White Tea
White tea is produced on a very limited scale in China (originally in Fujian Province) and Sri Lanka. It undergoes the least processing and is naturally oxidised. The new buds are plucked before they open, are withered to allow the natural moisture to evaporate, and then dried. The curled-up buds have a silvery appearance (and are sometimes referred as silver tip) and give a very pale, straw-coloured liquor.

To produce the finest quality white teas, only the buds are picked over a very short period of two weeks when the weather is most favourable. It is one the most tricky teas to produce because of its vulnerability to weather conditions. The rarity of white tea is therefore determined by the short harvesting period each year and by the fineness of the plucking.

Bai Mu Dan (White Peony)

This rare white tea is made from very small buds and leaves that are plucked in the early spring, just before they open. When they have been steamed and dried, they have the appearance of lots of miniature bunches of small white blossoms with tiny leaves.

This white tea comes from Fujian province and gives a clear, pale infusion with a fresh aroma and a smooth velvety flavour.

Yin Zhen (Silver Needles)

This tea, also from Fujian province, is made from tender new buds that are covered in silver-white hairs. Because of its silvery appearance, white tea is sometimes sold as Silvery Tip Pekoe, China White, or Fujian White.

This is the perfect white tea. The leaves, which really do look like silver needles, are picked on only two days a year and are processed entirely by hand. It is very expensive but wonderful.

White Tea and Natural Antioxidants

As white tea comes from the same tea plant (Camelia Sinensis) as green tea, it is also rich in the tea polyphenols that are highly beneficial for our health and body. Since white tea is least processed of all the tea types, it is said that the antioxidant level is at the highest.

Please read Tea and Natural Antioxidants to learn more on the health properties of tea.

Sources:

  • Lydia Gautier. Tea - Exotic Flavours & Aromas. Switzerland: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2006.
  • All About Tea. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Cuisine, 2005.
  • Jane Pettigrew. The Connoisseur's Guide to Tea - Discover the World's Most Exquisite Tea Leaves. United Kingdom: Apple Press, 2007.
 
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