Shop online for loose-leaf white teas sourced directly from the artisan farmers who tender them. Varieties include Silver Needle, White Peony, and other gourmet teas. White tea is the most subtle of all tea types, using only the finest leaves from each tea bush with a minimal amount of processing. It contains the highest amount of antioxidants and shares many chemical compounds with green tea. Our direct-trade advantage ensures superior taste, freshness, and value.
What is White Tea?
White tea is making from the buds and young shoots of the tea bush (Camellia Sinensis). This name comes from the thin silvery-white fibers on the unopened buds of the plant. It gives the buds a silvery-white color. The brewed tea itself, despite the name, has a pale yellow tint.
The history of white tea
Today, no one can say with complete certainty when precisely white tea appeared. The opinions of experts studying this issue differ: someone attributes the emergence of this drink to the sixth century AD, someone to the twelfth century, someone is inclined to argue that white tea in its current form has existed for no more than a couple of centuries, but most scientists - tea experts tend to assume that white tea has been drunk in China for more than four thousand years.
The confusion in timing was because white tea was not considering as a tea. It served as a medicine.
How is white tea made?
As mentioned above, the basis of white tea is the most tender and young leaves of the tea bush and the buds that have not yet opened (tips). There is a myth. The raw materials should be collecting only from special bushes and in a specific region of China. In reality, this is not the case: in white tea, the main thing is that it is young shoots and tips that are using, and the technology of manufacturing the product is also dominant, assuming minimal interference with natural processes.
The fewer leaves in tea and the more tips, the better such a product is considered and the more expensive it is. The pricey varieties of white tea contain only tips.
Where is white tea collected?
Most of the white tea is grown in one region. In the mountains of the Chinese province of Fujian, at an altitude of 1000 meters and above. It is there that nature has created the best conditions for the growth of a tea bush. It contributes to producing many tips and young shoots. However, there are many varieties of white tea. The raw materials for these teas are grown in other provinces of China. Also, the alternative types of white tea are producing in other countries: suppliers of this product are, for example, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The taste of this tea is very different from the Chinese. Because originally homeland is another territory. The Chinese white tea is considered a real premium drink.
How is white tea made?
The main difference between white tea and all the others is the most careful processing of raw materials. Such tea does not undergo fermentation but is only drying under conditions close to natural.
The harvesting begins in March when the first leaves and tips appear on the tea bushes, covered with delicate white fibers. These villi are the natural protection of the future leaves from the cold of early spring. The weather must be perfect during the white tea harvest, like rain, frost, or strong winds can screw up the bushes. The collection takes place manually.
Leaf withering is a natural process that requires a lot of attention and skill. Freshly picked leaves and tips are left dormant for about three days to dry completely.
Drying usually takes place in the open air. Raw materials are placing on special pallets in the sun and the shade alternately. Then, if necessary, dried under moderately hot air in an oven. Sometimes you have to dry the tea in the special oven from start to finish, but this is a necessary measure, which they try to avoid whenever possible. In general, drying is an even more difficult stage than withering. The slightest deviations in temperature can spoil the product.
Sorting allows you to select the best parts (buds, also called tips) for premium tea (Bai Hao Yin Zhen), slightly less valuable (tips and first leaves) go into tea in a lower category, but still elite (Bai Mu Dan). Raw materials, which contain a minimum of buds and more leaves, become the basis for simple white teas (Shou Mei and Gong Mei).
The finished product using like loose tea, but in some cases, it is pressing into pancakes similar to Pu-erh pancakes.
What does white tea taste like? And how it looks?
White tea, consisting only of buds (tips), is characterized by an oblong shape that resembles needles. The needles are light gray, slightly greenish. They are soft to the touch, and the villi are visible on them. White tea containing leaves looks a little different - it can be greener in appearance, and needles make up only part of its mass.
When brewed, white tea gives a pale yellow, transparent honey (also called peach) infusion. The taste is dominating by herbal and floral notes with fruity and honey hints.
Types of white tea
There are four main types of Chinese white tea. All of them are considered elite and have a high price. However, there are more expensive (premium) and reasonable (conventional) ones. Regular white teas are more common and more affordable - these varieties are creating from the leaves and tips left in the factory after the production of premium tea.
Yi Zhen Bai Hao (Silver Needle) is a premium variety that contains tips without any leaves in the mix. It is the most expensive and most valuable type since only tips are using for production, among white teas.
Bai Mu Dan (White Peony) - high-quality white tea, contains tips and few leaves. Only the top ones go into this tea, two leaves starting to bloom from each branch.
Shou Mei (Elder's eyebrows) - plain white tea, contains fewer top leaves and more ordinary ones, as well as tips.
Gong Mei (Tribute Eyebrow) is a plain white tea composed of ordinary leaves and some tips.
Separately, we should say about the existence of old white tea. It is distinguished by many years of aging and has a very high price. It is almost impossible to buy old white tea (10 years and older) in a regular or even specialty store. This variety usually selling at auctions, where its value can go up to $ 100,000 per 100 g (100-year-old tea).
Old white tea has an exquisitely refined taste that appears precisely due to long storage in unique conditions. As a rule, the premium Yi Zhen Bai Hao becomes the basis for it.
How to steep white tea?
Try to brew white tea with water no higher than 170 degrees (preferably 140-150 degrees). This temperature will keep the maximum amount of nutrients in the leaves and tips. Turn off the kettle before the water reaches boiling point. If you already have it to 212 degrees, let it cool down a little.
Choose clean, filtered water for brewing. To do this, you can take high-quality water from a bottle or clean it yourself if a home filter allows you to achieve a good result. It is not recommending to take purchased mineral or highly mineralized water - such water distorts the taste of tea.
There is an opinion that any Chinese tea should be steeping in a clay teaware. Any good ceramic or glass teapot will do. The most important thing is that it is clean, with no residues of previous brewing and its traces on the walls. Do not use metal or plastic teaware. If you use a clay teapot, it should be a separate teapot only for white tea (clay can “remember” tastes)
Warm up the water and rinse the teapot with it to remove traces of previous brews and possible dust particles. It will also warm up your pot, which will improve the taste of the finished tea later.
Put tea leaves in the teapot at the rate of 1-2 teaspoons per 5 oz of water.
Pour a little hot water over the tea leaves and drain immediately. This rinsing of the tea will remove any dirt and dust from the leaves and buds.
Pour hot water over the tea leaves and let it steep for 20 seconds to 5 minutes (to taste). But beware of over-extraction: if tea is steeping in hot water for too long, it may lose its delicate notes and become sharper, with a bitter taste. It is also important to remember that premium white teas made from tips only take longer to brew (5 minutes is a good time).
Refill the tea with hot water for a more tasty and healthy drink. Good white tea withstands up to 4 infusions.
Health benefits and side-effects of white tea
White tea is considered a real treasure trove of health: it has many beneficial properties and very few side effects, mainly related to the caffeine content. The main difference between white tea and the other five classic teas is its unusually high vitamin content.
The benefits of white tea
White tea contains catechins (EC, ECg, EGC, and EGCg), vitamins (A, B, C, E, P), and amino acids. Thanks to this composition, it will be great for:
Improves oral health ;
Amps up fat burning;
May kill cancer cells;
Protects brain health;
Improves reproductive health;
Reduces cholesterol level;
High in antioxidants
White tea can be a welcome guest on your table if you care about your health and prefer to prevent rather than cure illness. The components contained in it can significantly reduce the risk of body illnesses. Also, white tea helps you feel better even if you already have some medical conditions (bacterial or viral infections, diabetes, heart, vision, or digestive problems). This tea is recommending as a life-prolonging and anti-aging agent. White tea has a positive effect on the nervous system and brain function: it simultaneously tones and relaxes, allowing you to better focus on mental work or immerse yourself in meditation.
The side-effects of white tea
White tea contains caffeine (like all Camellia-Sinensis leaves ), it is not recommending to give to young children. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should consume limited amounts of white tea (no more than 2 cups a day). Also, white tea should be drinking with caution by people who have an increased sensitivity to caffeine.
People with gastritis and hypertension should use white tea with caution or exclude it from their diet.
How to store white tea
The storage of white tea is principal since the taste of the finished drink directly depends on it. Try to follow these rules:
Store your tea in an airtight container that will prevent the aroma fizzles out.
Keep tea out of direct sunlight. If you cannot put it in a closed cabinet, choose an opaque container.
Avoid keeping tea with highly aromatic products such as spices.
White tea does not like contact with oxygen - in the air, it oxidizes and changes its taste. Try to close the jar or bag tightly after each brew.
The shelf life of white tea does not have clear standards. The Chinese themselves can withstand it for several years before selling.