White tea is the most prized and least processed of all. It comes from the delicate, immature buds and/or leaves of the first flush (first flush is the first picking of the tea). It is allowed to wither slowly (reduce water content and lose its rigidity) indoors in a dark, cool room. After withering for 9-24 hours, depending on weather, the tea is dried either outside or with the assistance of a fan/heater. This minimal processing retains the most antioxidants and results in the lowest caffeine level of the leaf (unpowdered) true teas. White tea has a very mild taste that can be somewhat floral. The leaves/buds are very pale/”silvery ” in colour and produce a pale infusion.
Green Tea can be produced from any flush. Unlike white tea, the leaves may be twisted, rolled, or otherwise shaped during processing. They are also either roasted (most common in China) or steamed (most common in Japan) to dry them and stop them from oxidizing. There is a wide range of flavours and appearances with green tea. The best green tea is very fresh and sappy – it tastes green and alive offering the experience of drinking the essence of spring.