types of tea


The Emperor's tea


How many of you know what white tea is? Raise your hands, don't be shy! Probably not too many, until you are a "tea-obsessed" like me now (at first i was very surprised when i discovered that other types of tea beyond black and green exist).
So, what is white tea? It comes from the same plant as all the other teas, so where is the difference? This time it's not just a different work process, but also in which type of leaves are involved. In order to make white tea, only the first leaves of the plant are picked and then they are subjected to a very light drying in order to avoid oxidation. So white tea keeps even more organoleptic properties of the raw leaf in respect to the green tea.

When I saw it for the first time, i was quite disappointed because I expected to see leaf which were white as milk, not a very slight green with a hint of white/brown. So why call it white tea? the answer is in the type of leaves used: the first leaves of the plant are covered with a white fur, and this is why it's called white tea. However i bought a very cheap tea, while other more expensive white teas have a color even more similar to white. 

Yes, white tea is expensive, and there aren't so many varieties as black or green teas: if you want to try it, you have to spend a little bit. I think that the best strategy is not going directly into your favourite tea shop and buying it. I say this because this tea has a very very very light taste: if you are used to drinking only black tea, or something strong (like coffee), it would probably be like drinking a cup of boiled water. 

Actually in some supermarkets there is a possibility to find this tea from the most well known brands (Twinings), which give you the possibility to taste it without spending too much. Then, if you like it, you can go to your favorite tea shop and buy whatever you want.

Just a curiosity (fun fact): in ancient China, only the emperor was allowed to drink this tea, because it was the most precious one. 

Also flavored versions of white tea can be found.

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