Like almost all other teas, the leaves for white tea come from the Camellia sinensis plant. The name ‘white tea’ comes from the fine, silvery‐white hairs that cover the unopened buds of the plant. However, when brewed, the liquid tea is not white or transparent but rather a pale, light yellow. Although there exists no consensus on how white tea should be processed, there are two commonly accepted methods. The first involves minimal processing, where the leaves are withered for a long time before they are dried, and in the second, the leaves are first steamed or fired in order to deactivate polyphenol oxidase, and then dried. The best white tea is made from young buds that are plucked early in a harvest season, at an elevation of 5000 ft and higher. Here, the air is cold and the flavors have ample opportunity to mature and intensify. The tea buds are plucked and laid out in the open where they are withered for a long time before being dried and packed. White teas are an antioxidant powerhouse. Antioxidants are the body’s protective agents against free radicals, chronic disease, and inflammation.
How to select a white tea?
In the Indian subcontinent, white teas are predominantly produced in Darjeeling, Nepal and the Nilgiris. Each of these regions produce a white with inherent characteristics. While Darjeeling whites are crisp and floral, the white teas from the Nilgiris have a velvety texture and tropical fruit notes. Nepal’s white teas are similar to Darjeeling, less complex but more mellow.
If you’re looking to buy white tea, you may want to consider our White Tea Collection, which contains samples of all our whites, from estates including Castleton, Namring, and Margaret’s Hope in Darjeeling, Bilimalai and Glendale in Nilgiris, Guranse and Mai‐Ilam in Nepal.