White tea can refer to some types of young and minimally processed leaves.
There is very little agreement on what is and is not a white tea. Some say it is the minimal processing and some say it is just using the tea buds.
Most definitions agree, however, that white tea is not rolled or oxidized, resulting in a flavour which is characterized as “lighter” than green or traditional black teas.
It is harvested primarily in China, mostly in the Fujian province, but more recently it is produced in Eastern Nepal, Taiwan, Northern Thailand, Galle (Southern Sri Lanka) and India.
The name “white tea” derives from the fine silvery-white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which gives the plant a whitish appearance. The beverage itself is not white or colourless but pale yellow and light to the taste.
My favorite is the Silver Needle.
As with all white teas, it is best prepared with water below boiling (at around 75 to 80 degrees Celsius or 167 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit) and produces a slightly viscous glittering pale yellow color with evidence of floating white hairs that reflect light. Baihao Yinzhen is said to smell of “fresh-cut hay”, and the flavour is described as sweet, vegetal, and delicate. Steeping should be longer than other white teas; up to 5 minutes per brew, and the volume of tea to be used can be higher. There are few parallels to be drawn as the taste is not similar to any other teas but Bai Mu Dan, except the latter is fuller but not as sweet and delicate.
Some of the ones I have tried:
In the Summer they are especially nice and light. Try one of the many varieties out there and let us know which is your favorite!