There are many wonderful blends of tea, all with their own unique flavor, scent, and color. You may be very familiar with the strong taste and dark amber color of black tea, or the pale, yellow, slightly grassy flavors of green teas. Perhaps a nutty and spicy chai tea is your usual brew.
But what does white tea taste like? How is it different from other teas?
Perhaps you’re familiar with white tea already, in which case, some of this article may be familiar ground for you. If you’re new to white tea, welcome! You’re in for a treat. We’ll be covering how it’s made, the taste profile, brewing tips, and links to our favorite blends.
What is White Tea?
White tea is made from the same tea plant that produces black and green tea. The variation in the tea comes from the way the tea is processed. White tea requires the most gentle, and time consuming, processing of the three blends. The tea leaves are picked when they are still young and have a white downy hair on them. This downy covering on the leaf is what gives the tea its white color, which is retained through the processing. Through different stages of air drying, the tea is eventually finished and packaged, ready for our enjoyment.
What Does White Tea Taste Like?
White tea has a very delicate flavor, slightly sweet to taste. Whilst some can find green tea somewhat ‘grassy’ in flavor, white tea is a lighter tea taste and doesn’t have this issue. The light taste means that you’ll often find this tea comes in floral and fruity blends. Commonly you’ll find fruits and floral ingredients such as apricot, honey dew, grape and lavender.
This makes it a great pairing with most foods, as your tea and dessert will not be competing with one another! We have some tea pairing ideas later in this article, so keep reading.
How to Brew White Tea
Because white tea is so delicate, it is easy to overbrew and burn the leaves. This will result in a bitter tea that you’ll likely toss down the drain, a shame for everyone! To avoid overbrewing, ensure you don’t pour boiling water over the leaves. After boiling, allow your kettle to sit for a minute or two to allow the water to cool to a more suitable temperature (around 85F), or simply use a variable temperature kettle to set the temperature lower. Doing this will ensure you get the best flavor from your tea.
Generally, white tea is best served without milk or sugar, but if you like your tea a little sweeter try adding a small amount of honey to your brew. Plum Deluxe has Honey Sticks that add the perfect amount of sweetness for a large mug of tea. No sticky mess, just sweet tea!
As with most teas, the flavor of white tea can be impacted by how you store it. Store your tea in an airtight container or bag. The zip lock bags used by Plum Deluxe to package their tea are able to keep your tea fresher for longer. If you prefer to keep your loose leaf in a container, ensure it is an airtight one. Keep your tea in a cool, dry environment. Do this and you’ll continue to enjoy the same great flavor over time.
Our Favorite White Tea Blends
Lavender Daydream – The perfect blend for tea parties or other entertainment. Try it with lavender apricot scones for the full lavender experience! The fruity and floral notes go well with most dishes. Though the tea is lightly caffeinated, the lavender in it assists with relaxation, so you might find this your new favorite end-of-the-day cuppa
Candlelight Blend – No, you don’t have to drink this by candlelight… though you certainly can if you want to. The blend gets it’s charming name from the grape essence included within the blend, the same grapes used to make champagne. The gentle orange and grape notes within the blend allow the white tea to stand out as the hero. Relax and enjoy!
Tea Break – This white tea has a lovely aroma, with tangerine and honeydew flavors. Perfect any time of the day.
Afternoon ‘High Tea’ – This tea has been inspired by traditional high teas from Europe, a real treat for the tastebuds. Peach and pear are light on the palate and are perfect for when you’re entertaining. As with Lavender Daydream, this blend goes well with the usual afternoon tea party fare.
White Tea and Food Pairings
Scones are a staple at most tea parties for a reason: Their light pillowy texture with generous helpings of jam and cream are crowd pleasers. The gentle flavor of the scone means that whatever tea you have with it, it won’t be outshone. If you’re looking for your new favorite scone recipes, check out these British Strawberry Scones and Dark Chocolate Red Currant Scones. For something a little different, try the Apricot Lavender scones. Lavender in scones might sound a little unusual, but trust me, it’s great!
Sandwiches are versatile, delicious, and easy to make. Pair with a white tea for a sophisticated and yummy afternoon teatime. If you’re looking for something a little different with your sandwich fillings, check out these three twists on some classics.
Jammy Dodgers are English biscuits are the perfect companion to a brew of white tea. The buttery cookie and sweet jam complement the gentle, sweet taste of the tea without overpowering the flavor. Make in advance and bring out whenever friends are popping around for a cuppa or when you feel like a cheeky snack yourself.
There you have it: Everything you need to know to get started drinking white tea. Enjoy the experience, and don’t be intimidated by the delicacy of the blend. Once you’ve mastered these simple tips you may have found your new favorite cup of tea.