I have a tea plant (Camellia sinensis) and would love to prepare my own White Tea. Can anybody tell me what processing of the leaves/flowers is needed? When to harvest? Etc.
google white tea camellia. I found some good info there.
Thanks for posting.
White tea is made from the youngest leaf buds of the tea plant. The 'when' to harvest is before the buds have unfurled. No fully developed leaves (and no flowers) are used.
I believe that the buds are steamed quickly to preserve flavor and color and to prevent oxidation and then dried.
Are you sure that your tea plant is 'White tea', a mutation plant from regular tea plant? It happened in Zhejiang Province, China in 80'.
I received 6 containers of 'White Tea' from my Chinese friend in Zhejiang Province during their camellia show festival in 2005. The tea leaves do show lighter color in the cup. The best way to maintain tea flavor is to keep air tight tea container in freezer.
One can make 'white tea' (generic term) without special cultivars. However, some of those varieties do lend unique flavors, certainly. But it's important to note that 'white tea' and 'black tea' (and green tea, etc.) can come from the very same plant
White tea is best thought of as one more category of brewed Camellia sinensis, each unique because of the methods of processing. White tea is so light in color because the leaves are harvested before they open up fully, protecting the chloroplasts from sunlight. The leaves are also never oxidized as the other tea categories are.
rhizo_1, That is not quite the "tea statement". White Tea means the tea made from "White Tea Cultivar".
For young tea leaves are harvested before April 15, the holiday for ancestry. The "leaves and sharp leaf-buds" are very young, they are usually classified as premium green tea. A typical name is called "Hair and sharp-point" or "Mao-Jian" . You should see numerous fine leaf-hairs floating on the top of the hot water and tea leave-buds in sharp point shape of young leaves. The leaves are in fresh green color.
Then without fermentation of tea leaves, it is all generally called green tea. If the tea leaves is under fermentation or semi-fermentation process, a special general name is introduced such as black tea, red tea, Tikuanyin or wuloom tea. There are over 300 special named tea in China. All these are made from C. sinensis. Yet there are at least 7 other Camellia species for tea making.