What is white tea?
White tea is also called ‘baicha’ in Chinese. White tea is made from the unfurled and youngest buds of the wonderful tree Camellia Sinensis. White appearance of white tea is because of silver hairs that cover the young buds.
It is the least processed tea and has more antioxidants than green tea. The color of the white tea is snowy silver or pale yellow and gives fresh and light delicate flavor. It is an expensive tea brand as the production process is very laborious and costly.
As per Merriam-Webster, the answer to what is white tea –
“White tea is the tea that is light in color and made from buds and immature leaves that are covered with fine white hairs and undergo little to no oxidation before drying”.
To know Wikipedia definition of what is white tea click here
White tea History
White tea was first produced in Fujian province of China. When we look back to history we find the mention of white tea and its manufacturing process in the book “Treaties on tea” written by Chinese Emperor Huizong. As per historical data, white tea was first prepared and consumed by the Chinese Song Dynasty.
At present, China tops the list of white tea producing countries. Other white tea producing countries are India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Taiwan.
White tea benefits
White tea is rich in pharmacological components. It contains polyphenols, various types of vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron and zinc. Because of these rich elements, many researches and population studies suggest to have white tea for good health.
Basic white tea types
Further white tea is divided into two basic types of teas and both are quite different in taste and aroma.
- Silver Needle White Tea (Bai Hao Yin Zhen) – Only the single unfurled buds of Camellia Sinensis tree (Chinese variety) are plucked to manufacture this type of white tea. It looks like silver needles when the manufacturing process is over. Silver Needle white tea gives a very good refreshing taste and sweet aroma when brewed. Most probably, in 1885, this type of tea was developed using modern manufacturing techniques.
- White Peony White Tea (Bai Mu Dan) – Here, the unfurled buds along with two most young leaves are taken to produce white peony tea. This type of tea was first developed in 1922. The liquor of white peony white tea looks bright and golden and gives a delicate taste with a light flavor.
White tea manufacturing process
White tea making process includes selecting and plucking unfurled buds. Then the plucked buds are put in the process of withering up to 72 hours in carefully controlled outdoor or indoor environment.
This type of tea process reduces the moisture content from the fresh buds and the buds become flaccid and rubbery. The quality of white tea depends upon the process of withering.
After that, the withered buds go through drying process in between the temperature ranging from 650C to 1100C.
This process includes sun drying, air drying and pan heating to stop fermentation and mold growth. White tea is ready to consume after this drying process is over.
Commercial categorization of white tea
White tea is commercially categorized in many types based on producing region as per geographical locations, manufacturing style, and taste and aroma profile. The most popular white tea types are-
- Darjeeling white tea READ MORE
- Moonlight white READ MORE
- Shou Mei READ MORE
- Silver Needle
- Snow Buds READ MORE
- White Matcha READ MORE
- White peony tea READ MORE
If you are a tea lover, then you should taste these wonderful white tea brands. Each brand has different texture, taste, and aroma profile.