White teas are the least processed of all teas. Traditional white teas are mostly grown in Fujian Province, China. They are generally picked when the buds are tightly enclosed in new leaves. This retains a silky, downy quality in the leaves. When you first drink white tea, it may seem quite tasteless – as if you were drinking hot water. However, after a while, you’ll become aware of a subtle change in your breath and at the back of your mouth. You will taste a soft, nourishing sweetness and eventually experience a similar sensation down your throat. With its natural buttery-sweetness, white tea replenishes without provoking insomnia or nervousness.
White tea is the most delicate tea in flavor and aroma, as the leaves are not rolled or crushed during processing. Camellia sinensis bushes that have large, fleshy leaf buds are used for most white teas today. Those leaf buds become Silver Needles white tea. If the next two leaves are picked and processed the same way, they yield White Peony white tea. This is an ideal tea to enjoy on its own, or with a variety of dishes. Foods with any amount of cream or fat content will enhance its natural flavor, and spread its calming effects to your meal or dessert.
With flavors that are close to the heart of the tea plant, white teas were the favorite of the famous Chinese Tea Emperor in the 1100s, who was so preoccupied with his love of tea and his pursuit of the perfect cup, that he lost his empire to invading Mongols. White teas have since traditionally been used as a Tribute Tea to the Chinese Emperor. Long popular in China, they are just becoming well-known in America. Recent claims that white tea has less caffeine than green tea are often debatable. Caffeine content is sometimes more dependent on the part of the plant used, rather than on process.
With the tell-tale flavors of a white tea, Monkey Picked White is delicate, and buttery-smooth in flavor. You will taste a soft, nourishing sweetness with a slight hint of apricot and eventually experience a similar warmth and sweetness down your throat. Each tin yields 34 servings, which you can re-steep 2-3 times.
Author, Maria Uspenski, is the owner of The Tea Spot.
Image to the left is from The Tea Spot website product page.