers alike. With everything in mind, I personally believe that White2Tea will continue to impress, shock, and captivate their audience with the upcoming productions, because it’s not just the source of the tea that makes them remarkable, it’s what they do with it that makes them remarkable. With a sip of their tea, you will clearly see why White2Tea keeps the puer revolution hastily moving forward…
[Note: All images and White2Tea related content were used with consent from White2Tea. This article was also approved by White2Tea, and is not paid promotional content]