All About White Tea
White tea is minimally processed with a delicate and subtle flavor.
What is White Tea?
White tea is made from the youngest and most tender leaves and buds on the Camellia sinensis plant. Its name derives from the fine white hairs that cover the unopened buds of the tea plant. White tea is the least processed of all tea types and is made by withering the leaves and buds in either natural sunlight or a temperature-controlled environment. Minimal processing helps retain the natural antioxidants and nutrients found in tea leaves.
The origins of white tea aren’t well documented, but it’s believed that white tea was first produced in China’s Fujian province over 1,000 years ago. According to legends, a group of tea farmers from the Tang Dynasty accidentally discovered a group of white-haired tea buds growing in the wild. The Tang Dynasty lasted from 618 CE to 907 CE, so one can assume that white tea began gaining in popularity sometime after that.
In fact, white tea became popular among the imperial courts of the Song Dynasty, sometime between 960 CE and 1279 CE. At this time, white tea was considered rare and valuable since it was derived from only the youngest and most tender tea leaves and buds. These buds were carefully handpicked and processed to produce the most delicate, subtle-tasting tea available. Today, white tea is still produced primarily in the Fujian province where it originated. However, other countries such as India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal have joined in white tea production.
Types of White Tea
The most highly prized and expensive type of white tea, Silver Needle is made exclusively from the young buds of the tea plant. It has a sweet, delicate flavor and an almost silver appearance.
This type of white tea is made from both the buds and leaves of the tea plant. Its flavor is slightly stronger than Silver Needle and is described to have a fruity, floral taste.
Tribute Eyebrow is made from tea leaves and buds that are slightly older than the previous two types of white tea. It’s both stronger in flavor and darker in color, often said to have a woody or earthy taste.
This robust and full-bodied tea is made from the leaves and stems of the tea plant. It’s dark in color and boasts a strong, smoky flavor.
Is white tea better for you than other types of tea?
While white tea is known for its high levels of antioxidants, all types of tea have health benefits. The specific benefits depend on factors such as the specific cultivar of the tea plant and the processing methods used.
Does white tea contain caffeine?
Yes, white tea does contain caffeine. The exact amount varies depending on the type of white tea and brewing method used.
What does white tea taste like?
The exact flavor of white tea depends on the type of tea and processing methods, but it is generally described as delicate and light with subtle flavors.
How much white tea can I drink per day?
There is no set recommendation on the amount of white tea you should drink each day, but it’s safe to consume as part of a balanced diet. However, it’s important to remember that white tea does have caffeine and causes adverse effects if consumed in too large a quantity.