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White Tea

White tea is a lightly oxidized tea produced from the withering and eventual drying of fresh leaves. This leads to delicate and subtle oral, sweet flavours.

After careful plucking, the leaves or leaf buds are withered. This is a complex process involving both outdoor and indoor withering and careful control of the temperature, moisture level and ventilation. The leaves are spread on bamboo racks and are left whole and unbruised to wither for up to three days. Fans can be used to speed up the process. The timing depends on weather conditions, and is critical. During this time oxidation occurs (about 8–15 percent), but is not promoted. Too much oxidation will lead to a brown colour, too much handling causes the leaves to turn red or even black and if they are not dehydrated correctly the finished tea will taste stale or oxidized. After withering, the leaves are sorted according to the desired grade. Broken leaves are often removed.