White Tea Facts – Learn About Your Favorite Tea
White tea, the champagne of tea! This is a delicious and unique tea that is comprised of the young tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis tea tree. Each spring in the Northern district of Fujian, China these leaves are harvested. This champagne of tea can only be harvested from the Fujian region to be considered TRUE white tea.
This is a process that is done with very fine care and diligency. The environment cannot be too humid or wet as this will even alter the leaves.The name comes from the white shell around the leaves that is normally shed, which is why the conditions must be perfect!
Read on to keep learning more white tea facts!
This tea can be dated back to 618 – 907 AD in the Tang Dynasty. Not many references are found for what the Tang Dynasty offered for the tea, but in 920 the Song Dynasty popularized it.
From 920 – 1269 AD, the Song Dynasty revered white tea. This was a symbol of power and typically only drank by the emperor himself. It was so special that only virgins dawning white gloves could present the tea to the emperor! One emperor, Hui Zong, became so obsessed with the tea that he lost sight of the important parts of ruling and almost destroyed his empire!
After the Song Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) introduced the tea as a loose-leaf option. This altered the tea to what we know it as today.
Today white tea is popular around the world and can be drank by all (not just royalty)!
White tea is actually the LEAST processed tea of all! As mentioned, the tea is grown very particullarly and harvested under proper conditions, but post harvest there is little to be done.
The first step post harvest is to wither the leaves. This is done so by allowing the leaves to be kept at dormant conditions for 3 days. In contrast, green tea is withered for only a few hours!
This withering of the tea allows natural enzymes in the leaves to react and form the sweeter, lighter taste that white tea has!
The next, and final, step is drying. This is very simple and only takes an hour or so. The withered leaves are oven dried to reduce the water content to less than 5%. After which the leaves are ready for consumption!
Not mentioned was during the harvesting process, the leaves are specifically chosen at different times to allow for unique varieties of white tea!
When harvesting, the tea leaves are inspected for certain characteristics. In general, the more buds the leaf has, the younger it is, the higher the quality of white tea! This is why spring time is the best to harvest, although not necessarily the only time.
Here are a few of the white tea varieties:
Silver Needle (Yi Zhen Bai Hao): The highest quality of the white tea varieties! Named for its long, need-like leaves with silver tips. It has a light, sweet and woodsy taste. (Pictured – Top)
White Peony (Bai Mu Dan): Very close in quality to the Silver Needle, it has a shimmery, golden color. It consists of two leaves as well. It has a longer linger to its flavor that is sweet, nutty and slightly roasted tasting.
Tribute Eyebrow (Gongmei): Lesser standing in quality than the Silver Needle and White Peony, but still excellent! It has a darker, bolder and fuller taste. (Pictured – Middle)
Noble, Long Life Eyebrow (Shou Mei): This consists of any leaves deemed unsuitable for the Silver Needle and White Peony quality. These leaves are picked later in the season resulting in greater oxidation. This results in a darker and bolder flavor.
Fujian New Craft (DaBaiCha): This type was created as a way of keeping up with the demand of white tea! This is the most processed white tea, resulting in further oxidation. This allows it to have the appearance of a black tea, yet a softer fragrance like a white tea. (Pictured – Bottom)
Want to try some white tea? Click here to try out Art of Tea’s white tea selection!
Other Quick Facts
Here are a few more white tea facts!
- There is typically about 30 – 55mg of caffeine per serving.
- Due to the low processing of the leaves, this tea has high EGCG content which is a healthy polyphenol.
- EGCG can aid in weight loss, heart disease prevention, osteoperosis prevention, possible cancer prevention and more!
- May help prevent aging of your skin.
- Helps kill bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath.
- May help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.
- So much more!
The Magic of White Tea
White tea is the champagne of the tea family. To be considered true white tea it must come from Fujian, China. This tea comes in many shapes, flavors and sizes depending on the season the leaves are harvested.
Not only is this tea a delicious mood booster, but it provides a host of delicious antioxidants and health benefits!
Check out Art of Tea’s selection of white teas here so you can get all the wonderful tastes and benefits for yourself!
Let me know what your favorite white tea fact is in the comments below!