In today’s post we will touch down on the least processed tea from the Camilla Sinensis family, White Tea.
White tea used to be reserved for the Emperors and High officials of China due to the superior quality which involved picking the bud and top two young leaves from the Camilla Sinensis plant. Nowadays, not many people have heard of white tea but for those that are familiar with this type of tea have to pay a fair sum which would be more then your usual cuppa.
China Pai Mu Tan goes by a few different names such as White Peony (White Peony Tea), White Tea from Fujian (Fujian White), or Silver Tea.
This special type of White Tea as you might probably tell from the name above is from the Fujian region and is grown between 2000 – 4000ft above sea level. It is in this zone where 90% of the world White Tea is produced.
Health Properties of China Pai Mu Tan
- Due to China Pai Mu Tan’s very low exposure to oxidation it has the most amount of Polyphenols i.e. Catechins that is very useful when it comes to fighting chronic diseases such as cancer. The Catechins can also help to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.
- China Pai Mu Tan has a very beneficial affect on the Nervous system. It has an amino acid known as Theanine that helps you to relax so if you are ever feeling a little bit uneasy a nice cup of this delicious white tea might just be your fix.
- Another important property this delicate white tea has is Fluoride which is a natural protector for maintaining strong teeth and fighting gum disease.
The Processing Method
White tea is limited to two processes, three if the tea is of the Pai Mu Tan variety.
Stage One: After plucking, the first stage of the process involves withering outside on bamboo racks. Depending on the weather conditions they will need to be left to air dry over 24 hours. Tea manufacturers that are producing quantities on a large scale will use a leaf drying machine at different intensities.
Stage Two: The next stage is a process called sorting that involves picking out branches and other larger undesirables by hand. Any smaller bits of residue are discarded by shaking the buds and leaves through a sieve. Larger manufacturing tea companies would use a more mechanical approach for removing broken tea leaves.
Stage Three: Not all White teas undergo a third stage in the processing chain as they are traditionally not fired. China Pai Mu Tan variety however are subjected to oxidation or high-temperature drying, which changes their taste and appearance.
Tea Brewing Method
As we come to an end I want to tell you the best way of brewing China Pai Mu Tan.
It is important to remember that white teas are delicate teas so the temperature that you heat your water to must be lower then that of Green Tea.
The ideal temperature is 70 to 75℃ as anything closer to boiling point will spoil the leaves and you won’t be able to infuse the leaves again. So be warned 😉
Another important thing to note is to ensure that your water does not contain any chlorine as this can ruin the taste. If you do not have access to a water filter try purchasing some spring water at your nearest supermarket. I can get a 5 litre bottle of pure spring water at my local supermarket for only £1.10.
The steeping time for the tea is ideally 2 – 3 minutes after pouring one perfect tea spoon into your cup. Ideally I like to use a glass cup as I like to see the tea leaves dance around and watch the delicate colour infuse from the leaves.
To infuse your tea again you need to add another minute onto each infusion. You should be able to infuse your tea up to three times!
These are the techniques that I use for the perfect cup of white tea and are most commonly used amongst tea connoisseurs. You may have your own little tweaks for making the perfect cup but I would advise following these few steps for a pleasurable drinking experience. Try also adding a few slices of strawberries after completing your infusion for a real tropical twist!
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