White teas are becoming pretty common items on tea vendors’ sites these days. High prices being paid for some of the finest is one motivator for others to try to create their own version of those special teas. A number of tea growing countries now present teas labeled as “Silver Needle.” But what makes a truly fine white tea is the real issue, especially seeing the quality of some of the white teas now on the market. As quantity increases, quality doesn’t always seem to be keeping pace. So you, the consumer and hopefully the one enjoying this tea, need to equip yourself with knowledge and use that when making your choice of which to buy.
The first step in your learning project is a reliable source of information. And as a reputable vendor of fine teas, we have put together such a source:
It contains not only text descriptions of what qualifies a white tea as fine, but dozens of photographs comparing various versions available on the market (and yes it includes many of the ones we sell, since we only carry fine white teas). The main thing to bear in mind is “whole loose leaf is best.” That’s not personal prejudice talking but years of experience sampling white teas at all points of the spectrum.
As for cost, with fine teas there is a general rule that you get what you pay for, but sometimes other factors besides quality will affect that price. Reputation, overhyping, or other things can push the price up. This means that expensive does not always equate to best. Nor does lower or more reasonably priced equal bad. You really have to go by the tea itself, and that usually means relying on vendor photos, tea reviewers, and other sources. Our guide should also be a big help. We’d appreciate your feedback on it.
Have fun in your search, and if you have a chance, stop by our store site and check out the 2015 Spring White Teas now available for pre-order and always assured to meet high standards.