- Tea Knowledge
The downy furls of this bud-only tea present something of a changeling to the drinker's nose: depending on the brewing style, one can view the aromatic floral face, or taste the down-to-earth countenance of wood and hay. A resinous note reminds one of distant trees, a fruity side of a juicy nashi pear, and then appears the sudden scent of lily. White teas being only dried under the sun or hot air, its active enzymes mean the character will continue to change with age as well, presenting continual evolutions in teacups to come.
Among the six tea classes, white tea is the simplest to describe, but not the easiest to produce. The fresh leaves are withered outdoors in the shade and indoors in rooms with good air circulation. The leaves usually air-dry naturally, although sometimes baking is required to completely remove the moisture. Especially in the Yunnan province, some white teas are sun-dried instead.
Green tea is produced differently than white tea, the leaves scalded right after the harvest to prevent oxidation. White tea oxidizes during withering and is not heat-treated to stop oxidation. The different processing of white tea results in a delicate liquor, with none of the astringency and grassy undertones typical of green tea.