Though White tea blends aren’t as popular as the Green tea, Oolong, and Black tea varieties, it sure does deserve its spotlight. White tea varieties have a delicate and light flavour profile, making them one of the few blends that everyone can enjoy.
However, not all White ta blends are prepared the same way. Hence they do not offer the same taste and aroma. Some combinations are defiantly preferred more than others due to their flavour, aroma, and health benefits.
What is the best White tea?
Silver Needle and Gong Mei are among the best White tea varieties in the world. You’ll also find Shou Mei and White Peony being discussed and labelled as the best, while others would argue nothing can beat Moonlight White.
Shou Mei, otherwise also known as Long life Eyebrow, is a White tea variety grown and harvested in the provinces of Guangxi and Fujian in China. Shou Mei is considered a grade 4 variety of White tea.
The tea leaves of Shou Mei are often of lower quality leaves that are leftovers from harvesting of Silver Needle and White Peony. Hence Shou Mei blends are harvested later than Silver Needle and White Peony.
This tea blend contains lesser caffeine content than White Peony and Silver Needle and brews a golden-yellow cup of tea. The leaves of Shou Mei are also darker in colour compared to most White tea varieties due to its late harvest time.
Gong Mei, also referred to as Tribute Eyebrow like Shou Mei, is grown and harvested in the Chinese provinces of Guangxi and Fujian. Gong Mei is classified as a third-grade variety of White tea, ranking it higher than Shou Mei.
Gong Mei is similar to the White Peony but has smaller tea leaves harvested after Silver Needle tea. The flavour of Gong Mei is best described as strong and bold that is fruity. Some like to compare the Flavor profile of Gong Mei to share similarities with Oolong tea.
Nan Mei White Tea
Nan Mei is a variety of White tea which is harvested and produced in the Chinese province of Yunnan. This White tea variety is famously known for being plucked from a wild variety of tea plants, offering a sweet and fresh taste with a hint of spiciness.
Nan Mei is not harvested from the popular Camellia Sinensis plant; instead, it comes from the variety known as dehungensis.
It is rumored that this White tea variety does not contain any caffeine, which is a huge plus for regular tea lovers than want something with less caffeine.
Silver Needle, otherwise popularly referred to as Bai Hao Yinzhen or Yin Zhen, is the most famous White tea blend. The Silver Needle tea blend also has its own sub-category depending on where the tea leaves come from.
This White tea is considered the gold standard when it comes to comparing other varieties.
The Best Silver Needle blend is most commonly harvested in the Fujian province of China and is called Bai Hao.
Some blends are also harvested in the Yunnan province of China. However, this White tea variety is also harvested in many other countries.
The tea gets its characteristic name from its silver-colored harvested tea buds, which measure approximately 30mm in length.
The tea plant used to harvest the Silver Needle buds is the Camellia sinensis plant, and the variety is used named Da Bai, which was once only found in Fuding, China.
When brewed, the tea is golden colored and offers a floral scent. The flavor profile is described as woody, floral, light, and sweet that comes with silver ‘hairs’ floating on top.
White Peony or Bai Mu Dan (Pai Mu Tan) is a White tea variety made from a mixture of tea leaves and buds. This tea, too, like the previously mentioned teas, comes from the Fujian province of China.
If you are looking for a similar flavour profile and aroma to White Needle without breaking your bank, White Peony makes for an excellent alternative. The blend is harvested using only the top two leaves (green and brown in colour) of each shoot and includes buds.
When brewed, White Peony offers a more pale greenish-yellow color and tastes woody and nutty. Many prefer White Peony over Silver Needle since it is both affordable and provides greater health benefits. Thanks to the higher levels of EGCg. That helps boost immunity.
Fujian New Craft
A fairly new variety to the White tea family would be the Fujian New Craft. This White tea was harvested for the first time in 1968 in the Chinese province of Fujian. Fujian White tea is one of the more extremely popular white tea varieties in Hong Kong and Macau.
The best of amongst the Fujian New Craft tea leaves are ones that are plucked from Fuding DaiBaCha or Fuding DaHaoCha. The tea leaf of this White tea is prepared by a rolling technique which provides it with a curled appearance similar to most black teas.
If you prefer White tea with a strong flavor but mild scent, then Fujian New Craft would be right up your alley. When brewed, Fujian New Craft brews tea produce a drink with hues of red and orange.
Moonlight White is a famous White tea blend that comes from the Yunnan province of China. It gets its characteristic name from the method of withering used. Most teas are withered under the sun, but in the case of Moonlight White, it is withered under the moon.
The flavor profile of Moonlight white is often described as smooth, clean, refreshing with a creamy texture. Contrary to the bitter taste of most White teas, Moonlight white brews a sweet drink.
Darjeeling White is a type of White tea that comes from the Indian region of Darjeeling, which is famously known for its Black tea varieties. The leaves of Darjeeling White are prepared by simply steaming and then drying the leaves.
The tea leaves are grown at an altitude of 2000 meters. When brewed, they offer a light translucent colored tea with a sweet flavor.