You’ve heard so much about white tea, but what is it exactly? All Snapple tells you is that it comes from “a baby tea leaf.” But is it really white? And why is it so good for you?
Today we’ll answer these questions and more when we take a look at one of the most popular (and delicious) examples of white tea. White Peony, or “Great White” as they call it in Brooklyn, is grown and produced primarily in the Fujian province of China where the locals know it as “白牡丹” or Pai Mu Dan.
Picked only between March 15th and April 10 (due to processing reasons), and never when it is raining or there is frost, the Great White is a product of only the top two leaves and a bud of the Narcissus tea plant (thus, they are the newest and could be called “baby tea leaves”).
Due to the relatively small amount of processing that the Great White undergoes, it retains most of the chemical compounds naturally found in the leaf. This means that, among all varieties of tea, white teas have the highest levels of antioxidants and other nutrients that benefit the body. It has also been shown to be the most effective to help fight the signs of aging, which is why you are starting to see it in many creams and spa treatments.
When steeped, the Great White is a mostly clear infusion (thus called a “white tea” due to its lack of color) with a subtle, lingering fragrance and a sweet, floral taste (which is why they call it “peony” after the flower) devoid of astringency or grassy flavor. Due to its subtle qualities, the Great White is excellent both as a light, refreshing iced tea and a soothing (low caffeine) hot tea.
So if you are looking for a great new tea that is refreshing and healthy, reach for the Great White.