I wanted to take the time to dive a little deeper into white tea because I think there is so much about white tea that is not appriecate.
Let’s start with a key fact about white tea that really sets the preset for understanding this tea. White tea is a big leaf variety tea. As we know there are three types of tea sizes. Small leaf, medium leaf and big leaf, each with their own characteristics. Large leaf varieties tend to be strong and bold, and is the least delicate of the three types. Another popular large leaf tea is Pu Er.
Since white tea is a big leaf variety it can stand up to boiling water. Being of the big leaf variety, white tea is not soft and delicate. It is full and hardy. White teas have a lot of flavor that can come out of it if you use boiling water. Less than boiling water will provide a very pleasantly sweet brew, but it wont show off the teas full characteristics. Boiling water will allow you to see everything the tea has to offer. Since it is a big leaf variety it also wont burn. Often times when people complain about burning their white tea with boiling water what they are really complaining about is the fact that the tea they own has characteristic flaws and the use of very hot water just showed them that.
Up until very recently white tea was brewed in a glass, also called grandpa style. While people have almost completely switched over to a gaiwan, tea drinkers in the Fu Di region will sometimes brew white tea in the class to test it. The switch to the gaiwan is so recent that the farmers are still figuring out the best way to brew the tea. At first they suggest using 7 grams of leaf in the gaiwan, but in recent years there has been a switch to 5 grams. (Source: Shunan Teng of Tea Drunk). 5 grams makes the tea lighter and sweeter. I personally prefer 7 grams because it develops more of the subtle flavors and makes the tea more complex.
White tea is one of the two teas that actually age. (The other being Sheng Pu). While other teas flavors may change over time, only teas that have not had their enzymes killed off will actually mature and develop new notes over time. As discussed in the white tea write up part 1, white tea goes under no high heat and is left with all of its enzymes. These enzymes break down and metabolize over time giving us the development in flavor. Teas like wu longs on the other hand have gone through a kill green step, where the metabolism process is stopped with high heat, and there for the flavor change they go through over time is more similar to a slow and smooth deterioration.
White tea does not actually have the least amount of caffeine nor is it caffeine free, despite what Snapple says. Caffeine content is among the highest in white teas compared to other teas. What is also high in white tea is L Theanine, which gives your body a relaxed feeling so people don’t feel the caffeine, but it is there.
Now that we are familiar with white tea, let’s play a game.
Most of us learned about white tea when via the Snapple commercial where they guy flies to China. The problem is, looking back on the commercial it is completely factually wrong. I posted the video below, and the first person to name three things factually wrong with this ad get a free tea cup of their choice. Just tweet @Sweetest_Dew for your chance to win.