We know tea and its many benefits. Green tea, red tea, black tea or even Oolong tea...but what is white tea? It is true that organic white tea is not always part of our collection. And for good reason! Between the rarity of this tea, its special composition, its very short harvest and its delicate treatment, white tea remains a high-end tea largely more expensive than traditional teas. But what is white tea exactly?
Unlike other teas, white tea is mainly made of still closed buds, accompanied by the two young leaves below. It is therefore obvious that the number of buds on a " camellia sinensis " (tea plant) is much lower than the number of leaves that can be harvested for other teas. White tea is harvested from tea plants that have reached a minimum of 5 years of maturity. The harvest, done by hand, takes place only oncea year, during the first three days of spring. Thename of white tea comes from the bud covered with a silver down during the harvest and which whitens during the drying. Last but not least, white tea, compared to its congeners, undergoes only two treatments: wilting and drying (drying operation stopping oxidation). Its low manipulation allows organic white tea to be rich in polyphenols, natural antioxidants.
What is the origin of white tea?
White tea has its origin in the coastal province of Fujian in the southeast of the People's Republic of China. Fuding, Xian of Zhenghe and Jianyang are the three most famous regions for the production of white tea. Since then, Japan, India, Sri Lanka and some African countries have also become producers of white tea with slightly different tastes. Indeed, the climatic conditions are essential to determine the different flavors of tea. Low in theine, white tea stands out for its fine, delicately flowery aroma and its particularly thirst-quenching power. Essentially made up of still closed buds and the two youngest leaves, white tea requires less handling than other loose leaf teas. Thus, its purity remains intact and gives it unquestionable medicinal properties. It is an excellent remedy against viruses and bacteria but it is also ideal as a cure for the elimination of waste by drainage. A powerful antioxidant, white tea is particularly rich in vitamins C and E, fluorine, polyphenol (protection against cancer and cardiovascular diseases) and flavanol (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory).
The history of white tea
All teas, regardless of variety or color, come from the same shrub: the Camellia sinensis. Depending on the work done on the harvested part, the flavor and color will be modified. White tea differs from all other teas by two very important principles. The tea comes from the unripe buds of the tea plant, and its processing requires only two steps before it is packaged for consumption: withering, which consists of naturally dehydrating the tea for a few hours or a few days, and drying, which used to be done over a wood fire and is now done mechanically and under close supervision. White tea is particularly delicate and is highly prized by tea lovers. There are two types of white tea:
- Silver needles (only non-enclosing buds)
- Bai Mu Dan (buds and two of the youngest leaves of the branch)
This is the only tea that is not handled very much and that is brewed in slightly heated water to preserve all its flavor and qualities.
"It is said that tea brewing has existed for over 5,000 years. Legend has it that the Emperor Shen Nong was waiting for the boiled water to cool before drinking it, when some tea leaves landed in the pot and were brewed. The emperor tasted the beverage and found it delicious and very refreshing."
White tea with jasmine
Essentially composed of silver needle buds, the organic white jasmine tea gets its particular flavor from the jasmine, through a delicate and artisanal process. Indeed, during the flowering of the jasmine, the flowers are meticulously picked at night, when the perfume is the most powerful, and are put in direct contact with the buds for 7 days. The flowers are then removed by hand and the white tea can be packed, keeping all the flavor and delicate fragrances of the jasmine.
The white tea Pai Mu tan
Pai mu tan or bai mu dan, which means "white peony" is the traditional pure white tea. The buds and the first two leaves just below them are plucked by hand and only during the first three days of spring. Indeed, the bud must be mature and remain closed. The picking must then be done in record time. The sweetness of the fruit, its slightly flowery and fruity fragrance, leaves a delicate woody taste in the mouth.