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What Makes White Tea So Special?

As the cold Himalayan winter comes to an end and green slowly returns to the terraced hillsides, tea gardens and estates prepare for the earliest spring plucking and the making of white tea. It is often between the last weeks of April and early spring that the small window to pluck white tea opens up.

White tea is characterized as a tea that is not oxidized (meaning broken, bent or rolled) in any way. Therefore, great care must be taken when transporting the freshly picked green leaf from field to factory where it is withered and dried. Because it is not oxidized in any way, the teas maintain their color and leaf-like form. The end product is a sweet, smooth and refreshing tea that distinguishes itself from its green and black tea cousins.

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. The term “Silver Needles” also refers to a type of white tea. In this case, just the buds of the tea are picked making it one of the more labor intensive and rare teas on the market.

silver needles- young mountain tea

White teas also contain less caffeine than other tea categories. Caffeine is made by plants as a natural insecticide. Ironically, because white teas are picked in the spring they contain the most caffeine with is concentrated in the new growth of the plant as it establishes itself. However – what makes caffeine accessible to our bodies is how hot the tea is brewed and how long it has been oxidized. Because white tea is less oxidized and brewed at a cooler temperature than most green and black teas – our bodies actually get less caffeine in every cup.

We carry a collection of 3 white teas from across India and Nepal – all with distinct tastes.

Nepali Silver Needles,  Kumaon White,  Nilgiri White

White teas are known for their soft and sweet notes.  They leave one's mouth feeling refreshed, and body cleansed.  Antioxidant rich and with minimal caffeine, they are appealing on many levels. White tea is not a replacement for your black and green tea collection – it is an additional tea drinking experience. White teas are fantastic as sun teas, or as a warm cup in any season.

 


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