What Is White Tea?

str-starfr-leaves-2-web

Many things—when magnified—look amazing, and tea is no exception!

This lovely tea is Strawberry Starfruit white tea, a lovely mixture of white tea, candied papaya cubes, freeze-dried starfruit and strawberry pieces, pink cornflowers—components you can clearly see!

The other interesting thing about this tea is the white tea leaf base. The fuzzy, white-silver tips or buds are interspersed with brown to olive green whole leaves.

White Teas

Of all the types of tea produced, white teas are the least oxidized. Care is taken so that the buds and leaves are not crushed, rolled, or bruised because damage to the leaves causes oxidation. After plucking, the buds and/or leaves are withered so that moisture evaporates, and then they are dried.

Traditional

silver-needle-crop-web

Traditionally, white tea consists of the buds of Camellia senensis. Because these buds retain their minute hairs, as shown here, they are silver in appearance. Not surprisingly, this tea is known as Silver Needle.

New Style

For “new style” white tea, young, open leaves are plucked, as shown below.

white-tea-crop-web

After steeping, the new style white tea leaves look pretty much the same as before they were steeped, as shown in these examples:

bl-buckle_wet_crop-web  str-van-wet_crop-web

Savoring White Teas

Whether traditional or new style, white teas are subtle and delicate; when iced, they are refreshing and light. They often lend themselves to re-infusions.

Like other teas, the caffeine levels vary among white teas. For the best flavor, be sure to follow brewing instructions for water temperature.

If you haven’t tried white tea before, summer is a great time to enjoy their lightness!


All teas shown above are available from TeaHaus

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