The Tea Detective
Uncovering and Exploring the Facts About Tea
White Tea - A Drink to Your Health
The original, pure form of white tea consists of only the tenderest, unopened
bud of certain varieties of tea bushes grown in the Fujian Province, located on
the eastern coast of China.  It's called
Bai Hao Yin Zhen, which translates to
Silver Needle, because after processing a covering of fine, soft white hair is vis-
ible on the new bud.  It also goes by the name, Flowery White Pekoe.  
     
Even in the best of years
white tea has a limited production.  The
weather conditions must be near perfect for
plucking
Fujian white tea.  It's picked in early
spring, before the buds open into leaves.  
The buds must be long and plump-not too
thin, and not too long.

The glory of white tea is that it receives very
little processing, yet brews a light colored,
softly sweet drink, reminiscent of honey,
slightly nutty, with the sweetness of
peaches, and without any of the grassy,
pungent flavors often found in green tea.

Although traditional white tea may seem
pricey by the pound, broken down by the
number of cups, it's fairly inexpensive when compared to franchise or boutique coffee shops,
where one cup of java with all the bells and whistles can set you back $4.00 or more.  Even the
most expensive of teas hardly compare.

Plus, you need to consider the many
health benefits of tea, especial-
ly the barely processed white and
green teas.  Studies have shown
that white tea contains a higher level of disease fighting antioxidants
than any other tea.  Because white tea receives the least amount of
processing, more of the important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
are preserved, making it one of the healthiest teas to drink.

White tea starts out just like any other, with
the fresh tea leaves plucked and immediately
brought to the factory, where they're piled
eight to ten inches deep in a covered area.  
The tea  leaves are spread in the thin layer to
avoid bruising by being crushed under the
weight of too many leaves.

          The leaves are then left for about 24
          hours for the initial withering to take
          place. Depending on the weather, the
          leaves may be left to wither for an add-
          itional 24-30 hours.  After withering the
          tea is given a quick firing before any
          bruising or oxidation of the leaf can
          occur.

          That completes the manufacturing process for white tea.  Pretty simple, huh?

          White tea is also used to create presentation teas, sometimes called
display teas, or
          blooming teas, and is used as a base for fine tasting
scented teas, such as sweet and
          fragrant jasmine tea.  
Enjoy.     
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