White tea

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White tea
Bai Hao Yin Zhen tea leaf (Fuding).jpg
White Bai Hao Yinzhen tea leaves
Chinese 白茶

White tea may refer to one of several styles of tea which generally feature young and/or minimally processed leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Currently there is no generally accepted definition of white tea and very little international agreement; some sources use the term to refer to tea which is merely dried with no additional processing,[1] while others include tea buds and very young leaves which have been steamed or fired before drying.[2] 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,[3] but more recently it is produced in Eastern Nepal, Taiwan, Northern Thailand, Galle (Southern Sri Lanka) and India.

White tea comes from the buds and immature tea leaves that are picked shortly before the buds have fully opened. The leaves and buds are allowed to wither and dry in natural sun.

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.[4] The beverage itself is not white or colourless but pale yellow and light to the taste.


Scholars and tea merchants generally disagree as to when the first production of white tea (as it is understood in China today) began. What is today known as white tea may have come into creation in the last two centuries. White tea may have first appeared in English publication in 1876, where it was categorized as a black tea because it is not initially[clarification needed] cooked like a green tea, to deactivate internal enzymes and external microbes.[5]

White tea is often being sold as Silvery Tip Pekoe, a form of its traditional name, and now also under the simple designations China White and Fujian White.[3]


White tea, like black and green tea, is made from the Camellia sinensis plant and contains polyphenols, a set of phytonutrients that are thought to be responsible for the health effects of tea.[6][7] Different white teas have different amounts of catechins, a category of polyphenols, and the overall range of concentrations overlaps with that green tea, meaning that some white teas have the same concentration of polyphenols as some green teas. This may be due to the variety of the tea plant from which the tea was picked, the cultivation technique, and the way in which the tea was processed.[8]


The base process for manufacturing white tea is as follows:

Fresh tea leaf → withering → drying (air drying, solar drying or mechanical drying) → white tea[9]

White tea belongs to the group of tea that does not require panning, rolling or shaking. However, the selection of raw material in white tea manufacture is extremely stringent; only the plucking of young tea leaves with much fine hair can produce good-quality white tea of a high pekoe (grading) value.[9]

The visible white hairs are a unique characteristic of the Bai Hao Yinzhen tea

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.tu-braunschweig.de/Medien-DB/ilc/w_t.pdf
  2. ^ http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/tea
  3. ^ a b Chow 1990, p. 142
  4. ^ Rau 2004, p. 129
  5. ^ Hanson 1878, p. 46
  6. ^ Dulloo, AG; Seydoux, J; Girardier, L; Chantre, P; Vandermander, J (February 2000). "Green tea and thermogenesis: Interactions between catechin-polyphenols, caffeine and sympathetic activity". International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders: journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. 24 (2): 252–258. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0801101. PMID 10702779. 
  7. ^ Hursel, R; Westerterp-Plantenga, MS (December 2013). "Catechin- and caffeine-rich teas for control of body weight in humans". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 98 (6 Suppl 1): 1682S–1693S. doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.058396. PMID 24172301. 
  8. ^ Unachukwu, UJ; Ahmed, S; Kavalier, A; Lyles, JT (August 2010). "White and green teas (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis): variation in phenolic, methylxanthine, and antioxidant profiles". Journal of Food Science. 75 (6): C541–C548. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01705.x. PMID 20722909. 
  9. ^ a b Hui 2004, p. 961

Further reading[edit]