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White Tea 101: All About The Least Processed Tea on Earth

As you peruse through the tea aisle at your local grocery store or even a specialty tea shop, ever notice the abundance of Green, Black, and Oolong teas but hardly ever find any White teas? High-quality White Tea is, without a doubt, one of the more difficult teas to come by – and for good reason. Due to White Tea being harvested at a very particular time every year and being the least processed tea on Earth, White Tea is the black sheep of the tea family – but loved nevertheless.

What is White Tea, anyway?

White Tea in its natural state is the young bud of a tea plant that’s still covered by super-fine, white hairs. These white hairs are what give white tea it’s name. These buds (and even some of the youngest leaves on the plant) are handpicked in the early Spring and carefully steamed. After the steaming process, the buds and young leaves are dried to prevent the tea from oxidizing. With a gentle hand and low oxidation, you end up with the freshest and most delicate tea known to man. If you look very closely at the surface of your white tea as you enjoy it, you’ll notice tiny, fiber-like hairs floating on the surface. That’s a solid indication of this painstaking process that results in a high-quality White Tea.

Where does White Tea come from?

White Tea has a long Chinese history dating back to China’s Song Dynasty. A very popular method to prepare White Tea during that time period was to grind the White Tea to a fine powder and whisk with hot water till frothy. This method is very similar to that of Matcha Green Tea due to the use of the same type of bamboo whisk and careful attention to detail during the process.

Is White Tea good for you?

White Tea, similar to Green Tea in a lot of ways, contains a wide variety of health benefits. Ranging in everything from heart health to fighting off cancer-causing free radicals with powerful antioxidants- even strengthening bones! What’s there not to love about this rare gem? Absolutely nothing aside from the fact that is contains slightly less caffeine than other types of tea- about 5 milligrams less, to be exact. If you’re a caffeine junkie, this might be a little disappointing. But, if you’re trying to cut back on your caffeine intake, White Tea is definitely a better alternative.

What’s the best way to enjoy White Tea?

To reap the health benefits of White Tea, it’s recommended to consume roughly one 1-3 8 ounce cups per day. Unless you’re heading to the store every other day to have enough tea on hand for this demanding tea schedule, you’re probably wondering the best way to store a good amount of tea. Tea doesn’t necessarily go bad, but it can certainly get stale. I recommend the following storage methods to keep tea fresh:

  • An air-tight, opaque container – this will prevent any unwanted moisture and sunlight from diminishing the quality of the tea.
  • A moderately cool, dark storage space – a pantry or cupboard will work just fine. Whatever you do, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT store your dry tea in the fridge. Not only will you risk introducing unwanted moisture to your tea, but the tea will pick up any smells that live in there as well.
  • Brew and store – this is the only acceptable reason to use your fridge for tea storage. Make sure your brewed tea is stored in a glass container. Plastic and ceramic (only if the ceramic has tiny cracks) tend to harbor bacteria.

To brew a perfect cup, kettle, or pitcher of White Tea, refer to this helpful article.

Where can I find White Tea?

If you can’t find White Tea at your local grocery store or a local tea shop, is a fantastic place to find exactly what you’re looking for. The only downside is that there are so many to choose from. Here are a few things to look for when selecting your White Tea online:

  • Narrow your search results to show just loose leaf teas – though bagged White Teas are tempting due to their ease of use and convenience, they endure additional processing that takes away from the White Tea experience.
  • Always opt for quality over quantity – quality tends to be a little more expensive, but totally worth it. If you’re concerned about the quality not matching the price tag, check consumer reviews for that seller. The consumers have tried it, so they know for sure if it’s worth purchasing or not.
  • Try different types of White Tea to find out what you like best – you’ll see everything from Peony White Tea to Silver Needle White Tea. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. It’s all about what appeals to your palate.


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