Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to prepare white tea - silver needles 白毫银针

White tea is one of the least oxidised teas in the whole spectrum of tea types. Grown and harvested almost exclusively in the Fujian province of China, white tea is the product of the most delicate buds and young leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant. Only those young tea leaves with much fine hair (pekoe) are plucked to produce good-quality white tea with lots of pekoe.

The processing steps involved in manufacturing white tea are relatively simple as compared to other types of tea. The leaves are allowed to wither under the sun before they are air dried to prevent further oxidation. This is why white tea is very rich in antioxidants.

 To brew this tea, you will need:
1. a porcelain gaiwan, 2. high quality white tea from a trusted vendor, 3. tea cups, to enjoy the beautiful colours of a white tea infusion. When at work, I usually would drink form the gaiwan without these "frills".

Preheating the gaiwan is always recommended to ensure an optimum brew. After preheating your gaiwan, pour some of the hot water into your cups to warm them as you get ready for the next few steps. Discard the remaining used water.

Depending on the size of your gaiwan, the right amount of leaves should allow enough room for the tea leaves to open fully to release their maximum flavours. Add boiling water to just about 80% full so that the gaiwan will not be too hot to handle after the infusion. As these are delicate leaves, I do not recommend pouring hot water directly onto the leaves. The hot water should ideally hit the walls of the gaiwan first before coming into contact with the leaves. In addition, a thin-walled porcelain gaiwan is used to help diffuse the heat.

If you find bubbles accumulating on the surface, gently push them to the sides of the gaiwan with its lid before replacing the lid. As they are rather open leaves already in their dried form, infusion time is short. To quantify, I would say, approximately 40 seconds. No hard and fast rules apply here.

The infusion is light tangerine in colour. The tea smells beautifully of autumn leaves and tastes very sweet with an even sweeter aftertaste.

Blogeintrag auf Deutsch: Wie man weißen Tee aus Silber-Nadeln bereitet

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