Tea is awesome, but at the same time it's super complex! Some of our readers/ clients already know what White Tea is, but some might not. And it's never too late to gain more knowledge.
Like all other teas, white tea is also made from Camellia Sinensis. However, white tea is minimally processed and is rather young. Plus it's not rolled or oxidised, and this gives it its smooth and light character.
Some say that it was the first type of tea ever consumer, but other sources say otherwise. However, it is definitely one of the oldest varieties of tea.
• Bai Hao Yin Zhen or Silver Needles is the finest grade of white tea.
• Bai Mu Dan or White Peony consists of leaves that are largely unbroken and should still have a green hue.
• Shou Mei or Longevity Eyebrow consists of leaves that are more broken and may be a bit more brownish in color.
• Gong Mei or Tribute Eyebrowconsists of leaves that are mostly broken and brown in color. It is also the lowest grade of white tea.
How it's made
Fresh tea leaf → withering → drying (air drying, solar drying or mechanical drying) → white tea
White tea belongs to the group of tea that does not require panning, rolling or shaking. However, the selection of raw material in white tea manufacture is extremely stringent; only the plucking of young tea leaves with a lot of fine hair can produce good-quality white tea.
White tea is supposed to be brewed at slightly lower temperatures compared to traditional Blacks or Greens because of the sensitive nature of its young leaves. Best is to steep at temperatures somewhere between 85-95º C for 3-4 minutes to get the optimum flavour and benefits.
Because of it's light flavour profile, it also makes for a great base for some summer iced drinks. Add in some fresh fruits, flowers or spices to suit your taste. To know the best way of preparing crazy-awesome Iced Teas, head to our tutorial here.