China - White
White tea is tea made from leaves of the tea plant Camellia sinensis. The leaves are harvested while very young, and the buds are still covered in very fine, white hairs. While black tea is harvested and dried leaves that are fermented before being cut up, white tea is only very gently dried. Because of this careful handling, white tea buds still have the same high concentration of antioxidants as fresh tea leaves.
The best quality white tea is harvested first. The finest qualities of white tea, often called «Silver Needle», consists exclusively of the buds of tea leaves. These buds are hand picked during certain days in the spring, usually between March 15th and April 10th. By that time, the buds have reached the perfect balance between youth and maturity that gives the best-tasting tea. Only undamaged and unopened buds are used for Silver Needle. Other qualities of white tea may incorporate leaves that are no longer buds, but are still young, with the white fuzz still on them.
The leaves and buds are withered over a few hours, then air dried. The temperature and even the air moisture are taken into consideration during the production, and the art is to get a perfect balance between solar withering and indoor withering. Like green tea, the leaves are not fermented at all. The extremely gentle and quick processing means that the buds and leaves are very close to their natural state. This allows the antioxidants in the leaves to survive intact, making white tea the best alternative for health-conscious aficionados.
A premium young white tea with a naturally sweet taste a slight smoky, woodsy fragrance....From £9.25
This is one of the great white teas of China, grown in the Fujian Province. Also known as White Peony tea, it is made from the buds and two tip leaves. It has a good fruity flavour....From £4.95