White tea is an unoxidised type of tea, that consists of youg leaves and buds. This type of tea is specific to the Fujian province in China (except for a few other variations like assam white, darjeeling white and ceylon white teas). Below are the five types of Chinese White tea.
Bai Hao Yin Zhen “Silver Needle” – highest grade Chinese white tea. It consists only of buds that have long, needle-like shape, pale green and covered with small white hairs. Overall the tea has a uniform appearance, with no twigs or leaves. The liquor is very delicate and smooth with light and fresh fragrance, slightly sweet.
Pai Mu Tan “White Peony” – usually considered as one grade lower then Bai Hao Yin Zhen, for this tea the bud and two top leaves are picked. The tea is picked between March and April on non-rainy and non-humid days. The brew is clear and shimmering, with a golden color and a floral fragrance. The liquor is devoid of astringency or grassy flavor. leaves are naturally withered and dried in the sun
Gong Mei “Tribute Eyebrow” – this tea is more processed then the two previous white teas and is also a lower grade (3rd grade tea). The leaves are this tea come from Xiao Bai trees – small withe tea trees. Consists of young leaves and no buds. It has a dark and full taste and is often served with Dim Sum. The name ‘eyebrow’ comes from the curved shape of leaves used.
Shou Mei “Longevity Eyebrow” – along with Gong Mei is a lower grade tea, more oxidised the first two, picked after Yin Zhen and Pai Mu Tan. Consists of upper leaves and tips collected between April-June. The leaves are large and bold Flavor and appearance-wise is often compared to oolong teas.
Fujian New Craft White Tea – a new white tea, its production process was developed in the 60s to increase overall white tea production. This process consists of three steps – withering, slight rolling and drying. The leaves have a long, curled appearance and a dark green/brownish color and the tea liquor was a weak fragrance, but strong taste. This tea is made of leaves less tender then the ones used in White Peony or Longevity Eyebrow.