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White Tea

Wikipedia: White_tea | Teaviews: white-tea 
Last Updated: Mar. 16, 2015 

About White Tea

Loose-leaf silver needle white tea, silvery buds covered in downy white hairSilver needle or bai hao yinzhen is a white tea consisting exclusively of tips or leaf buds.
White tea, called baicha(白茶) in Chinese, is a type of tea that is produced by letting the leaves wither and wilt, then drying them. Unlike green tea, white tea is not heated to kill the enzymes that cause oxidation.

Although this means that white tea is less processed than green tea, the lack of heating allows some oxidation to occur, creating a slightly darker color than most green teas, and less of the vibrant green color.

Different definitions of white tea

There is no universally accepted definition of white tea; the classification of teas as either white or green can be subjective, especially for intermediate types of tea such as snow buds (xue ya). Sometimes, white teas are classified as a sub-type of green tea, since most white teas are mostly unoxidized, but we believe that classifying them in different categories is more accurate because their production process is distinct, and because they are often more oxidized than typical green tea.

Some organizations, including some tea companies, and the Tea Association of the U.S.[1], define white tea so as to only include teas including leaf tips or buds, which excludes most of the darkest-colored white teas; we do not use this definition since these teas are still minimally processed like other white teas.

Flavor and aroma

Loose-leaf tea with large olive green and brown leaves, and silver, downy tipsSome white teas, like this large-leaf tea from India, have a darker color, reflecting more oxidation of the leaf.
White tea is often described as having a very subtle and delicate aroma, but this is not always true. White teas are quite diverse, with some styles, like shou mei being rich and dark, often described as similar to oolong.

Lighter white teas have aromatic notes, like melon, that are uncommon in other types of teas. White teas often lack the grassy characteristics of green teas, and they lack both the toasty character of pan-fired or baked green teas, as well as the vegetal characteristics of steamed teas. Darker white teas often have aromas resembling autumn leaves.

The flavor and aromas of white teas are particularly diverse if you look at types outside the historical centers of production in Fujian province.

Origins and production

White tea originated in China, and most of the world's white tea is produced there, a large portion of it in Fujian province, particularly, in the northern parts, including Fuding and Zhenghe. However, in recent years, due to the surging popularity of white tea, white teas have become available from numreous other regions, including India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Kenya, and Malawi.

Some of these teas emulate traditional Chinese styles, especially silver needle, and sometimes white peony. Others, however, are novel, fitting into the broader traditions and production methods of white tea but taking on a character of their own.

Caffeine content of white tea: myths and reality

Many websites claim that white tea contains less caffeine than black or green teas. This is a widespread myth; the caffeine content of white teas, like other teas, varies greatly from one tea to the next. White teas with a large portion of buds, such as silver needle, tend to have more caffeine than those with a larger portion of mature leaves, as the young tips are highest in caffeine. As white teas, particularly those made exclusively of tips, are very mild in flavor, they can also be brewed very strongly, resulting in a very high caffeine content of the brewed cup.

References:

1. About Tea: Glossary of Terms, Tea Association of the United States of America, Retrieved Sep. 26, 2011.

Recent White Tea Reviews — RSS rss icon

88 / 100
Picture of Pearl Jasmine

Pearl Jasmine from A.C. Perch's Thehandel

Style: White Tea – Region: China
Mar. 6th, 2020

Half-litre pot at home, made from 20 small pearls of handrolled Dragon Phoenix white tea leaves and jasmine leaves, which unfold into one-inch-long leaves during the brewing. The first cup pours clear pale straw with no sediment; the colour grown darker with each cup, and the last cup does have a small amount of sedime...

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90 / 100

Half-litre pot at home. Pours clear and nearly colourless, with just a faint touch of pale straw, with no sediment. Mild aroma of white tea with barely discernible hints of some herbal spice. Delicate flavour of white tea, with mild floral and herbal notes. Smooth palate, with bitterish hints. The second cup has more c...

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69 / 100
Picture of White Tea

White Tea from Touch Organic

Style: White Tea – Region: China
Feb. 27th, 2020

Though flavorful for white tea in a teabag, this is still a delicate tea. The dry teabags have a nice scent that smells dry and vegetal, like straw with a hint of dry grass or hay. The description on the box implies (but doesn't explicitly say) that this is white peony, being made up of both leaves and unopened buds. T...

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41 / 100
Picture of Organic Spring Blossom White Tea

This was my first Darjeeling white tea, and it's about as impressive as sitting through an hour-long staff meeting with a well-advertised, nicely dressed, but ultimately monotonic guest speaker droning on about an uninteresting subject.

At first, I was intrigued. The best part of the experience was the dry-bag ar...

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80 / 100
Picture of Nightlife 2017

Nightlife 2017 from white2tea

Style: Moonlight White – Region: ?????
Feb. 9th, 2020

I wasn't feeling well lately. I think I may have caught the flu, which has been going around. I tried a remedy of tea and herbs that often helps me, but it wore of quickly. So, I felt the urge to try some of this white tea, because I remember something I was told by someone regarding white tea being considered medicine...

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Most-Rated White Tea

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White Peony (Bai Mu Dan)

Brand:Two Leaves and a Bud
Style:White Peony Tea
Region:Fujian, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Sachet
28
6 Ratings
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White Peony (Pai Mu Tan)

Brand:Adagio Teas
Style:White Peony Tea
Region:Fujian, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
66
5 Ratings
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Organic White Peony (Bai MuDan) Tea

Brand:TeaVivre
Style:White Peony Tea
Region:Fuding, Fujian, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
69
5 Ratings
Picture of Organic Silver Needle White Tea (Bai Hao Yin Zhen)

Organic Silver Needle White Tea (Bai Hao Yin Zhen)

Brand:TeaVivre
Style:Silver Needle
Region:Fujian, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
66
4 Ratings
Picture of White Tea

White Tea

Brand:Ten Ren Tea
Style:White Tea
Region:Fujian, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
32
4 Ratings

Top-Rated White Tea

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Premium Peony White Tea (100% Organic)

Brand:Prince of Peace
Style:White Peony Tea
Region:Fujian, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
83
3 Ratings
Picture of Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2013

Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2013

Brand:TeaVivre
Style:Shou Mei White Tea
Region:Fuding, Fujian, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Compressed
83
3 Ratings
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Shoumei White Tea

Brand:Foojoy
Style:Shou Mei White Tea
Region:China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
83
3 Ratings
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Organic White Peony (Bai MuDan) Tea

Brand:TeaVivre
Style:White Peony Tea
Region:Fuding, Fujian, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
69
5 Ratings
No image of this tea

White Peony (Pai Mu Tan)

Brand:Adagio Teas
Style:White Peony Tea
Region:Fujian, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
66
5 Ratings

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of White Tea

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