White tea has a long history. Although not all details are familiar it is known that only emperor and the rich and privileged drank it. For the first time white tea is mentioned in China during the Tang dynasty, while it was very popular in the period of Song dynasty. It is said that it was valuable and expensive so rarely anyone drank it. Specially for that period is the way of processing that is different from today. It was especially used for Song tea ceremonies, and a Japanese tea ceremony is similar to that. In XIX century white tea is mentioned in English public.
White tea falls into a group of very rare green teas and they got their name after the leafs , on which there are small little hairs. During their processing leafs are dried and their oxidation is very weak. White tea is known under the name of elixir of longevity and beauty and is considered a main ingredient of elixir of youth. The potion made from white tea is pale in color, richer in anti oxidants than green tea, and contains less caffeine and is neutral in taste. The healing property of white teas is well known, and the secret is in treating of leafs during their collection and processing.
Today, white teas are becoming more and more known and more used. This is because of its good properties and good taste, and a very important fact that his price is acceptable but still high.
The best time for harvest is early spring. Leaves are picked by hand, and for the best white tea immature leaves are picked shortly before buds completely open. It is exceptionally rare because there is no harvest when there is frost and during rainy days. Also plant must be grown on a special altitude, soil and climate and therefore its price is not surprising.
Processing white tea is relatively simple when compared to green and black tea. Processing comprises of the fact that after immature leaves are picked, they are instead of drying on the air, steamed and inthat way retain almost all its good properties, and oxidation covers only 2%. In their processing there is no rolling and other techniques.
There are many types of white teas. Among more famous are Silver Needle, Pai mu tan, Shou Mei, Gong Mei.
- Heat the water until it boils (it is not sensitive to temperature as green tea).
- Leave the water to stay for 1-3 minutes.
- Put 1 bag in one cup. If the tea is not in bags then put two small spoons a pour water over it.
- Leave the tea to dissolve for about 5 minutes, after that you can drink it/
The real connoisseurs of white tea will not sweeten this beverage. By sweetening the tea you get another flavor, and it is not recommended to spoil the taste of tea. However, white tea can be sweetened with sugar, honey, lemon or milk.
On sales we find tea in the form of filter bags or dry leafs. It is extremely important that bought tea is well packed in a packaging in which it does not come in contact with outside air.
As any tea, white tea also loses its quality if it is not well preserved. White tea should be kept in a well closed packaging without contact with outside air, or in smaller as possible containers. As most of teas, white tea should be kept in a cold, dark and dry place. Pay attention that you keep the white tea away from moisture (kitchen is not a suitable place for keeping white tea).