Water temperature also influences the final cup, and tea masters are vigilant about heating their water optimally to match the tea they are brewing. However, they determine the “readiness” of the water in different ways-visually, auditorially, and electronically.
Some look for visual signs of the water temperature to determine when the water is heated properly for the particular tea they intend to brew.
You may have heard tea masters talk about looking for “fish eyes” in the water. This is when medium bubbles form just before the water moves towards a roiling boil. This is when the water is ready for oolongs, generally. The way the steam leaves the spout of the kettle—in wisps or in gusts–also signals the water’s readiness for some tea masters.
White Teas are the least processed of teas. Harvested only once a year, during a few weeks in early spring, White Teas undergo a unique withering process that results in their fuzzy leaf appearance and full, creamy mouth-feel.
White Teas are minimally oxidized and not rolled, steamed, or fired like other teas.
The tradition and techniques for making White Tea originated in Fujian Province, China. The name “White Tea” comes from the tea’s appearance (the leaves and sprouts are covered with silvery-white hairs)– a characteristic unique to the original Fujian tea varietals that were selected to make this tea.
White Teas are made from the young, tender, new-growth spring leaves, they are low in caffeine and high in the amino acid, L-theanine, which contributes to the calming effect white tea has on the system.