Types of White Tea
By most accounts there are five main types of tea - black, green, oolong, puerh and white. Of these five, tea drinkers outside of China probably know the least about the latter two. Puerh is a story in itself, but white tea has been gaining popularity lately thanks to its alleged health benefits and its uniquely delicate flavor profile.
White tea is one of the most rare and expensive types. It is produced in small quantities in Sri Lanka, where a variety called Ceylon White brings prices much higher than the black tea the island is famous for producing. Small quantities of white tea are also produced in India, in Assam and Darjeeling, regions better known for their black tea.
But it’s white tea from China that grabs most of the accolades from tea drinkers. Nowadays this variety can be found on grocery store shelves for comparatively low prices, but according to some experts, tea from the Da Bai Hao (Big White Hair) tea bush is the only real white tea.
White tea, as we know it today, has been produced for about two centuries. The best-known varieties hail from China’s Fujian province. Silver Needle and White Peony are generally acknowledged to be higher grades of white tea. Tribute Eyebrow and Noble, Long Life Eyebrow are lower grades. Yunnan province, which is best known for Yunnan black tea and puerh, also produces a white variety of puerh.
White tea is closer to green than any other type, but with a lighter and more delicate flavor. Made from buds and young leaves of the tea bush, it’s processed less than any other type of tea. It’s for this reason that white tea is thought to retain more of the health-giving components that may be lost in the processing of other types of tea.
For more information, be sure to read the Wikipedia article on White Tea today!
-William I Lengeman III