Posts in White Tea
What Is White Tea
 
Aged Snowbud White Tea.  Click to view product.

Aged Snowbud White Tea. Click to view product.

What is White Tea

To describe very briefly, White Tea is a kind of tea that has not undergone any oxidation (fermentation) process. When infused, white tea makes a pale yellow to light amber color cup of tea with delicate, floral and fresh flavor.

Production

Take the most common white tea, White Peony (Pai Mu Tan), as an example. Tea leaves are plucked from a special varietal tea bush called Narcissus or chaicha bushes. Secondly the leaves are not steamed or pan-fired (the process used in green teas). The leaves are naturally withered and dried in the sun. If mechanical drying is required it is a baking process at temperatures less that 40’C. Thirdly only special ‘two leaves and a bud’ are selected. These leaves must show a very light green almost gray white color and be covered with velvet peach fuzz down. White teas that are withered in conditions that are too hot with become reddish and in conditions that are too cold they will become blackish.

Health Benefits

Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute in Oregon tested white teas on selected rats to test for the ability of white teas to inhibit natural mutations in bacteria and to protect the rats from colon cancer. Interestingly, white teas were found to be more effective than green tea in inhibiting the early stages of cancer but researchers were quick to point out that their study was on rats and the effects should not be extrapolated to humans. The researchers also discovered that white tea contains higher levels of caffeine compared to green tea brewed under the same conditions. They suggested that this could occur because white tea oxidizes during withering whereas in green tea the oxidation process is stopped early in the tea making process by steaming or panfiring.

 
 

The western cosmetic industry also has recently discovered the benefits of white tea. In addition to its anticancer properties, tea has a calming and detoxifying effect on the skin. White tea is especially potent in that it is has three times as many antioxidant polyphenols as green or black tea and has been shown to be 100% more effective in mopping up free radicals that cause skin to sag. Some of the world’s top cosmetic companies are becoming very interested in white tea for skin creams and the result is that high grade white tea is becoming even rarer than before.

 
Aged White Tea
Aged (5 years) Silver Needle White Tea

Aged (5 years) Silver Needle White Tea

Aged White tea? Yes. White teas can actually be aged like Puer tea. The Chinese have been aging White teas pretty much since the time they started making White teas. There are two objectives in aging White teas.

First is aging them for medicinal purposes. Chinese believe that aged White teas can be drunk as an herbal supplement to keep a good balance of their elements. Because in traditional Chinese medicine, keeping the elements (5 elements) balanced is crucial to their health. 

Second is aging the teas for taste. If stored right, the White tea would continue to oxidized and develop a different taste profile. A properly aged white tea would have a deeply mellow taste with less astringency. Honey sweet notes would become more pronounced. This change of taste profile would apex when the tea is aged at 5 to 8 years. 

Currently, we stock 2 varieties of aged White tea. The Aged Silver Needle and the Aged Snowbud W hite Tea. Both of them are properly aged for more than 5 years in natural and dry storage.

Both are exceptional and deeply mellow. The Aged Silver Needle is slightly floral with notes of honey and with almost no astringency. While the Aged Snowbud is slightly astringent with hints of oakiness. Notes of walnut is present in the Aged Snowbud. You can't go wrong with either one of them.