You’ve probably noticed at your local grocery store that there are several different varieties of tea available if you like tea. Nowadays, we have a variety of options when it comes to drinking tea, so it can be tempting to stick with what we know. But sometimes it’s fun to try something new, like white tea.
What is white tea, and how does it taste? White tea has a delicate and intricate taste that is far fresher and grassier than green or black tea, because the buds are picked earlier and air-dried to prevent oxidation. As it tends to overwhelm its subtle, aromatic flavor profile with additives, white tea is typically consumed without them. Here’s all the information you need to know about white tea, including what it tastes like, how it gets that flavor, and how to serve and enjoy it.
What Is White Tea?
You would get a white coffee with milk if you asked for one. So, does white tea mean normal tea with milk? Not at all!
An early harvest and long-term storage method enables white tea leaves to be processed in a specific way.
There is no difference between black tea, green tea, oolong tea, Pu’erh tea, or white tea because they all come from the same plant (Camellia Sinensis).
The leaves of Camelia Sinensis are harvested when mature and dried out. As the leaves dry out, they become darker due to the process called oxidation.
The name white tea comes from the fact that young buds, covered with fine white hairs, are harvested for white tea.
During processing, it is subjected to minimal processing, and the drying method is designed to minimize oxidation.
Teas processed this way have such a delicate, fresh flavor that they are often regarded as the gold standard.
How Is White Tea Made?
Before being dried, tea leaves are allowed to oxidize until they turn a deep brown color, creating black tea’s rich, intense flavor.
In the case of green tea, the leaves are heated and dried after harvesting to prevent them from fully oxidizing.
With white tea, the goal is to prevent the leaves from oxidizing.
This pale green leaf is delicately covered with delicate white hairs and is harvested before it has a chance to fully open.
In order to dry the leaves as little as possible, oxidation is to be minimized.
Freshly picked buds are air dried in the sun or in a specially designed dryer.
During drying, the buds may be heated to low temperatures, but this must be balanced carefully to avoid darkening.
What Does White Tea Taste Like?
The way white tea is picked and processed makes the flavor quite different from other types of tea. It tastes like it has just been plucked from the garden!
Many experts claim to be able to identify honey, melon, peach, apricot, vanilla, chocolate, and herbs in white tea’s taste. It also has floral notes, as well as a hint of citrus and grassiness.
Your taste buds will immediately detect the delicate flavor and pleasant aroma of white tea, regardless of what flavors you can identify.
As most white teas are still picked and processed by hand, they are in pristine condition, which is why the price is higher for white tea, but experts will tell you that it is definitely worth it.
How Strong Is White Tea?
Unlike black and green tea, white tea doesn’t have a strong flavor – you won’t taste the tannins as strongly as you would in them.
White tea’s flavor, however, is incredibly complex, with a wide range of taste notes evident.
In addition to being more refreshing than black or green tea, white tea has a delicate flavor.
Does White Tea Contain Caffeine?
As with all true tea varieties, white tea contains caffeine. It comes from the same plant as black and green tea, which naturally contain caffeine.
It is possible, however, that some types of white tea contain less caffeine than others.
White tea is often made from the Fujian white tea plant, a native Chinese variety that is lower in caffeine than other varieties of Camelia Sinensis.
In spite of this being the traditional variety of tea plant used for white tea, other varieties are now also cultivated around the world for white tea.
Your white tea’s caffeine content can also be affected by how it’s brewed. The longer it’s steeped in hot water, the more caffeine it will release.
What Can You Add To White Tea?
Those who love white tea will tell you that it should be enjoyed plain, without any added ingredients, due to its delicate and subtle flavor.
There is less bitterness to this tea because of its low tannin content, so many people like to drink it plain.
However, if this is not to your taste, white tea can be flavored as you would any other tea. Just remember to add just a few extra ingredients to avoid overpowering the delicate flavor.
A cup of white tea should be flavored with milk, sugar, or lemon juice, but do not use creamers, since they can make the tea too rich.
How Does White Tea Compare To Other Teas?
Due to its complex and subtle flavor, white tea is regarded as the queen of teas. It is far more aromatic and less bitter than black or green teas.
When black and green teas are dried, the leaves are exposed to oxygen, which darkens them and gives them a richer flavor.
A white tea should taste like freshly picked leaves, with a grassy, floral aroma that is reminiscent of the scent of freshly mown grass.
The other main difference is the lack of bitterness in white tea.
There are many people who do not drink black or green tea without adding milk or sugar, as the taste can be quite bitter and unpleasant. White tea, on the other hand, is usually drunk alone, as it has a variety of complex flavor notes.
How To Make White Tea
The white tea is regarded as a delicacy and should be treated as such. It isn’t a quick tea to brew when you’re pressed for time.
In general, white teas are brewed longer and at higher temperatures than green and black teas, depending on the specific tea you purchase.
You can steep your tea according to the directions on the package, or you can use 2 grams of loose white tea leaves per 8 ounces (1 cup) of water.
You should use spring water when making tea, since it is pure and uncontaminated. You can also filter your water before using it.
White tea is best steeped in hot water for around 3–5 minutes before drinking.
A longer steeping time may result in a bitter, astringent flavor, so if you are not sure, go for a shorter steeping time.
190°F is the ideal temperature for brewing white tea. If your kettle is temperature-controlled, set it to this temperature.
If you do not have the ability to control the temperature of your water, 190°F is the temperature at which water begins to gently simmer. Bring water to a gentle boil, then turn off the heat and pour it onto your white tea leaves.
To prevent the water from losing heat, cover the tea while it brews. After the tea has steeped for no more than five minutes, serve.