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A Guide To White Tea

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A Guide To White Tea

White tea is one of the most prized tea types around the world. As the least processed of any style, the flavors and aromas become a reflection of the quality of the tea bushes that were harvested to make the tea.

What Does White Tea Taste Like?

Harvested just after the plants wake from winter dormancy, white tea's flavor captures the floral vibrancy of spring. As one friend put it, "It's like drinking sunshine."

White teas are known for their soft, sweet notes and light, subtle flavors. They brew up wonderfully as sun teas or cold brews, and make a most excellent warm cup too.

How is White Tea Made?

The making of white tea is a simultaneously complex and simple process.

As the cold Himalayan winter comes to an end and green slowly returns to the terraced hillsides, tea gardens and estates prepare for their earliest spring plucking and the making of white tea. It's often in the last weeks of April that the small window to harvest white tea arrives.

The name “White Tea” was established because the new spring growth of tea plants often have soft, white, downy hairs on the leaves and buds. 

White tea is characterized as a tea that is not oxidized (meaning broken, bent, or rolled) in any way. Therefore, our farm partners must take great care when transporting the freshly picked green leaf from field to factory, where it's then withered and dried. Because it's not oxidized, the teas maintain their green color and leaf-like form. The end product is a sweet, smooth, and refreshing tea that looks and tastes very different from greens or blacks.


White tea needles

Does White Tea Have Caffeine?

White tea most certainly has caffeine. How much is up for debate. It was long believed that white teas contained less caffeine than other tea types. However, the caffeine content in tea is a controversial and complex topic.

Plants produce caffeine as a natural insecticide. Because white tea is harvested in the spring, this tea type can contain a lot of caffeine, concentrated in the new growth of the plant as it establishes itself.

However, as with any tea type, the amount of caffeine that is released into the cup depends on many factors, including amount of leaf, water temperature, and length of brewing.

White Tea From India

There are generally two types of white tea from India:

  1. Those with the bud and the first two leaves like Organic Kumaon White
  2. Those made with only the bud, like Nilgiri Platinum Needle

We carry a collection of four white teas from across India and Nepalall with distinct flavor profiles: Kumaon White, Nepali Silver Needle, Nilgiri Platinum Needle and Nilgiri White. Our Kumaon White is also available in tea bags

A glass teapot of white tea, next to a pile of dried white tea leaves and a white cup.


Like to Try More of Our Teas?

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Blog Author:

Raj Vable, Founder of Young Mountain Tea

Raj Vable, Founder

He has been confounded by the leaf since his first transcendental encounter with white tea in 2010. Three years later, he started Young Mountain Tea to bridge his budding tea obsession with his interest in traveling in the mountains and previous experience creating job opportunities in rural India. He revels in working across cultures and can be regularly found trying to get the rest of the team on board with another outlandish tea project. His favorite teas remain white, and he’s always searching for the next cup of magic. 

Comments on this post (1)

  • Jan 20, 2023

    I appreciate and enjoy your informative blogs. And your writing style is warm and engaging,

    — Wendy

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