The fragrance of white tea is the feeling of existing in the mists that float over water…
— C. Joybell C.
White tea is known as one of the most delicate of teas. For white tea use is made of the young buds and the not yet fully unfolded first leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). The buds are still covered with fine white hairs, which explains the name "white" tea.
These new buds and leaves from the tea plant are picked by hand and then dried quickly and carefully so that the leaves don't oxidise as happens when making green and black tea. This minimal processing and low oxidation results in a refined and fresh tea. The longer tea leaves are exposed to oxygen (oxidation), the darker the leaves become and the deeper the flavor profile is developed.
The white tea we know today was first produced from the very first white tea plant varieties discovered in China's Fujian province in the 18th century: Da Bai and Da Hao. Today, many countries outside of China grow their own versions of white tea from other tea plant varieties.
White tea has a subtle taste, slightly sweet and floral. Just like green tea, white tea is very healthy. For example, white tea contains even more polyphenols than green tea. Polyphenols are antioxidants that renew cells in the body. In addition, white tea contains fluoride which prevents tooth decay and the tea is low in caffeine.
Curious about the loose white tea that The Smallest House has in stock? Then we invite you to have a look at our collection.
Origins of White Tea
Unlike green tea, the origin of white tea is "fairly recent." Only in the 10th century N.C. tea came in vogue among the Song Dynasty in China. Since recent years, tea has become popular outside China.
Production of White Tea
White tea is made from the youngest buds of the Camellia Sinensis (tea plant). These buds are picked within 48 hours after they are formed. After this they are wilted and dried in the sun. This process is carried out only once a year. Hence, white tea is relatively expensive. The production of white tea takes place mainly in the Chinese province of Fujian.
Brewing tips for White tea
Like green tea, white tea can't cope well with too hot water. Too hot water can burn the tea leaves.
Water needs to be between 70 ºC - 80 ºC (158 °F - 176 °F) before it is poured over the tea leaves. For a number of white teas, the set temperature of the water is even lower. Please note the data sheet of the corresponding white tea!
The average brewing time for white tea is between 1 and 3 minutes.