White Tea

What it tastes like: Lightly vegetal
Caffeine content: 15 mg (per 120 ml or 4 fl. oz cup)
How to drink it: Plain.

White teas originate mainly from the mountainous regions of Fujian in Southern China. Thanks to a slow, gentle steaming process in the open air and extremely careful handling, this tea is gaining more and more converts.

White tea consists of young leaves (new growth buds) that have undergone no or very little oxidation. The buds may be shielded from sunlight to prevent formation of chlorophyll. Unlike black or green tea, white tea is not rolled. White tea is produced in lesser quantities than most of the other teas and can be correspondingly more expensive than tea from the same plant processed by other methods. It is also less well-known in countries outside of China, though this is changing with the introduction of white tea in bagged form.White tea requires great care and effort to produce. Like best wines the Climate, altitude, and soil must be right for producing the right quality of white tea. Special varieties of the tea bush are selected and tended for several years before yielding their first harvest.Early spring provides the best white tea. When the time is right, the workers carefully hand-pick the silver buds and select leaves.There is no picking on rainy days or when frost is on the ground. White tea can only be picked for a short time each year, making it rare and precious. Makaibari tea estate in Darjeeling, India now produces world class certified organic White tea (Makaibari Silver Tips) that was awarded the world record price of US $400 in 1996 by the American Tea Masters Association, regarded as the most choosy, finicky club of tea lovers. Silver Tips is currently the costliest tea in the world.

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