White teas from China are often regarded as among of the country’s rarest varieties of tea. They are difficult to get in China since the majority of the country’s white tea is exported. The people who drink tea in China have been aware of the health advantages of white tea for a very long time. However, white tea was essentially unknown outside of Asia until very recently. Now, however, the delicate taste and potential health advantages of Chinese white tea are being lauded by a wide range of professionals, from culinary experts to medical specialists. This was not always the case.
But what really is Chinese white tea?
There are some people who place white tea from China in the same category as green tea. It has a body that is coated in fluffy white hair and has undergone a little fermentation process. It is often collected in the chilly weather at the beginning of spring, when tea plants have just begun to lose the protective scales that have been growing on the tops of their branches and are ready to reveal the downy, white fuzz that covers their leaf buds.
These beautiful buds are among the teas that are picked and processed with the utmost attention to detail. It is imperative that the buds and the first few leaves to unfold be protected from any and all forms of oxidation. What occurs is that soon after harvesting the buds, they are either naturally dried in the sunshine or artificially dried in an environment with low heat and extremely good ventilation.
In contrast to oolong, black, and pu-erh teas, which all go through cellular oxidation in order to generate aroma, colour, and taste, the majority of Chinese white teas are produced without the use of such a processing step at any point in the manufacturing process. This then produces a beverage with a flavour that is most similar to that of fresh leaves plucked from a tea shrub.
Classifications of Chinese White Tea
Just like the other varieties of Chinese tea, white tea is divided into different types. To mention, there are the Silver Tip white tea and White peony tea as two of the most commonly well-known varieties. Letís take a look at each of them:
ïSilver Tip White Tea ñ This variety of Chinese white tea is produced at Fuding and Zhenghe areas in Fujian province. Many tea drinkers consider this as a top grade white tea. In the processing, the single buds are plucked right when they fully develop and are ready to open. The beautifully acerose buds are covered with silvery hairs, hence the tea named ìsilver tip white teaî. Also, this Chinese white tea is taken as ìthe beautyî in teas.
Many tea lovers also describe this tea as ìwhite like cloud, green like dream, pure like snow, aromatic like orchidî. And, as commonly noted, every bud stands in the cup upright just like bamboo shoots after a spring rain, when infusing.
ïWhite Peony Tea ñ Also known as ìPai Mu Danî, this Chinese white tea variety is made from the buds and leaves that remain after the famous silver tip white tea has been harvested. This is sweet and mild, yet very full-bodied. Also, the cup color is darker and the aroma is bolder. Its natural sweetness clearly determines the close relationship to the silver tip white tea.
ïGong Mei ñ This is the third grade of Chinese white tea. The production of this tea uses leaves from the Xiao Bai or Small White tea trees.
ïShou Mei ñ This is a fruity furry Chinese white tea that is a chaotic blend of tips and upper leaf. According to some Chinese tea drinkers, Shou Mei has a stronger flavor than other white teas, similar to oolong. Also, it is the fourth grade of white tea and is plucked later than the White Peony, hence the tea may be darker in color.
Today, these varieties have reached America and many market researches predict that consumers will soon share their enthusiasm, turning the Chinese white tea into one of the hottest new food trends.