A remarkably delicate and subtle tea, white tea is truly in a class all by itself. Read on to find out more about its history and usage over the years.
White tea is typically subjected to a fast drying process, unlike green tea-which is roasted in an oven or pan while being tuned constantly to ensure even curing-and Oolong and black teas, which are subjected to fermentation before curing. It is for this reason that white teas are believed to have even less caffeine content than green teas. White tea is grown in several places all over the world nowadays, but it is a particular specialty of Fujian province in China.
It is said that it particularly hard times in China, poor people would serve their guest’s boiled water instead of tea. This would be described by the host and their guests as “white tea” and they would act as if the custom of serving tea to the guests had been performed as was usual. This gave rise to the use of the term “white boiled water” in reference to plain boiled water in the country.
Ceylon White tea typically commands much higher market prices than black tea that is also produced in the area. This tea has a distinctive light flavor with subtle hints of pine, honey and exhibits a coppery gold color.
In fact, if you’re used to adding sweetener to your tea, try your first cup of white tea without any sweetener. You might find that you don’t want to sweeten white tea at all, or at least you’ll find that it requires less sweetener than your other favorite teas.
Most white tea is grown in China and Japan, though today it is also grown in the Darjeeling region of India and Sri Lanka. As it is gaining popularity, it’s becoming far easier to find than in past years. In fact, many of the large tea companies are beginning to market white tea varieties. It will appear pale in color but will be perfectly ready to drink. You’ll find that it has little aroma, but tastes sweet and delicate.
There are many recipes using white tea for sauces, in particular for sauces to go over fish and chicken. Since white tea has no sugar and no fat, it makes a healthy addition to your food. And, its lightly sweet and delicate flavor can complement many foods without overpowering them.