The first mentions of white tea appear in the late 1800s. As a relatively new style, there is still no internationally agreed upon definition of exactly what white tea is. That said, most people agree that white tea features young, minimally processed leaves from the Camellia Sinesis plant - yep, the very same shrub your Black and Green teas come from!
‘Minimal processing’ means the harvested leaves are not rolled or oxidized, so the finished tea’s flavour and colour are lighter than both green and black teas.
Typically speaking, the leaves for white tea are plucked before the buds fully open. At this tender stage, the buds are still covered in the fine white hairs which lend this tea its name.
By some standards, white tea includes the entire bud, by others, white tea is simply the leaves.
As with black and green teas, leaf selection plays a role in the finished flavour qualities, but how the leaves are processed really make each tea style so unique. White tea is considered the most delicate variety because of its minimal processing.
The basic steps for producing white tea are:
→ pluck very young tea leaves
→ allow them to wither without any of the rolling and twisting that cause the leaves to oxidize (this is required when producing black tea!)
→ dry the leaves with hot air or in the sun.
What about Caffeine?
Despite the common belief that white tea has the lowest caffeine of all the true teas, it actually may not! The latest research is showing that the biggest contributing factors to how much caffeine is in your mug are; how hot your water is, and how long you steep your leaves for. It is recommended to steep white tea at a lower temperature than black tea.
Also known by the name Silvery Tip Pekoe, brewed white tea is pale yellow. Most white teas are still handpicked and hand processed, making them a true work of art for you to appreciate with every sip.
We hope now that your brain is full of knowledge about white tea, you'll enjoy drinking it even more.
Fine art. Ancient history. Totally delicious!
💚 Steep well.