White teas are primarily grown in China. They're made from the buds and young leaves of the tea plant.
The buds and a first few leaves are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before being lightly processed to avoid further oxidation. This type of tea is considered "slightly oxidized" or "unfermented". The reason it's called "white tea" is because the silvery white hairs on the unopened buds of the plant give is a silvery-white appearance. The infusion itself is more of a pale yellow or green colour.
This style of tea provides the highest antioxidant content than the other preparations. It's also some of the most expensive teas available due to the limited number of buds that can be picked from each plant.
Brewing White Tea:
White tea is brewed more similar to green tea than black. Lower water temperature (70-80 celsius) and 2 minutes brewing time is generally preferred. Just like green tea, longer brewing or hotter temperatures will produce a much more bitter and astringent tea.
70-80 degrees celsius
2-4 minutes. White tea can withstand longer brewing times than green before becoming bitter.
+ Bai Hao Yinzen
+ Bai Mudan
Chinese. This white tea is made from plucks with one leaf shoot, 2 immediate young leaves. It has a fuller flavour and greater potency.
+ Darjeeling (white)
India. Darjeeling is available in black, green, oolong, and white. Generally made from the small leaved Chines variety Camellia sinensis var. sinensis rather than most other indian teas (C. sinensis var. assamica). It has a delicate aroma, and brews to pale golden colour with a mellow taste and some sweetness. It is recommended to use a bit more tea leaves than usual when preparing this tea. It is generally grown at altitudes of about 2000 meters.
+ Pai Mu Tan
Means "white peony". Picked from the secondary bud, and two closest leaves. They are sun dried, and finished with gentle heating to dry. Light bouquet and gentle, delicate flavor.
+ Shoumei Tea
China. Plucked later than Bai Mudan, causing the tea to be slightly darker in colour.
+ Silver Needle Tea
China. Regarded as some of the highest quality white tea in China. This tea is hand harvested only 2 days a year. The flavour is very silky and smooth with some sweetness. Use 7-10ml per 250 ml water at 80C, steep for 4-5 minutes. If a stronger flavour is desired, use more leaves.
+ Yin Zhen
Meaning silver needles. For this tea, the top most bud is picked early before it has opened, and handeled cautiosly to avoid damaging the fine hairs under the buds. The buds are then sun dried, and finished by heat drying. Flavour is very similar to Pai Mu Tan tea.