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A Guide to Brewing Perfect White Tea

Before we discuss how to brew white tea, you should know that there are three main types of white tea. If you are not familiar with them, please check out our blog: Varieties of White Tea.

White tea is a fascinating tea. Silver Needle is delicate, and its brewing method is a bit similar to green tea. It requires special attention to water temperature and brewing time. White Peony and Shou Mei have thicker leaves, which can withstand higher water temperatures and more brewing methods, such as using a thermos. Brewing different types of white tea can help you appreciate the diversity of Chinese tea.
Due to the significant differences in brewing methods for different types of white tea, we will introduce their brewing methods separately according to the types of tea.

 

Silver Needle

Silver Needle is the most prized variety of white tea. It is made from young, unopened buds that are covered in white hairs. 

Water

Tea should be brewed with soft, purified water. Hard water will make the tea cloudy and heavy, and unfiltered water will affect the taste.

It is recommended to use mineral water and pure water for brewing tea. Mineral water is rich in minerals, which will make the tea soup more mellow. Pure water is pure in quality, which will make the original flavor of the tea stand out.

No matter what kind of tea you are brewing, it is important to use good quality water.

Choosing the Right Teaware

The teaware used to brew Silver Needle can be a gaiwan, a purple clay teapot, a glass cup, or a porcelain cup, but it is best not to use iron or copper utensils, as this may cause the tea soup to turn color.

Water Temperature

The brewing water temperature for Silver Needle is generally between 80 and 90 degrees Celsius. Because the leaves of Silver Needle are very delicate, if the water temperature is too high, the leaves will quickly be burned by the high temperature, destroying the tea's aroma and flavor.

Tea-Water Ratio

The Tea-Water Ratio for Silver Needle is generally 5 grams of tea leaves per 100 grams of water.

Infusion time

The first infusion time for Silver Needle is generally 30 seconds. If the infusion time is too long, the tea soup will become bitter.

The brewing time for the second infusion can be appropriately reduced by 5-10 seconds. If you feel the taste is too weak, you can also increase the infusion time, but be sure not to keep the tea leaves soaked in hot water for a long time, as this will make it bitter.

Brewing steps

  1. Place the tea leaves in the cup, rinse with warm water once, and immediately pour out the tea soup to remove dust from the surface of the tea leaves and stimulate the tea's aroma.
  2. Pour in 80-90 degrees Celsius hot water and let it sit for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour out the tea soup and enjoy. Note that you should completely pour out the tea soup, and do not let the tea leaves remain in the water.
  4. Repeat step 1-3, Silver Needle can be brewed repeatedly, generally 5-10 times, or even more times.

White Peony and Gong Mei

The leaves of White Peony and Gong Mei are thicker than those of Silver Needle, and they can withstand higher water temperatures. In addition, at higher water temperatures, they can release a more mellow flavor. Therefore, their brewing methods are somewhat different from those of Silver Needle.

Choosing the Right Teaware

White Peony and Gong Mei can be brewed in a gaiwan, a purple clay teapot, a glass cup, a porcelain cup, or even a thermos flask (for a more mellow flavor). However, it is best not to use iron or copper utensils, as this may cause the tea soup to turn color.

Water temperature

The brewing water temperature for White Peony and Gong Mei is generally between 95 and 100 degrees Celsius.

Tea-Water Ratio

The Tea-Water Ratio for Silver Needle is generally 5 grams of tea leaves per 100 grams of water.

Infusion time

The first infusion time for White Peony and Gong Mei is generally 30 seconds. The brewing time for the second infusion can be appropriately reduced by 5-10 seconds.

Brewing steps

  1. Place the tea leaves in the cup, rinse with warm water once, and immediately pour out the tea soup to remove dust from the surface of the tea leaves and stimulate the tea's aroma.
  2. Pour in 95-100 degrees Celsius hot water and let it sit for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour out the tea soup and enjoy. Note that you should completely pour out the tea soup, and do not let the tea leaves remain in the water.
  4. Repeat the above steps for up to 10 infusions.

Brewing by thermos

Brewing white tea in a thermos can result in a more mellow flavor and very convenient, , especially in the office or hotel. The thermos can keep the tea soup warm, even if it is not drunk for a long time, it will not cool down or become weak. In addition, the thermos is well-sealed, which can help prevent the tea soup from becoming stale.

  1. Choose a thermos with a suitable capacity. Generally speaking, a 1L thermos is enough for one person to use for a whole day.
  2. Rinse the thermos with warm water to remove any odors.
  3. Place the tea leaves in the thermos, generally using 10 grams of tea leaves per 1 liter of water.
  4. Pour in 95-100 degrees Celsius hot water and let it sit for 5mins. You can even brew it for up to 2 hours to get a more intense tea soup.
  5. Open the lid and enjoy.
  6. Repeat step 4-5, You can repeat the brewing process until the tea leaves taste very weak.
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