Ingredients: A Note on White Tea

Aaaah, gentle white tea.


The making of tea

I am not a great one for traditional tea. Give me a bunch of herbs and spices and I will make you the most wonderful tea – to make you feel happy, energised, relaxed, quiet, calm or sleepy. Robust in taste or so so subtle. Unusual. Interesting. Teas to make you really say “Aaaahhhh…”.

I do like Jasmine Tea when I am eating Chinese or some other SE Asian foods. But in general I have never explored the world of teas.

When in Hong Kong, I did so love the tea ceremony experience in the real Tea Shops. The wooden tray with the underlying water trap. The pouring and pouring and pouring of water. The small cups, the instant serving – no long seeping of tea – the refilling and refilling and refilling.


Then there was the time several years before that when I was really ill in Hong Kong, and waiting in the airport I sat in a Tea Shop for over 2 hours, drinking a wonderful, rose petal based tea which settled my stomach and made the wait bearable. It was so special, I remember it still.

Oh, such experiences. But they don’t translate well to our lives unfortunately. Try to have such gentle ceremonies of the drinking of unusual teas with friends – well, they think your weird to be using your and their time this way.

I hadn’t pursued it. I stuck with my bunches of herbs and spices. Weird enough for my friends, but they love my teas.

But recently, I have been looking into tea balls and tea rolls (tiny balls each hand made), and white teas. The internet is to blame of course. First one blog had some information (Karen Cheng, I think) and then another (was it Cook Almost Anything?), and then I saw some balls in my favourite coffee and tea shop, Cikolatte. And then there is the Teas web site. Finally, their wonderfully described white teas sent me to Cikolatte to buy some white tea – and I was converted.


If you look at the web site, there are quite a few varieties of white tea, all full of antioxident and other goodies, and they don’t taste at all like black tea. Oh yum.

Some of them are the wonderful little balls that open and reveal wonderful leaves when they are in your glass.

Some of them are leaves that float when they first hit the water, and then gradually expand and sink to the bottom.

And the best thing – you can just keep refilling your pot with water time after time after time. Want to refill it 20 times? Sure thing. So when I am working through the day, I can put 3 or 4 of the tiny tea balls directly into my cup, and refill all day. Heaven.

Here are the white teas that I have tried.

Oriental Pearl Drops Jasmine Tea

Jasmine Pearls are beautiful hand-rolled Jasmine scented tea pearls (small balls) made of Silver Needle young white tea leaves.

Jasmine Pearls are also known as Jasmine Dragon Pearls, Downy Pearls and Buddha Tears.

Watch the tea pearls slowly uncurled itself – beautiful to watch. A beautiful subtle and sweet tea. Use 4-6 pearls per cup. You can refill the pot 12 – 20 times.

Pai Mu Tan – White Peony

Also known as White Peony, Pai Mu Tan (Bai Mu Dan) is one of the most popular White teas. The leaf has a thin coat of white hair and the brew is light in colour with a slightly roasty taste. The tea is leafy, not in tiny balls (pearls). The leaves expand and sink after a few seconds in the water.

Lavender White Tea Balls

A delicate and tranquil white tea ball with the scent of lavender blossoms and violet flowers. It opens into wonderful flowers in hot water.

The Brewing of White Tea

White tea should be brewed with water just off the boil. Brewing time can be 2 – 5 minutes. The tea leaves can be used many times, or until the taste diminishes.

To reduce the caffeine content of white tea pour hot water over the tea, then throw away the infused water and then infuse the tea leaves again like a normal cup of white tea. White tea brews to a pale yellow colour, with a light but delicate sweet flavour.



From the Teas Series

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Author: Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.

23 thoughts on “Ingredients: A Note on White Tea”

  1. I’m a much bigger coffee than tea consumer, but while I was living in Taiwan I used to buy dried lavender buds in big bags from a tea shop. This shop was wonderful, you could buy almost any kind of leaves, flowers, bark and even dried fruits for tea brewing. I used to brew some lavender tea every night before going to bed. Very soothing.


  2. I have to admit since becoming a mum to switching to the humble tea bag. One day I’ll get back to fresh leaves and cute little teapots. But I have to say that Clipper Lavender and Chamomile is my current nighttime winding down favourite.


  3. It is lavender season here – and many varieties in the streets nearby. I love putting a flower and stalk into a pot of tea. It really is the most special flavour isn’t it.

    Maritasays, I love my coffee too. At least 1 cup at my fav coffee shop/cafe – a 5 minute walk – each day. BTW, loved the bag you made too.


  4. Tea is such a great drink t sit down to alone, or to share with friends! I am really happy to find another tea aficionado! The tea balls are really fabulous to watch as they unfold.


  5. I’ve been drinking white tea since a while now, ever since the health-craze around it has started, shortly after the green tea craze! Interesting post and great photos you have here!

    It is really lovely, isn’t it? Funny how even tea has fashions! Thanks for dropping by and your lovely comments.


  6. Hi there,

    I just wanted to say thanks so much for the link to my tea post! I really enjoyed reading yours, too :)

    Isn’t tea fantastic? Seriously.

    PS Great photos, too!

    Oh, guess what? I have just linked to your pasta dish too, from my pasta page! You are one good cook. Yes love tea, although coffee will always be my first love. Thanks for your comments about my photos. …


  7. Oh! Reading made me (almost) weak in the knees. Same story as yours I *hate* traditional Indian Chai.. with milk. But after moving to the west discovered hot water infused teas and I love them. I try crazy stuff but you are on a whole another level.. I would so come and join you in your little tea party!!!

    I am so glad I found you :)

    Hi Mythili, I love Indian chai – and the traditional Sth Indian Coffee, but tea in the afternoon? Very special. I am glad that you have been inspired to try new teas – it is great to grow some of the ingredients yourself too.


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