How Long To Steep White Tea: Tips From Food Experts

Among all tea types, white tea is popular because it is the least amount of processing before being sold, making it one of the most natural tea types available. To prepare white tea, you need to steep the leaves in warm water for a while to extract the flavor, and here is a breakdown of how long steeping should last.

How Long To Steep White Tea? How long you steep white tea depends on the form of tea and the level of bitterness that you want. White tea leaves require around three minutes, while white tea buds need about 5 to 7 minutes. The longer you steep, the more bitter the tea.

In an article by Serious Eats, it is mentioned that the best water temperature for steeping white tea is 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. White tea has a distinct range of flavors, including sweet, floral, buttery, and fruity flavors.

A standout white tea product is the Legends of China Organic White Tea made by Uncle Lee’s. Its remarkable flavor and antioxidant component are reasons enough for you to make a purchase.

How Do You Make The Perfect White Tea?

You can make the perfect white by heating your water to just the right temperature, using the general measurement of the tea, and steeping your white tea correctly to your preferred taste.

White tea, regardless of what it is called, is actually pale yellow in color. It is called white because of the ‘fine silvery-white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which give the plant a whitish appearance.’

White teas are delicately rich spring-harvested teas. They only get lightly oxidized so they conserve a much greater subtlety of flavor and a great amount of tea’s natural antioxidants.

Unlike darker teas, white tea needs more attentive care when being prepared as the subtle flavor of white tea can easily get ruined by improper brewing and it cannot tolerate poor preparation technique.

You can make the perfect white tea in four easy steps:

Heat The WaterUse filtered or spring water. You can also use tap water if it has a neutral taste.Unfavorable water flavors may overwhelm the delicate flavor of white tea leaves.Do not overheat the water; the temperature of the water should be around 180ºF.If you do not have a thermometer then let the water boil, take it off the heat, and let it cool for five to eight minutes.
Measure The TeaThe most preferred measurement for white tea is two teaspoons per cup; you should measure this into a teapot, a tea ball, or an infuser basket.
SteepWhite teas can generally withstand longer infusion times than other tea types.You can steep your white tea for as short as one to three minutes or for as long as seven to ten minutes, this depends on your taste preference.
Pre-warm Tea CupsIt is recommended that you warm your tea cups before pouring in the tea, do this by pouring boiling water into the cup and taking it out shortly before you pour in your tea.Add a sweetener of your choice and enjoy your cup of tea.

White tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant and there are various types of white tea; these four are the most popular ones:

  • Silver Needle White Tea: it is also called Bai Hao Yin Zhen or just Yin Zhen. This type is the rarest and most expensive variety because they are often made from the first harvest of the year.

They consist of only spring buds, and this makes the demand for them higher than the supply. The health benefits of Silver Needle White Tea are that it is low in caffeine, boosts immunity, is a relaxant, promotes weight loss, and aids digestion.

White tea also promotes the health and strength of the heart. Silver Needle also has a delicately sweet taste and floral aroma.

  • White Peony White Tea: it is also called Bai Mu Dan. It is made of silvery unopened leaf buds and young tea leaves. It is cheaper than Silver Needle and has a slightly stronger flavor. The leaf-to-water ratio when preparing it is 5g to 320ml (11oz). The caffeine content in White peony is high.
  • Tribute Eyebrow White Tea: this is a tea of good quality; it is just of lesser standing when compared to Silver Needle and White Peony. It is made of naturally curled leaves and a small bud. It has a mellow and sweet flavor with a fruity fragrance, but the taste is darker and fuller.
  • Long Life Eyebrow White Tea: it is also called Shou Mei white tea. This is also of good quality and has lesser standing than Silver Needle and White Peony.

The flavor has a great balance between delicate sweetness and acidity, with floral, honey, and herbaceous aromas. Long Life Eyebrow is made from more mature leaves which are harvested later than the others.

These descriptions should make buying white tea easier for you, because now you know the four most common varieties, what they taste like, and what they are made from.

What Happens If You Steep White Tea Too Long?

If you steep white tea too long you will get an unpleasantly bitter-tasting cup of tea, and if that is what you want then you can go ahead to enjoy it; if it is not then you should steep your white tea for as short as two to three minutes.

When preparing white tea, steeping is an important step, getting it wrong will spoil the whole process and you will not get the taste you desire. It is advisable to always have a timer handy when making white tea, so you do not steep the tea for too long or too short.

Steeping too long gives you a stronger and bitter taste while steeping too short gives a very light taste and if you do not plan to re-steep the tea, steeping it for a very short time and then throwing it out is wasteful.

How Many Times Can White Tea Be Steeped?

White tea can only be steeped two to three times as the flavor gets lighter with each steep. If your flavor preference is a darker cup of tea (as dark as white tea can get) then try not to steep your white tea more than twice.

Many teas can be steeped more than once and white tea is not excluded from this list. Re-steeping should be done within the first few hours of your previous steep; this is because white teas are very sensitive.

Depending on the type and the taste and flavor you prefer, white tea can be steeped up to two or three times, sometimes even a fourth time. One thing to know about steeping is that the taste changes with each steep.

“A general guide for multiple infusions using white tea is:

  • The first steep should take three minutes.
  • The second steep should take four minutes.
  • The third steep should take six minutes.
  • The fourth steep should take nine minutes.”

A slightly hotter water temperature should be used after the initial steeping. If these do not give you a taste you enjoy, then you can experiment for yourself using longer or shorter steeping times and also adding your preferred sweetener.

Does White Tea Have Any Health Benefits?

Yes, white has benefits, a lot of them. White tea is the least processed tea among green tea and black tea and because of this, white tea conserves a higher amount of antioxidants.

Some health benefits of white tea are that it:

  • Prevents cancer.
  • Helps in weight loss.
  • Protects the body from harmful diseases.
  • Reduces heart disease risks.
  • Lowers diabetes risks.
  • Improves oral health.
  • Prevents osteoporosis.
  • Protects against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Benefits the kidneys.

Can You Drink Too Much White Tea?

Yes, you can drink too much white tea, and as with almost everything done in excess, drinking too much white has its side effects. It is more advisable to drink white tea in moderation, and two to four times daily is the general prescription.

White tea generally contains a great number of tannins. Tannins are acid common in many drinks, like teas, coffee, and wines. There are people who react to tannins negatively, these reactions range from mild to life-threatening.

Some of the reactions to excessive white tea are;

  • A mild headache
  • Feeling jittery
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea and many more

If consumed in excessive amounts, white tea may cause heart problems. The caffeine content mainly causes most of the side effects associated with white tea.

The application of white tea extract on the skin may cause skin irritation. Also, do not take white tea before going to bed as the caffeine content can keep you awake.

Drink white tea in moderation, two to four cups a day is the recommended dose, you can re-steep the same tea from your first cup two to three times throughout the day.

As much as you might love white tea, it is only beneficial when you drink it moderately. Excessive consumption of white can lead to any of the negative effects listed above.

What are the Various Types of White Tea and Does the Steeping Time Vary?

What are the various types of white tea and does the steeping time vary?

Some of the various types of white tea include the Silver Needle and the White Peony. Although most white tea types can be steeped for around the same period, there can be slight time variations for different types of white tea.

The Fujian province of China was the original production area of white tea, but as the demand for white tea grew, so did the production causing countries like India, Taiwan, and Thailand to produce their own.

Today, some of the most popular varieties of white tea are:

  • Yin Zhen Bai Hao (Silver Needle):

This variety is known for its superior quality which has made it very popular among tea enthusiasts. In addition to how popular Silver Needle tea is, it is very rare and expensive.

Silver Needle tea consists only of buds from the tea plants. It does not contain any stems or leaves, and its shape is uniform. It also has a delicately sweet taste and floral aroma.

  • Bai Mu Dan (White Peony):

This tea, like Silver Needle tea, is also of premium quality. Among tea experts, it is generally ranked as the second most notable type of white tea. White Peony tea is less expensive than Silver Needle tea.

The White Peony consists of two leaves and an unopened bud. It has floral top notes with a slightly stronger flavor than the Silver Needle tea.

  • Gongmei (Tribute Eyebrow):

This is a good quality tea though of lesser value than the Silver Needle and White Peony Tea. It consists of young leave and no buds. It has a darker and fuller taste.

  • Shou Mei (Noble, Long Life Eyebrow):

This is also a good quality leaf. It consists of leftover leaves that are not used in Silver Needle or White Peony. Since it is harvested later in the season, it is slightly more oxidized and has a darker color and a bolder taste than premium-quality white teas.

  • Fujian New Craft (DaHoaCha):

This is one of the newest additions to the white tea family, as it was harvested first in the late 1960s. It gives the appearance of black tea as it is processed by withering, slightly rolling, and drying the leaves. Although the flavor and liquor might be more robust than the others, the fragrance is extremely mild.

Some other types of white tea are;

  • Darjeeling White Tea (India).
  • Ceylon White Tea (Sri Lanka).
  • Imperial Himalayan White Tea (Himalayan Mountains).
  • Moonlight White Tea (China).
  • Malawi White Tea (Malawi).

The general steeping time for white tea is one to eight minutes, but it varies for different types:

  • The Silver Needle is steeped for three minutes.
  • The White Peony is steeped for two to three minutes.

The rule is to use more leaves, lower water temperature, and a longer steeping time for high-quality teas, while low-quality teas use fewer leaves, higher water temperature, and shorter steeping times.

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Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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