One of the most crucial factors in brewing white tea is steeping the tea leaves or buds in water.
It’s through this steeping process that nutrients are realized and the beverage gets its rich flavor and aroma. With steeping, what matters most is the length of time you infuse the white tea leaves or buds.
If you leave them in the hot water for too long, you’ll end up with an unpleasant bitter flavor. However, if you steep for just a few seconds, the resulting drink won’t taste like white tea at all. So just how long should you steep white tea?
How long to steep white tea
White tea ought to be steeped for anywhere between 2 and 5 minutes. The specific duration depends on the variety you’re brewing. Some like the Long Life Eyebrow only need 2 minutes while others like the Silver Needle can be steeped for up to 5 minutes.
Steeping Silver Needle White Tea
This is considered to be the highest grade of white tea in existence. As a result, it’s highly sought after. It features a light and sweet taste with a woodsy body.
The recommended steeping time for Silver Needle is between 3 and 5 minutes. Unlike other types of white teas, you have to be extra careful when steeping this tea. Here’s why:
Silver Needle is made purely from the silver-colored tea buds, the part of the plant that brims over with all the good stuff.
It’s these buds -and not the leaves- that contain the highest levels of polyphenols, caffeine and theanine. Now, if you steep for any longer than 5 minutes, you risk damaging the healthy properties of this tea.
Steeping White Peony
The White Peony’s flavor is just slightly stronger than that of Silver Needle. It’s flavor profile is also more sophisticated, constituting mild sweetness, light melon and dried hay with hints of baked notes.
To achieve this taste, it’s recommended that you steep White Peony for 2 to 3 minutes.
If you prefer a bold tea flavor, then go for the maximum of 3 minutes. But if you like it subtle, then remove the tea leaves as soon as it gets to the 2 minute mark.
Steeping Tribute Eyebrow
What distinguishes Tribute Eyebrow is that it’s brewed using only young tea leaves; meaning no buds are used. Usually, these leaves are plucked later than White Peony and Silver Needle. Due to this, the resulting tea has a darker, more full-bodied flavor and its texture is thicker.
Its flavor is described as being earthy with a few notes of sweetness. To nail it, you should steep it for about 2 to 4 minutes.
Steeping Long Life Eyebrow
Contrary to other white teas that are made solely from either the buds or leaves, the Long Life Eyebrow contains a blend of both.
It has a very distinct flavor, which comprises fruity notes -resembling those of honeydew melon- that blend perfectly with the light leathery, woody background.
Compared to other white tea varieties, the flavor and pleasant aroma of this tea is way more pronounced. But to achieve this, you’ll need to steep it for just 2 to 3 minutes.