What is White Tea?
White tea is one of the most minimally processed teas! The leaves are harvested before the tea plant’s leaves have opened fully. The young leaves have little white hairs, hence the name, white tea.
White tea originates from China during the Chinese imperial dynasties (600 AD – 1300). The tea was a currency for the developing country and it was brought to the emperor as a tribute. White tea was a rare delicacy that was sometimes grown in secret gardens. Since white tea is created from very young buds, the risk of transporting them was very high since they would spoil.
Unlike black tea, white tea is allowed to oxidize in a controlled for a limited time and then is low heated for a very short period. This minimal processing of white tea creates a soft and delicate flavor unlike black and green tea.
Types of White Tea:
- Silver Needle: The tea comes from large, full buds that are covered with small white hairs. These white/gray hair is what gives the tea its name.
- White Peony: This tea is made out of buds off of the chinese white tea bush.The leaves are mixed with regular white tea leaves and some very young buds that have not opened yet.
- Monkey Picked White Tea: This tea was rumored to be picked by monkeys that were trained by Buddhists from high mountain regions. “Monkey Picked” is a term that is used today to denote the very high quality tea.
- Darjeeling White Tea: Unlike the other teas, this tea originates from India. This tea has a very similar process of the other teas but has a completely different taste.
Caffeine in White Tea:
White Tea has the lowest amount of caffeine compared to all other teas. There are just 15 – 20 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
Storing and Preparing White Tea:
White tea leaves need to be kept in an airtight, opaque container in a cool environment so the taste would not change. The tea can be brewed in high temperature water (about 180 degrees F) for about 3 – 5 minutes.