White Tea

Peony White (Baimudan), Silver Needles (Baihaoyinzhen), Shoumei (Longevity eyebrow)

Silver Needles (Baihaoyinzhen)

It sounds rather fabulous, and indeed it is, Baihao Yinzhen tea consists of nothing but buds, which are covered with whitish hairs. A rare tea produced only in China, chiefly in Fujian province, it originally came from wild mountain trees. The connoisseurs seem to have been seeking the ultimate, and tender young leaves were not fine enough for them, so the sought to get the leaves while they were still more delicate, before they had even burst from the bud.

The Song dynasty“Tea Emperor”Hui Zong wrote that white tea has the rarest and most delicate flavor. He called it a special kind different from all others, but some people now consider it a form of green tea.

White tea has now become more widely available, often sold as Silvery Tip Pekoe, a form of its traditional name, and now also under the simpler designations ChinaWhite and Fujian White. Its main area of production is Jianyang country in northern Fujian province.

When the buds are fully grown in spring, just before they open, they are plucked from the ends of the branches, along with a few attached leaves. Buds an inch long are picked out for first quality tea. Rolling and fermenting are not part of this tea’s processing. The leaves are de-enzymized by steaming. When they are infused, the buds stand upright like a forest of stalagmites in the cup. The pale yellow brew has a mellow, sweet taste.

Peony White (Baimudan)

The smaller buds and leaves become raw material for the Baimudan (Peony White) and Shoumei (Longevity Eyebrow) varieties. The bulk Peony White looks like a lot of tiny bouquets, with clusters of small round white flowers surrounded by gray-green leaves. They produce a clear orange-yellow beverage. This is also a rare tea. The Shoumei silvery leaves produce a light brownish orange drink with a sweet taste.



White tea is held to be particularly valuable for lowering heat, combating the influence of dampness, and stimulating the intestinal tract.


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