White tea is derived from a plant known as Camellia sinensis and is less processed compared to green tea. Not many people are aware of the fact but the reason why it is named white tea is because the leaves of the plant are harvested before fully opened. These unopened buds are covered with thin white hair, making it appear white.
When purchasing white tea it is important to only purchase loose tea since it is superior in quality. Loose tea is more sustainable and it offers the richest flavor, aroma and taste. White tea is quite healthy. However, it is important to ensure that you purchase it from a reliable company that specializes in selling fresh and high quality tea varieties. Avoid buying tea that is marketed as supplement or medicinal product since the claims that are made about such products are generally quite exaggerated and the product itself is not very high quality.
What type or variety of white tea to purchase?
Like any other tea, white tea is also very diverse and there are many varieties available. The lightest, sweetest and most delicate white tea is bai hao yin zhen, also known as silver needle. It is also the most expensive. White peony or bai mu dan is an intermediate variety. It is less expensive, a little darker but still has a floral, light aroma. Those who prefer richer, darker teas will prefer longevity eyebrows or shoe mei. This darker tea is more like oolong since it is full bodied. Snow buds or xue ya is a less known and newer variety of white tea that is quite similar to green tea. These varieties are all from China. They are mostly grown in the Fujian province.
White tea from other regions
While white tea is mostly produced in China, it is increasingly sourced from other regions as well. Darjeeling white tea or silver needle is still very uncommon but quite popular. Other unusual white teas are sourced from other parts of India and from countries such as Bangladesh and Nepal. African countries like Malawi and Kenya also grow white tea today. However, such teas do not taste much like their counterparts from China. They also prove to be difficult to find and purchase. However, online retail tea stores often stock various interesting types of white tea.