Best White Tea

The 10 Best White Teas for A Luxury and Delicate Brew

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Why not give your tea pot a break from the norm and brew a pot of luxurious white tea instead? Only harvested in the Fujian Province of China for a few weeks of the year, white tea was once considered so special that only royalty could drink it!

Thankfully, white tea is available to all of us nowadays, and in this article, we look at some of the best white tea currently available. We also consider what makes white tea so special and how it has been linked to health benefits such as reduced risk of heart disease as well as how it may help skin aging and weight loss.

​Best Pick

Numi Organic Tea Orange Spice White Tea

The Numi Organic Tea orange spice white tea is our sustainable, kosher and halal best pick for a spicier introduction to white tea.

​Budget Pick

Harney & Sons Dragon Pearl Jasmine White Tea

The jasmine-infused hand rolled Harney & Sons Dragon Pearl Jasmine white tea is our floral budget pick of the white teas.


1. ​Numi Organic Tea Orange Spice White Tea  

Highlighted Features

  • A white tea blend which contains orange, cinnamon, cloves, Schisandra berries and spices
  • Comes as a 16 oz sustainably produced and resealable pack
  • Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Does not contain any artificial flavors and is also gluten free, halal and kosher

A blend of organic white tea, orange peel, Schisandra berries, lemongrass and spices, the Numi Organic Tea orange spice white tea is also Non-GMO Project Verified. It is free from any artificial additives and a five to seven minute steep is suggested in freshly boiled water.

This white tea blend is also kosher, halal, gluten free, carbon free and uses sustainable packaging. The manufacturer is a B Corporation social enterprise. This 16 oz resealable pack of white tea blend is a balance of citrus with spice although some drinkers consider that the spice flavors, especially cloves and cinnamon, overpower the other flavors of the tea. This blend also contains more cinnamon, orange peel and cloves than white tea.

​Pros

  • Loose blend of orange spice and white tea
  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Kosher
  • Halal

​Cons

  • Contains less white tea than some of the other ingredients
  • Cinnamon and clove flavor can overpower the white tea

2. Harney & Sons Dragon Pearl Jasmine White Tea 

Highlighted Features

  • Hand rolled white tea pearls of leaves and buds from Fujian Province which are infused with jasmine flower essence
  • Comes as a tin of 20 sachets/pyramid bags to allow the pearls to unfurl
  • Lightly caffeinated with a medium bodied flavor and flowery aroma
  • Certified kosher

The 20 tea bag tin of Harney & Sons Dragon Pearl Jasmine white tea contains hand-rolled white tea pearls made from leaves and buds that have been infused with jasmine flower essence. The tea bags are silk pyramids to allow the pearls to unfurl properly during steeping. This light-colored tea has been hand rolled in Fuan, northern Fujian Province and its flavor is medium bodied with a jasmine and floral aroma.

This is a lightly caffeinated tea and is also kosher. The jasmine aroma can overpower the delicate white tea in this and may leave it lacking in flavor. Some drinkers have also found that it this tea is left steeping for too long it will become bitter.

​Pros

  • White tea bags with jasmine
  • Medium bodied
  • Hand rolled pearls
  • From Fujian
  • Kosher

​Cons

  • This tea will become bitter if over-steeped
  • The jasmine aroma can overpower the white tea
  • Not an organically sourced white tea

3. Uncle Lee’s Tea Organic White Tea

Highlighted Features

  • A pack of 100 individually wrapped tea bags of white tea sourced from the Fujian Province
  • Has a subtle, complex and mildly sweet taste
  • Organic and grown without any pesticides, this white tea is also kosher certified

Harvested from the Fujian Province where it is grown without the use of any pesticides, Uncle Lee’s Tea organic white tea undergoes little processing. This tea has a mildly sweet, complex and subtle taste and comes as a pack of 100 individually wrapped tea bags.

The color can be darker than other white teas and it may lack flavor, which means you may prefer to brew two or three bags per cup. This tea is also kosher certified.

​Pros

  • 100% white tea
  • Organic
  • Pesticide free
  • Kosher
  • Individually wrapped tea bags

​Cons

  • ​Color will be darker than more premium white teas
  • ​May need to brew two or three bags per cup for better flavor

4. Jocko White Tea RELOAD 

Highlighted Features

  • Blend of organic white tea, pomegranate, hibiscus and other natural flavors
  • Comes as a box of 100 individually packaged tea bags
  • Free from any artificial additives or flavors

The Jocko white tea pomegranate is a blend of white tea, hibiscus, lemongrass, dried pomegranate and natural flavors. It does not contain any artificial flavors. The 100 tea bags are individually packaged although there can be a risk of damage to the packaging.

This blend may also lack some flavor and it is not currently certified organic, although the manufacturer has confirmed that the ingredients are all organic and they are working towards certification.

​Pros

  • White tea and pomegranate blend
  • Individually wrapped tea bags
  • No artificial flavors
  • Organic ingredients

​Cons

  • Although organic ingredients, this white tea blend is not yet certified USDA organic
  • Some drinkers may find it lighter in flavor than other blends
  • The packaging is at risk of being damaged during shipping

5. Prince of Peace Organic White Tea 

Highlighted Features

  • 100 count of individually wrapped tea bags
  • Organic Peony White which has been processed Zhenge-style
  • This tea is fuller bodied, has a richer aroma and deeper color

The certified USDA organic Prince of Peace organic white tea comes as a pack of 100 tea bags which are individually wrapped for freshness. A three to five minute steep in hot water is suggested for brewing. This Peony White tea is processed in the Zhenge-style which gives the tea a deeper color, richer aroma and fuller body. The tea bags can be prone to damage and you may need to brew two or more bags per cup to increase its flavor.

​Pros

  • Pure white tea
  • Peony White
  • USDA organic
  • Individually wrapped tea bags

​Cons

  • The tea bags can be easily damaged and can leak into your brew
  • May need to use multiple bags per cup to gain maximum flavor

6. Teavana Youthberry White Tea 

Highlighted Features

  • A blend of white tea, fruits, hibiscus and rose petal
  • Four packs of 15 sachets/pyramid bags
  • Only needs steeping for two minutes at 175°F
  • Gives a fruity and floral flavored brew

The Teavana Youthberry flavored white tea blend contains white tea, mango, hibiscus, orange and rose petals. This comes as four packs of 15 pyramid bags or sachets which will need steeping for two minutes at 175°F. Some have found this blend to be weak and choose to brew with two bags and other drinkers have found that the florals sometimes overpower the fruit flavors.

This blend is not currently organic although the manufacturer is committed to ethically sourced teas and sustainable farming practices.

​Pros

  • White tea, fruit and botanicals blend
  • Pyramid tea bags
  • Fruity and floral flavor
  • Two minute brew

​Cons

  • Not currently an organic blend
  • The florals (rose and hibiscus) can overpower the fruits
  • A lighter flavored white tea blend

7. VAHDAM Himalayan Imperial White Tea

Highlighted Features

  • A white tea sourced from the foothills of the Himalayas
  • Is lightly oxidized to give a mellow and sweet flavor and bright color
  • Steeps for up to five minutes at 176°F to 194°F for maximum flavor
  • Vacuum packaged for freshness and also comes with an aluminum lined zipper bag

Harvested from the Himalayan foothills, the VAHDAM Himalayan imperial white tea is lightly oxidized and has a bright color with a sweet and mellow flavor. This needs a four to five minute steep at 176°F to 194°F for its best flavor. This smaller pack of 1.76 oz of loose tea is vacuum packaged and comes with an aluminum lined zipper bag to store the tea in once opened.

Some drinkers will not be as keen on the taste of this white tea as it is an Indian white tea rather than a ‘true’ white tea from Fujian.

​Pros

  • Indian white tea
  • Loose tea
  • Sweet and mellow flavor
  • Resealable pack

​Cons

  • Has a different flavor as not a Fujian white tea
  • Only a small 1.76 oz pack

8. Numi Organic Tea White Rose White Tea 

Highlighted Features

  • A 16 count box of white tea and whole rosebud blend which is USDA organic and GMO free
  • These tea bags are also Fair Trade, carbon free and B Corp
  • Free from any artificial additives or flavors

A blend of white tea and whole organic rosebuds, the Numi Organic Tea white rose white tea does not contain any artificial ingredients. This box of 16 tea bags has a sweet and fragrant flavor and is certified Non-GMO Project Verified, USDA organic, Fair Trade, carbon free and Certified B Corporation.

Some have found that this blend is lacking any rose aroma or flavor and there can be a risk of the packaging arriving damaged.

​Pros

  • White tea and rose blend
  • Fragrant and sweet flavor
  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Fair Trade

​Cons

  • The rose aroma may be subtle for some tastes
  • There is a risk of this tea arriving with damaged packaging

9. The Republic of Tea Emperor’s White Tea 

Highlighted Features

  • White tea which is hand harvested only two days of the year in the Fujian Province
  • 50 pack of sustainable and unbleached tea bags in a presentation tin
  • Flavor is grassy, delicate and light with faint sweetness

Grown in the Fujian Province, The Republic of Tea Emperor’s White brews to a pale yellow color with a delicate and light grassy flavor which is faintly sweet. The price of this white tea is reflected in the fact that it is harvested by hand for only two days of the year.

The 50 count of tea bags come in a reusable tin and the tea bags are unbleached and do not contain any chemicals, strings or staples. This tea can turn bitter if left to steep too long and if the water is slightly too hot it will ruin its flavor.

​Pros

  • Pure white tea
  • Light and delicate grassy flavor
  • Hand harvested
  • Fujian
  • Sustainable tea bags

​Cons

  • Costs more as this white tea is only harvested two days of the year
  • If water is too hot, the flavor is ruined
  • Tea will turn bitter if left too steep for too long

​10. Twinings of London 100% Pure White Tea 

Highlighted Features

  • Pure white tea which is hand harvested from the Fujian Province
  • A 20 pack of individually wrapped tea bags
  • Has a darker color and its flavor is smooth and delicate

The delicately and smooth flavored Twinings of London 100% pure white tea comes as a pack of 20 individually wrapped tea bags. Hand selected in the Fujian Province; this is a more oxidized tea as it darkens to more of a bronze color although it can still lack flavor compared to other white teas.

​Pros

  • Pure white tea
  • Fujian
  • Smooth and delicate flavor
  • Individual packaged tea bags

​Cons

  • Is a more oxidized white tea and will brew darker
  • Can lack flavor compared to other white teas

Things to Consider Before Buying White Tea

White tea is the new and young buds and tea leaves from a specific Camellia sinensis (tea) plant known as the Da Bai Hao tea bush. It gets its name from the silver colored down called ‘Hao’ which covers the buds and leaves. White tea can only be harvested during a few spring weeks from the northern district of Fujian in China on dry and non-humid days. Because white tea is harvested so early in the year, this gives it a more delicate and sweeter flavor than green tea. Only white teas which come from Fujian province are ‘true’ white teas.

References to white tea have been found as far back as the Tang Dynasty (618-907). At this time white tea would be in a compressed cake which would be broken up and steeped in an earthenware kettle. It became popular during the later Song Dynasty (920-1269) but only royals could drink it.

A ruling made by the royal court during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) stated that only loose white tea could be served in tribute to the emperor which meant that its processing methods had to change to produce the tea in the form that it is still known today.

After harvesting, white tea is almost immediately naturally dried (a process called ‘withering’) through heated vents, sunlight or wind drying chambers. This is unlike green teas which are fired or steamed at this point to prevent further oxidation. Withering helps preserve the polyphenol antioxidants in the tea and also allows it to oxidize slightly.

Once the tea has been withered it undergoes very light roasting and this gives it its light and floral taste and aroma. How the tea is processed depends on the region, the climate and even the local traditions, although todays techniques only date back to the late 18th century, when the Xiao family created an economical white tea process to eliminate pan frying, shaping and roasting.

White tea is usually more expensive than some green teas and most black teas. This is mainly due to the labor-intensive and skilled hand harvesting of the tiny leaves from the tea plant. Because it is only harvested for a few weeks of the year in certain weather conditions, this also limits its production and drives up its price.

Types of White Tea

Silver Needle (Yi Zhen Bai Hao) is the premium and single source white tea containing the largest unopened and juicy buds with long and fine or needle-like silvery tips. The shapes should be uniform, and the tea should not contain any leaves or stems. Its infusion is silky smooth and its flavor delicate, a combination of light vegetal/woodsy notes and honeysuckle with a honey sweetness which lingers.

Bai Mu Dan or White Peony is also a single source white tea. This tea is made up of unopened smaller buds along with two emerald green leaves. This gives a pale golden brew which is delicate with some nutty and melon and honey flavors. Because White Peony lingers on the palate it is often used in white tea blends.

Shou Mei (Noble, Long Life Eyebrow) is often made up of the teas unsuitable for sale as White Needle or White Peony. Harvested slightly later in the season it is more oxidized, darker colored and has a bolder flavor more like that of an oolong. Like Shou Mei, Tribute Eyebrow (Gongmei) made of less quality teas. This is young leaves without buds and has a fuller and darker flavor with a bold finish.

A newer tea, first developed in the late 1960s, Fujian New Craft (DaBaiCha or DaHoaCha) comes from Fuding in China and its long and curly leaves with a rich green-brown color give it the appearance of a black tea. This lacks the delicacy of other white teas and it has a fuller flavor yet a mild fragrance.

Other white teas include Ceylon white tea from Sri Lanka, Darjeeling white tea from India, as well as many blended and flavored white teas. As teas from other regions are made from different varieties, they often contain less antioxidants and will have a different caffeine content to a true white tea.

Difference Between White, Green and Black Teas

As well as white tea being made mainly from the buds of the tea plant it has a delicate and fruity flavor, sometimes with notes of hay or milk chocolate. Green tea has more of a vegetal taste and can be sweet or bittersweet. Black teas are fruity, dark and bold. They also differ across their concentrations of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.

Caffeine Content of White Tea

There has been some debate around the caffeine content of white tea. A traditional white tea from Fujian is very low in caffeine as the tea plant it is harvested from is naturally low caffeine. It may contain as little as 6 milligrams or as much as 25 milligrams of caffeine per cup.

However, white teas grown in other regions can contain higher levels of caffeine, up to as much as 60 milligrams of caffeine with one study showing that Indian white tea contained more caffeine than Ceylon black tea.

As a white tea is usually brewed for less time than more processed teas are, this also contributes to a lower caffeine content.

Preparing White Tea

White tea is best prepared as a green tea. You will need more leaf than other teas – around one tablespoon of loose leaf per cup will give a better brew. White tea made with water heated to around 170°F to 180°F and allowed to steep for between four and five minutes will usually give the best cup. If the water is too hot is the leaves will overcook and turn astringent. White tea can re-steeped several times.

White Tea and Heart Health

The polyphenols in white tea are linked with lower risk of heart disease as they may be able to stop LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol from being oxidized. They may also help our blood vessels to relax and they are linked with boosting immunity. All of these factors may help lower risk of heart disease, in fact when five studies were analyzed, the researchers found that those who drank three or more cups of tea every day had 21% lower risk of heart disease.

White Tea for Weight Loss

Like green tea, white tea has also been linked with weight loss. Both teas contain EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which is a catechin linked to fat burning when combined with the caffeine which green and white teas also contain. An extract of white tea was able to prevent the formation of new fat cells and stimulate the breakdown of fats in a laboratory study.

White tea may also be able to boost our metabolism by burning an extra 70 to 100 calories per day. As yet, there have been no long-term studies around white tea and weight loss; perhaps because white tea is drunk by fewer of us when compared to green or black teas.

Bone Health

Free radicals and chronic inflammation are linked to speeding up osteoporosis by suppressing the cells which lay down new bone and encouraging the cells which break down the bone. Catechins have also shown to be affective in suppressing down the cells which break down bone tissue in osteoporosis. Mostly seen in women over the age of 50, osteoporosis can reduce quality of life and increase risk of fractures.

Dental Health

Although tannins in tea are often a direct cause of teeth staining, the tannins in white tea alongside fluoride and flavonoids can inhibit salivary amylase which actually reduces the potential for starchy foods to contribute to cavities. White tea contains fluoride in enough quantity to make it effective in helping reduce dental caries and the flavonoids - in particular the catechins - are able to inhibit the growth of plaque bacteria.

White Tea and Skin Aging

Elastin in the body acts as an elastic tissue in the skin, arteries, lungs and ligaments and it also helps tissue repair and prevents skin from sagging. As we age, elastin levels decline and wrinkles and sagging of the skin increase. The protein collagen is also important for the strength and elasticity of the skin.

White tea has been shown to prevent certain enzyme (elastase and collagenase) activity which breaks down the collagen and elastin in the skin to cause wrinkles. These same enzymes are also linked to inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. The research into this only used very small amounts of white tea, less than we would actually drink.

Sun damage also damages the skin over time and one study showed that white tea extract applied to the skin helped protect the skin from some of the effects of UV

Internal body aging is often caused by free radical damage, and the antioxidants in white tea are known to help prevent some free radical damage.

White tea has also been linked with being beneficial for helping lower the risk of insulin resistance which is linked to diabetes and heart disease often as we age. White tea may also be able to play a protective role against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease and it could have some potential as an anti-cancer agent.

Conclusion

The limited availability of white tea and its delicate flavor is often ignored for bolder green and black teas. In this article we considered what makes white tea so desirable, its processing, its traditions and what you should look for when choosing a white tea. We have also discussed some of the potential health benefits that white tea can offer us and although there has not been as much research into white tea, what there has been to date is promising.

We hope that you have enjoyed our article on choosing the best white tea for a luxury and delicate brew and if you have yet to try white tea, we hope that we have convinced you to brew a pot and see for yourself why white tea was once the drink of Emperors!
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Wyatt Young

Although a caffeine addict, Wyatt prefers tea instead of coffee! After he finished college, Wyatt sp...

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