Home > What is White Tea?

As you can see from the picture on our bottle, white tea is predominantly buds as opposed to leaves.

One of the rarest teas in the world, white tea is called “white” tea because of the fine silvery white hairs covering its buds. Its unopened buds are plucked from the tea plant then withered to allow natural drying. The end product for brewing is a bud (not a leaf) making it one of the least processed of any tea on the planet—one reason why scientists claim it may also have the highest level of antioxidants of any tea on the planet.

According to an April 16, 2005 Edmonton Journal report that “White tea may be the best cancer-fighting tea of them all”. To summarize, they wrote that white tea contains the same type of polyphenols as green tea, but in greater concentration. (Polyphenols are the compounds found in tea which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help protect our cells from harmful “free radicals.” Free radicals left unchecked could cause cancer or heart disease.) It is VERY important to note that further study is required for the researchers to confirm their findings.

An excellent history of white tea can be found in the online publication called TeaMuse, which is produced by our friends at Adagio Teas. Written by Joshua Kaiser, here is a taste of “White Tea: Culmination of Elegance”

“When Song Dynasty emperor Hui Zhong proclaimed white tea to be the culmination of all that is elegant, he set in motion the evolution of an enchanting variety. For centuries white tea has been shrouded in obscurity outside of China, but today its much-beloved qualities are being discovered by tea lovers around the world. Equally as stunning dry as it is steeped in water, white tea presents an exquisite range of flavor and aroma, from a delicate sweetness to a more pronounced brightness.”

Here is the rest of white tea’s interesting story:

Where White Tea is From
The tea we use to make Inko’s comes from the Fujian (FU-JI-AN) province of China. It is a province of some 33 million people.

Fujian’s climate is warm and very moist; the terrain, mostly hilly or mountainous (see picture). Of the many ports on the heavily indented coast, Xiamen, handles most of tea export.

With this type of climate, Fujian’s land is arable and extremely conducive to a wide variety of products. Rice, sweet potatoes, wheat, as well as our tea are grown in the uplands, and fruit and silk are produced in the lowlands. The coastal region from Xiamen to Fuzhou is a major sugar-producing area. The chief oil-producing seed is rapeseed, but peanuts and soybeans are also grown. There is some tobacco, and the extensive forests in the mountains provide considerable lumber (fir, pine, rosewood, bamboo), camphor, and wood oils.

Chinese painters have often depicted Min’s gorges and the surrounding hills. Because so many of its localities were long isolated, Fujian has perhaps the largest number of dialects of any province (more than 100). To say the least, the people are diverse.

We at Inko’s are obviously very pleased to be associated with such an interesting culture and are happy to bring a little bit of it to your palate!

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