Sunday, April 11, 2021

Processing of white tea

White tea can be defined by the sub-species it is manufactured from Camellia sinensis var. khenghe bai hao and Camellia sinensis var. fudin bai hao. These species can be found only in Fujian province and with minimal processing following traditional guide-lines. White tea is a seasonal crop (spring) with special sensory and health benefits.

The white tea manufacturing process, that is, tea fresh leaves/buds being dried, is minimal compared to production processes used for other types of tea. Because of that, white tea retains a high amount of its polyphenols, especially catechins.

White tea is often described as 'minimally processed' and 'unoxidized' tea among all type of teas. White tea is prepared from very young tea leaves or buds covered with tiny, silvery hairs, which are harvested only once a year in the early spring. The buds may be shielded from sunlight during growth to reduce the formation of chlorophyll, giving the young leaves a white appearance.

White tea belongs to the group of tea that does not require panning, rolling or shaking. Plucking of young tea leaves with much fine hair can produce good-quality white tea.

The first leaves and buds are selected and subjected to a minimum processing by simple drying. The leaves and buds are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation or further tea processing. The plant materials are steamed and dried immediately after picking to prevent oxidation, giving it a light and delicate taste.

Because there is no oxidation, it contains the most anti-oxidants and catechins, the least caffeine, and has a pale color with a delicate, sweet taste.

The minimal processing of white tea, plus the higher overall proportion of buds to leaf, gives a pale beverage with a slightly sweet, subtle flavor compared with other teas. The basic process for manufacturing white tea is as follows: Fresh tea leaf → Withering → Drying (air drying, solar drying or mechanical drying) → White tea.

White tea is said to be less in caffeine than green tea. White tea is also having much higher in antioxidants, esp. catechins than green tea.
Processing of white tea

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