White tea is made from less mature leaves than green tea, and has undergone less processing, resulting in different catechin profiles and yielding greater medicinal qualities. For white tea, the little buds that form on the plant are covered with silver hairs that give the young leaves a silvery, white appearance. The leaves come from a number of varieties of tea cultivars, the most popular are Da Bai (Large White), Xiao Bai (Small White), Narcissus and Chaicha bushes. According to the different standards of picking and selecting, White teas can be classified into a number of grades.
There are two main grades of white tea that are amongst the most popular varietals , both native to the Fujian Province of China, they are The Silver Needle and the White Peony. The Silver Needle or Bai Hao Yinzhen is the highest grade of white tea and has a fleshy, bright colored bud that is covered with tiny silvery white hairs. The shape is very uniform, with no stems or leaves. The very best Yinzhen are picked between March 15 and April 10 when it is not raining, no frost on the ground and only using undamaged and unopened buds.When steeping the Silver Needle in a pot the downy buds float upright resembling a forest of bamboo.
White Peony or Bai Mu Dan (sometimes spelled Pai Mu Tan) is a grade down from Bai Hao Yinzhen that incorporates the bud and two leaves which have a silvery white down on one side and i deep sage green on the other. The white Peony is bolder yet still maintains the natural sweetness of the leaf that clearly identifies it as being a close second to the Silver Needle.
Other white teas which are of considerably lower grades such as Tribute Eyebrow (Gongmei), Longevity Eyebrow (Shoumei) and the so called new or green white tea use older leaves consisting of one bud with up to 3 to 4 leaves.
Take a look at all the White Tea's we have available in our store.