The Chinese National White Tea Production Standard (GB/T 22291-2008) is effective starting March 1, 2009. This is the first national standard regulating white tea production. According to the standard, white tea can be classified into three categories: Silver Needle (白毫银针), White Peony (白牡丹), and Gong Mei (贡眉). Silver Needle can be further divided into two grades: Te Ji (特级), and Grade 1. White Peony and Gong Mei have four grades: Te Ji and Grade 1 to 3.
The standard outlines quality requirements of each grade ranging from criteria such as dry leaf appearance, aroma, liquor, taste, to leaf water content, dusty percentage, etc.
This standard is limited to traditional white tea. The production technique of new white tea, which was introduced in l968, is quite different from traditional white tea, and is not covered in this standard.