Taylor Cowan • July 14, 2022
Withering, Wondering, Watching: A Quick Dive into Tea Withering
Mr. Zhou with his Sanxia Biluochun, Formosa Green Snail.
Withering may seem boring—
it's like watching paint dry, only with leaves—but it's one of the most crucial steps in tea production.
The tea leaf begins wilting the moment it is plucked. Withering is the controlled dehydration and concentration of aromatic compounds. This can occur outdoors or indoors, though UV sunlights assists in the process.
Withering can happen in a variety of contexts: bamboo baskets, troughs, air dryers, and tarps strewn out in the sun.
Withering also creates suppleness and pliability in the leaf for the next steps. Withering can happen in a variety of contexts: bamboo baskets, troughs, air dryers, and tarps strewn out in the sun.
Bamboo tumblers, like pictured here, assist in withering.
Note the difference between the fresh picked and perky tea leaves vs. their withered counterpart.
Mr. Chui monitors his withering Li Shan by smell.