Knowing that I am going to drink white tea makes me excited. White tea comes from the same plant as Green Tea – Camellia sinensis. Among all teas, white tea is the least processed with only two main steps: hand plucking and drying (optional aging). As such, it maintains a high level of polyphenol phytochemicals including the catechin which are believed to be responsible for the health benefits of the tea.
White tea has two meanings in Chinese culture – the way it is processed and tea that has a lighter color. For example – HER-CHA Green tea comes from Anji. In China, this tea is referred to as Anji Bai Cha (Anji white tea), even though it is technically a green tea based on the way it is processed. On the other hand, HER-CHA wild white is a white tea coming from Wuyi Natural Conservation. In this blog, I am referring to the latter type of white tea.
White tea can be very expensive due to the tea selection, large physical location requirement, and artisanal skills. Moreover, these simply dried, lightly oxidated leaves preserve the most authentic quality of the original plants, and therefore makes it hard to mask. As such, it is not a very attractive tea type for mass producers.
There is something special about white tea. It always amazes me how dried leaves can produce such complex and diverse flavor and taste profiles. When I am offered a cup of white tea, the first question I ask after saying “thank you” is – what kind of white tea is it? If they offer me aged White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) or Shou Mei, ahh this is where the fun begins. Brewed the right way, white tea can transfer our feelings to another level.
With slight variation in water, steeping temperature, the time of the day and my mood, the same white tea can reveal different flavor profiles, which always amazes me. It is something that you miss whenever you stay apart from it for a longer time.
– Written by Andy Hakobyan