White Tea: the sublime tea drinking experience.
In the China Dynasty of Song (960-1279), white tea was revered. Chinese people used to ground the white leaves into a silvery powder. This was an inspiration for the Japanese tea ceremony “Cha No Yu” with Matcha. This method had been abandoned in China for several years now.
White tea comes from Camelia Sinensis and grows primarily in the Fujian and Zehjian provinces of China. The main categories of White tea in China are the Bai Hao Yin Zhen and Bai Mu Dan. They are lightly oxidized. After being picked, white loose leaves are withered and drying in the sunlight. The name “white tea” derives from the fine silvery-white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which gives the plant a whitish appearance. In the cup it gives a yellow pale liquor and a smooth floral flavour. It must brew for 5 or 10 minutes in spring water boiled at 85°. Water too hot could ruin all the vitamins contained in white tea. This tea contains more antioxidants than all other types of tea as it has been exposed to the least amount of processing. It is renowned in China to cure cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes and arthrosis. White teas also help with weight management and hydration to the body.
Bai Hao Yin Zhen named as White Hair Silver Needle is acknowledged to be the best white tea in the world as he contains only top buds (a traditional budset white tea). This tea is low produced because of a manufacture process difficult to manage. To get only 1 kg of White Needles, producers have to pick 120 000 buds. They are generally picked in early April during the first flush of young buds. Then they are laid into shallow basket to wilt under the sun or in a warm chamber. Once lightly oxidized, the buds are given a low temperature bake-dry.
Bai Mu Dan (Pai Mu Tan), literally White Peony is a type of white tea which contains buds picked with two young leaves. It gives generally a more full-bodied character than other white teas. Bai Mu Dan gives a pale green or golden brew and has a floral aroma which remain the peony fragrance. You also will notice fruity and grassy flavours. It tastes fresh and mellow.
White teas’ production has also extended to Anhui, Zhejiang and Yunnan provinces of China. Famous growing areas of India such as Assam and Darjeeling have also developed considerable skills in the production of superb white teas.
See our website catalogue page for White Teas.