Examining White Teas

I’m making the switch from green to white tea not only because of the lower caffeine count, but also because of the health benefits attached to it. Instead of rating what I’m sampling from two major chain operations, I thought I’d give my impressions.

At David’s Teas, they have the Bai Hao Yin Zhen and the Spring White Pearls; and at Teaopia, the White Butterfly, Pai Mu Tan, Silver Needles and White Pearls. Of course, I went for the most expensive deal to see what they’re like and the result? I find myself really liking the flavour from the Spring White Pearls. With no surprise, both operations import the product from two different provinces so the operation is forcing the consumer to decide. Their marketing write-up for each product is as follows:

At Teaopia:

Teaopia`s White Pearls are grown in the Fujian province in China and are protected from too much sun or rain from the beautiful mountain `Tai Mu Shan.` To make this incredible tea, the most desirable part of the tealeaf, the tender bud and first two leaves are lovingly hand rolled into tea pearls. The tea has a wonderfully delicate and tender flavour that all tea lovers are sure to appreciate.

At David’s Teas:

These fragrant twists from Zhejiang Province are in a class of their own. The cold, sunny weather was ideal this year, and this hand-picked, hand-finished, first-pluck of spring contains only the smallest, finest buds and leaves. Consider that an entire day of hand plucking results in less than 1kg of dried tea. This exquisite golden liquor wasn’t created to make a profit; it is a pure labour of love.

I find the product at David’s to have a honey-like flavour when warm. The taste is quite pleasing, and having this drink as an after dinner dessert is a perfect way to end the day. It smells and tastes like a traditional green tea when cooled though.

When unfurled, this flora makes me wonder if ‘white’ is a proper classification of this product. If it is simply plucked when fresh, like a virgin, then I suppose the white tea designation is appropriate.

Teaopia’s direct competitor has not been sampled yet, since the store I went to does not sell by the gram/ounce. That was enough to deter me from buying more of the same. Their minimum purchase is 50 grams.

Instead, I picked up their Silver Needles, their most premium product to try. I’d drink this tea on those days I want to feel grounded. The earthy flavour reminds me of autumn and the smell of wet leaves drying in the sun. I can’t help but be reminded by some of the more traditional black teas that are used at Chinese restaurants. I should note that when the mug and liquid is cooled, I could smell a light scent of honey.

When considering I’m of the Oriental persuasion than British, there are some distinguishing features to how each culture appreciates their tea. I’ve learned a few things when I visited a tea farm near Shanghai long ago. The vacation was a marketing ploy to get people to buy direct from the producers, but in what I learned, one can’t appreciate a good product, tea included, unless you keep on sampling.

My quest will keep going on. For those who find the traditional blacks or oolong teas too strong, white tea is certainly better to sip with on those long, dragged out, nights.

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