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devotea logo... Date Printed: 06-14-2024

What are Green and White Teas?

Green teas are produced in virtually every growing region and come in an amazing variety of forms. Processing may begin with withering (air drying) but this is not required. Fermentation is prevented by heating immediately after withering. Here one of the first variations occurs. Heating may be by steaming, hot air treatment, or pan firing. The desired result in any method is that the leaves retain their green color as much as possible. Then the leaves are rolled, either manually or by machine. Small leaves may be rolled lengthwise (Precious Eyebrows), or into pellets (gunpowder). Larger leaves may be curled or rolled into pearls. Japanese pan fired teas are left flat. Then the leaves are dried, in hot-air driers or by being spread out under the sun, to complete the processing.

White teas are produced mainly in Southern China. Only the bud and first two leaves are picked. They must be handled very carefully to prevent damage to the leaves which would start oxidation. The leaves are gently steamed to destroy natural enzymes that cause oxidation. The leaves are then dried and quickly packaged. White teas are appreciated for their very delicate, pure taste. They often have floral overtones and scent, and can have a hint of sweetness as well.

Because of the limited production and careful processing required to produce excellent white teas, expect to pay higher prices for a good white tea.