White Tea

December 27, 2016

White Tea

The origin of White tea can be traced to China’s Fujian province, and it’s three regions; Fuding, Zhenghe and Jianyang. White teas are usually divided into two groups, those made from the silvery Yin Zhen buds, and those made from a blend of leaves and buds.  

White tea is the least processed of all teas.  Neither rolled or shaped while in production, White tea is made from new buds that are picked before they open. The silver and velvet appearance is due to the tiny white hairs on the underside of each curled leaf.  Young tea leaves are then left to wither for several days before they are dried.  Withering, a natural process that reduces the water content of the tea leaves begins as soon as the leaf is plucked.  The longer the wither, the less water left in the leaf.   Traditionally, withering is performed outdoors, under a canvas or tarp, but in modern facilities forced air can be used to wither the leaves as well.  No matter how the the tea is produced, the goal is the same – to bring out the aroma and highlight the flavor that white teas are known for.  White tea produces a tonic of a golden or pale appearance, “clearer” than other teas, but because it is the least processed, it will typically contain a stronger aroma.  It is described as a smoother, gentler flavor, one that is perfect for any time of day.

Minimal processing also means that White tea retains more of it's naturally occurring elements.   That equals huge health benefits that are proven to be truer every day.  It is believed that White tea:  

  • Fights inflamation by fighting free radicals so as to alleviate body aches, arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Helps to fight cancer and stop the spread of cancer cells
  • Thins the blood, thus improving cardiovascular health 

As a result, doctors and nutritionists alike will commonly prescribe white teas as a part of overall diet for optimal health and wellness.

When brewing White tea boil the water a little cooler than when preparing other types.  Since the leaves are a bit denser, you might be tempted to steep it with the same rolling boil many teas call for.  But don’t confuse water temperature with brewing time.   Hotter water will make those buds expand faster, and extract the elements sooner slightly burning the delicate white leaf.  Does that affect the taste?  That depends on your palate.  Certainly tea connoseiours will agree, be gentle with your white tea.  Heat the water to just before the boiling point, look for those faint (champagne like) bubbles, then pour and steep.   Remember also, not to over steep your tea.  Time and again, people turn away from tea as a choice because they tried it once and it was bitter or astringent.   Most teas need only 2-5 minutes and then be sure to take the leaves out of your steeping vessel.  We steep our whites, 2 minutes on the dot.   But, certainly, you can experiment with different brewing times to find your preference.  You are bound to find a significant difference in the taste, aroma and aftertaste as you begin to experiment. The fun of tea is finding your perfect taste profile - enjoy!  

Sounds like it's time to celebrate the New Year, doesn’t it?  We love White tea around here, and we have been celebrating the holiday season with a few of our favorites.  White Christmas and White Raspberry Champagne.  Both in taste and aroma your senses will immediately remind you of your favorite holiday gatherings.   Get our seasonal White tea's while supplies last. 

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Have you found your “perfect” temperature and brewing time?  Comment here and share your thoughts.  Enjoy!    




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