Myths of Chinese white tea

Some myths of Chinese white tea (Fuding white tea):

Myth 1:

Are white teas unfermented?

Fact: White teas are lightly fermented. The claim that white teas are unfermented, which came about because of its apparent unprocessed appearance, is not true.


Myth 2:

Have white teas got the highest level of antioxidants?

Fact: White teas are the least processed teas of all teas and are high in anti-oxidants. I personally however have not come across any scientific reports of white teas having the highest level of anti-oxidants, although this does not mean it is not ture.

Myth 3:

Are white teas different?

Fact: Unlike other Chinese teas, white teas are graded by hierarchy: Silver Needle - the top grade which is made of the tip leaves only; White Peony - made of one tip leaf and 1-2 leaves below; Shou Mei and others - include more mature leaves from lower down the branch. There are many other factors contributing to white teas' quality, but generally speaking, these teas are from the same tea plants, using different tea leaves, made by the similar method and, effectively, similar teas of different quality grade.

Myth 4:

Are say all the Silver Needle on the market of the same quality according to above?

Fact: There are different vendors on the market offering different white teas all under the same name, Silver Needle, White Peony, Shou Mei etc. Is there then any quality difference? The answer is that there is a vast difference. The quality contributing factors include: the tea plant quality, the growing conditions/environment, the harvesting time, the making skills and the packaging and storage factors etc. This is not including the 'fake' white teas - the whites teas made using other tea plants to be sold as 'authentic' white teas. 

Myth 5:

Is ‘An Ji white tea' a white tea?

Fact: ‘An Ji white tea' is a green tea. It is un-fermented and processed with a green tea processing method. The reason it is called a ‘white tea’ is part of its name is because of its natural relatively white appearance. It is a premium Chinese green tea made using the green tea making method and is unfermented.

Myth 6: Is making white tea simple given it is the least processed tea?

Fact:The fact that white tea is the least processed tea does not mean the leaves are just picked and dried. The processing of white tea is extremely delicate and skilful.

Myth 7: Is white tea rare?

Not in the country where I am from, Fujian. Fujian is a tea country producing many premium Oolong and white teas. Being unique does not necessary mean ‘rare’.

Myth 8: Finally, white tea is NOT traditional black tea added with milk. Please do not try to add milk to the Chinese white tea – it will not taste right.