More about White Tea
Manufacture. White tea is made simply by harvesting the young, delicate tea leaves early in the spring, while they are still tightly rolled up and covered in fine, white hairs. After harvest, the leaves are wilted by blowing air. Black tea is fermented. The fermentation and oxidation process has the effect of turning the leaves from green to dark brown and black, hence the name black tea.
Appearance. White tea appears golden and is sometimes said to resemble a young white wine. Many lovers of white tea prefer to drink their favorite tea from glass tea cups, so that they may enjoy its delicate tinge.
Flavor. The flavor of white tea is delicate and fresh, but very subtle.
Antioxidants content. White tea has the strongest concentration of antioxidants. The antioxidants in tea are called polyphenols, and all teas contain polyphenols to a varying degree. Because black tea is allowed to oxidize, antioxidants are broken down, lowering the antioxidant content in black tea.
Caffeine content. White tea has the lowest caffeine content of the common teas, up to three times less than black tea.
Packaging. White tea comes in either bags or as loose leaves, although varieties where the white tea has been mixed with other teas, herbs and even fruits are available.
Preparation. White tea should be steeping in water at a lower temperature than black tea and for less time. Most experts agree that the ideal water temperature for white tea is between 170 - 185 degrees Fahrenheit (76 to 85 degrees Celsius). For best results, bring the water to a rolling boil and let it sit for up to one minute, then pour the water over the leaves. Steeping times are usually shorter - 1 to 2 minutes.
Drinking. White tea, however, should not be mixed with anything, but simply enjoyed on its own. The casein in milk or cream will neutralize the beneficial properties of the antioxidants.
Price. White tea is much rarer than black tea. Because of the scarcity of white tea, prices for the fine Silver Needle quality can be much higher than ordinary tea.