White Teas

Chinese Emperor Hui Zhong proclaimed White Tea the culmination of "all that is elegant" during his reign of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It has remained a much loved beverage inside China ever since because of its range of aromas and delicate, light, fresh tastes. As overall awareness of good tea has increased in North America in the last decade, White Tea has been "discovered" for both its taste and health properties.

Today the highest quality White Teas are usually the leaf styles known as "Silver Needle" and "White Peony" or Bai Mu Dan (also known as Pai Mu Tan) made in various regions of China, and now by Tea Gardens in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Only the finest new tender fleshy sprouts of the tea bush are picked from selected plant varieties at an exact time in the Spring, determined by the Tea Master, when new buds are wrapped in an unopened outer leaf. Very delicately handled so as not to bruise the leaf, the unopened leaves and buds are often separated and dried slowly to preserve the unique flavors.

Strand Tea has offered pure White Teas for several years. Most recently, some tea companies are selling blended and flavored White Teas – even crushing the poor little leaves into teabags! While it might be harsh to call this criminal, when it comes to White Tea, Strand Tea goes for pure.

A couple of things to know about White Tea:

1. Health claims for White Tea are based on cancer research. One study from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University reported a high level of antioxidants and other promising anti-cancer compounds.

2. In hard times, very poor Chinese people would serve guests boiled water if they could not afford tea. Host and guest would refer to the water as "white tea" and act as if the tradition of serving guests tea had been carried out as usual. This usage is related to plain boiled water being called "white boiled water" in Chinese.