White Tea is surrounded by folklore and mystique heralded from ancient China. I am talking really ancient here, as in Tang dynasty 618-907 AD. This delicate tea was proclaimed by the Emperor as “the culmination of all that is elegant” and reserved for members of the Imperial Court. The leaves were picked in early spring when young tea shoots abound and legend has it that the picking was done by virgins wearing white gloves. Well, it is a pure story at any rate!
White tea is thankfully no longer solely the property of Emperors and Kings! Although originally grown only in the Fujian Province in China, due to its increasing popularity it is now grown in other regions such as Sri Lanka, Taiwan and India. What has remained the same is the process of making this tea!
White teas are the least processed of all the teas. Leaves are delivered to the factory by hand where they are naturally withered and sun dried, no oxidation takes place.
The new buds are picked before they open when they have a white, silvery appearance (hence the name!). This white appearance is the ‘hao” or hair on the bud or baby leaf.
White teas are subtle, delicate and flavorful and are considered by some to have the most health benefits. The appearance of white teas can vary in color depending on style of tea but all have a very natural fresh look which is also very pure and natural in the cup, devoid of any astringency or grassiness.
With more antioxidants than black tea or green tea, research shows white tea has anticancer properties, is strengthening for the immune and cardiovascular systems, reduces high blood pressure and is calming and detoxifying on the skin(anti-sagging!).
So, what about our White Mischief from Local Tea Company? I thought this a very appropriate name on first tasting this tea with a mischievous play on the taste buds. Take a moment to smell this tea when it will also play mischief with your senses!
White Mischief is a type of tea known as Pai Mu Tan which means “white peony” and is produced in Fujian Province from a variety of tea bush called Narcissus or chaicha where only the “two leaves and bud” are used. The tea is mostly green with silver tips and is quite light and fluffy. The mischievousness is created by blending with a healthy dose of tart pomegranate and juicy guava!
When brewing White Mischief use one heaped teaspoon per cup with water heated to 180-190 degrees (or just under boiling). I find this produces a mellow flavor without scalding the leaves which may cause astringency. The tea can be infused for 2 minutes with plenty of flavor. A second infusion of 4 minutes and a third of 6 minutes will yield great cooling and refreshing character. See our earlier post on multi-steeping tea.
I have infused this tea as many as 6 times, but leave you to experiment with this very exciting and actually quite mischievous tea. Sorry couldn’t resist it one more time!
Tags: cahicha, camellia sinensis, downtown sarasota farmers market, guava, hao, local coffee + tea, loose leaf tea, multi-steeping, multifusion, multisteeping, narcissus, pai mu Tan, pomegranate, sarasota, Selby Gardens, Siesta Key, sip locally, tang dynasty, tea, Tea Lady, tealady, think out of the bag, white mischief, white tea