Shapes of White Teas
Ever wondered why teas can look so vastly different from each other despite the fact that they all come from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis? Their colours can range from pale green to amber to ruby to brown and black, but this is caused by oxidation with air. What about their shapes and sizes? Some are in almost dust form or like little seedlings, some are curled up dry leaves, some rolled up in balls of varying sizes from pellets to golf balls, and some even in cake form!
Traditionally, teas are styled the way they are mostly for practical reasons like storage and ease of travel (cakes for example travel much better than loose leaves), but nowadays, often teas are made a certain way for flavour enhancement and aesthetic purposes. Taiwanese Oolongs, for example, are rolled into pallet form to bruise the leaves and allow for better oxidation. Gradually this shape has become synonymous with the modern Taiwanese Oolongs.
This month we are looking at three very different kinds of white teas, all with very different backgrounds and shapes - loose dried leaves in its most dramatic form, tightly curled balls from Fujian suitable for aging, and a fun new find that could very well have been a caveman’s teabag! While these varying forms are interesting to look at, you will be glad to know that white teas are also one of the best teas for summer. According to recent studies, white teas have the highest levels of amino acids, even more so than green tea, which in turn mean that white teas in fact have the best calming and cooling effects, and possess a “cool” property according to Chinese medicine.
While the pandemic continues to take its toll on the world, I hope that we are also adapting and finding solace in the simple pleasures of something like tea, especially one that allows us to calm down and be introspective. Perhaps set up a tea corner, or allow yourself 10 minutes a day just to brew and sip, nothing more.
Until next time,