Let me just say one thing… I honestly tried to figure out a better “White Tea” pun for this post title. My brother wanted me to make a reference to “Whitey”, like the character from 8 Crazy Nights or some other movies. But I wasn’t quite familiar enough to make the reference count. In the end, all I could think of was The Offspring. Ha!
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not as well-versed in white tea as I am in other types. Of all the tea types, I think I’ve had the fewest white teas of the options. As much as I haven’t cared as much for green teas, they’re more readily available, so I’ve had more opportunities to try them. All I really knew about white tea in advance of my studying tea was what I learned from that one commercial that I think Lipton created years ago. It was related to their bottled white tea. They talked about how white tea is so special because it is only the fresh young leaf bud that is used to achieve such a mild flavor.
Seriously, does anyone else remember that commercial, or am I crazy?
In any case, I have to admit I was a little surprised to discover that this vague memory of a brief commercial really did help me on the road to understanding white tea more clearly. While not all white tea today is made with purely the unopened leaf bud, that is how it was first created and only in more recent years (okay, the 1920’s… but that’s recent for tea!) were slightly open-leafed varieties created.
White tea has been primarily made in China (Fujian Province most particularly), but is now also being produced in some areas of India and Sri Lanka. Of all the tea types, it probably has the least variety within the category. The production is quite simple for white tea, so the options are more limited. (Don’t get the idea that there is no variance among white teas when tasting options from different places. The individual bush, the location of it, when it’s plucked, etc. all still have an impact on the tea, just as they do with any tea.)