White Tea

White tea is a prized favourite among tea lovers. We seek out ‘authentic’ white tea which is the result of the unique combination of geography, tea bush varietal, harvest and production method. Which one is your favourite?

Organic white teas

What is white tea?

White tea leaves

  • Like green and black tea, white tea comes from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, the tea bush.
  • True white tea leaves come exclusively from the Da Bai variety of tea bush that grows in the distinct conditions of the Chinese Fujian Province.
  • Extremely careful production methods preserve the soft, white hairs under the buds, giving the leaves a pale, silvery colour.
  • It is these white hairs, along with the light-coloured infusion the leaves produce, that give white tea its name.

“All that is elegant”

  • White tea leaves produce a mellow, delicate infusion with no bitterness.
  • Emperors of the ancient Song Dynasty called white tea the “culmination of all that is elegant”.
  • Today, tea lovers prize white tea for its subtle and delicate flavours and aromas.
  • As with other teas, factors such as brewing time and water purity can affect the final taste.
  • White tea is rich in polyphenols and associated with a number of health benefits.

Types of white tea

  • There are two main types of authentic white tea: Silver Needle, made solely from the bud, and White Peony (also known as Bai Mudan), made from one bud and two adjacent leaves.

Brewing

Delicate white tea calls for careful brewing.

Water

  • Fresh, filtered water makes better-tasting tea.
  • Ideally, add only as much water to the kettle as you need for your cup/pot. This saves energy and avoids the need to waste the spent water when you come to make your next cup!

Temperature

  • Boiling water scalds delicate white tea leaves, negatively affecting the taste of the tea.
  • The optimal brewing temperature is 75-80ºC.
  • To achieve this temperature, you can leave your kettle to cool for 4-5 minutes after boiling.

How much tea?

  • Dragonfly teabags contain just the right amount of tea leaves for a mug of tea (about 250ml capacity).
  • For Bai Mudan Loose Leaf Tea, use 2-3g per person (1-2 teaspoons).
  • At Dragonfly, we know that how you like your tea is intensely personal. We recommend you experiment to find the tea-to-water ratio that’s perfect for you!

Steeping

  • Combine the water and teabag or tea leaves (some prefer to bring the tea to the water, and vice versa).
  • Steep for 2-4 minutes to allow for the release of subtle flavours and beneficial compounds.
  • If your tea is loose leaf, it’s ideal to use a strainer or sieve so you can remove the leaves at the end of the brewing time.
  • Re-infuse up to three times to experience the full array of fragrances and flavours, especially in loose leaf white tea.

Taste

Exquisite and subtle

  • The liquor of white tea is typically pale to gold in colour.
  • White tea’s aroma is delicate and subtly floral.
  • Dragonfly white teas are the Bai Mudan (White Peony) type, which is known for being richer and warmer than the Silver Needles type.
  • Bai Mudan has a lightly nutty undertone, reminiscent of a quality Darjeeling, and absolutely no bitterness.

Wellbeing

Properties and benefits of white tea

  • White tea has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  • Modern scientific research has linked it to an impressive range of health benefits.
  • Camellia sinensis contains natural compounds and antioxidants thought to be responsible for these benefits; including caffeine, amino acids (such as L-theanine) and polyphenols (such as the catechin, epigallocatechin).
  • Minimal processing might explain white tea’s high levels of these compounds.
  • Read more about white tea’s extraordinary benefits here.

Tea Growing

Growing white tea

  • Authentic white tea is made only in northern Fujian Province, China.
  • The leaves are harvested from sub-varieties of the tea bush, Camellia sinensis, that are indigenous to that region.
  • White tea is harvested once a year in early spring.

Making white tea

  • Once plucked, white tea leaves undergo just two processes: withering (allowing fresh leaves to naturally dry) and bake-drying.
  • The leaves are never rolled or shaped.
  • Temperatures, process times and humidity levels are carefully controlled at every stage by experienced artisans to reveal the leaves’ best flavours.
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