White tea is one of the rarest and most prized of all teas. Light, delicate and subtle, this much-loved favourite is the perfect introduction to the world of fine Chinese teas. The least processed of all types of tea, white tea is made by selecting the youngest leaves and silvery buds to create a sweet, dewy flavour. The leaves are simply picked, gently laid out to wither and then expertly dried. However, this simplicity takes great skill and subtlety from the tea master in order to create a truly balanced and nuanced tea.

White tea, like green tea, does contain caffeine, although on average less than black tea. It also undergoes the least amount of processing of all the teas. White tea is perfect for those who love delicate flavours as they offer a complex tasting experience.

The majority of teas after they are picked are left to oxidize. With white teas however, the tea leaves do not oxidize at all. Each leaf is simply plucked and dried, giving white tea its very pale colour and beautiful appearance.

The name ‘white tea’ is rather confusing. We would assume it refers to the light colour of the brewed tea, but actually it’s a nod to the fine silvery-white fluff found mostly on the underside of the tea plant’s youngest buds. To really appreciate the delicate flavours and the dazzling silver buds and leaves, this is a tea that needs to be drunk loose-leaf and the taste will benefit largely if the leaves are brewed with water only about 80C temperatures.

White loose leaf tea

 

 

TYPES OF WHITE TEA

White tea is produced almost exclusively in the Fujian province of China. There are three main types of white tea:

Silver Needle – this tea is made from lustrous, silvery buds (unopened leaf shoots) that are covered in white downy fuzz. It has a subtle, mildly sweet flavour.

White Peony (Pai Mu Tan) – this tea uses the bud along with the two youngest leaves, which contribute to a sweet, mildly grassy taste.

Shou Mei - this tea is made with a non-uniform mix of buds and lower grade leaves; this tea sometimes goes through a light rolling process and light oxidation to deepen the flavor. It is floral and fruity to taste, similar to a green tea.

 

 

OUR TOP 5 WHITE TEA PICKS

Here at Cup of Tea we love white teas and are always sampling and trying new flavours in the office. We have put together our 5 favourite white teas to share with you:

 

1. China White Yin Zhen Silver Needle Organic

An absolute classic – luxurious, ornate and delicate.

China White Yin Zhen Silver Needle Organic

 

The Lowdown: Silver Needle has to be one of the most beautiful teas. The regal silver spears produce a high quality white tea with stunning yet gentle floral notes. It is an enviably smooth and soothing cup. One of the most sought after and valuable teas worldwide.

Taste: Fine, flowery, naturally sweet

Tea Garden: Quingsham tea garden, Hunan, China

How to brew: 1 heaped teaspoon of tea per cup, 85C water (leave boiling water to cool for 2-3 mins before infusing), 3-4 mins brewing time.

Price: £28.90 for a 100g bag 

 

 

2. Silver Yunnan Organic

An exceptional striking tea – subtle but full flavoured

Silver Yunnan Organic

 

The Lowdown: A white tea speciality, this tea has bright and silvery leaf buds which develop a full flavoured taste with a soft, yet fruity touch and a subtle flowery finish.

Taste: Fruity with a flowery finish

Tea growing area: Yunnan, China

How to brew: 1 levelled teaspoon of tea per cup, 85C water (leave boiling water to cool for 2-3 mins before infusing), 2-3 mins brewing time.

Price: £6.60 for a 50g bag 

 

 

3. Pai Mu Tan (White Peony) Organic

The perfect entry level to white tea – mild but distinctive

Pai Mu Tan Organic 

 

The Lowdown: A high quality white tea with a sweet aroma of freshness and light spice with a bright, golden-yellow cup.

Taste: Fragrant, flowery, fine and aromatic

Tea growing area: Fujian, China

How to brew: 1 heaped teaspoon of tea per cup, 85C water (leave boiling water to cool for 2-3 mins before infusing), 2-3 mins brewing time.

Price: £4.50 for a 50g bag 

 

 

4. White Mango Dream

Flavoured white tea – delicate and sweet

White Mango Dream

 

The Lowdown: A light, refreshing and delicious flavoured white tea. Composed using a white Pai Mu Tan and the scent of ripe melon and a hint of citrus. This tea has been carefully picked and processed with a light and fragrant taste.

Taste: Ripe melon and a touch of lemon

Tea growing area: China

How to brew: 1 heaped teaspoon of tea per cup, 85C water (leave boiling water to cool for 2-3 mins before infusing), 2-3 mins brewing time.

Price: £3.40 for a 50g bag 

 

 

5. China White Snow Dragon Organic

Exceptional organic white tea – sparkling and fresh

China White Snow Dragon Organic

The Lowdown: A superb white tea hand picked during the Spring harvest. Only the young buds with silvery white downy fluff are harvested to create this exceptional tea/ Tea leaves are processed in a similar way to green tea; withering, steaming, rolling, firing and cooling then gentle hand rolling of the leaves giving this tea a beautiful appearance.

Taste: Sparkling with fresh tasting notes

Tea Garden: Dongzhai, China

How to brew: 1 heaped teaspoon of tea per cup, 85C water (leave boiling water to cool for 2-3 mins before infusing), 2-3 mins brewing time.

Price: £19.90 for a 100g bag 

 

 

HOW TO BREW WHITE TEA

The delicate character of white tea can easily be lost if the leaves are infused with water that is too hot. White tea should be treated like green tea and only be brewed with water that has boiled and cooled to around 85C.

Because of the fluffy, airy nature of modern white teas, a large heaped teaspoon of leaves per cup should be used. White tea is also suitable for repeat infusing of up to three times. The first infusion should be the shortest of around 90 seconds and can extend up to 2-3 minutes for the final steeping.

The standard process is as follows:

Boil fresh water and leave to cool slightly.

Place your white tea in a tea strainer or infuser

Pour the freshly cooled hot water over the tea

Steep the tea for the appropriate amount of time

Strain the tea

Sit back, relax and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by cup of tea admin
28th March 2018

Back to news