How Subtle Are White Tea Flavors?


White and yellow teas are among the most subtle.

How Subtle Are White Tea Flavors?

Postby Dronak » Sep 9th, '05, 22:44

I've heard before that the flavor of white tea tends to be rather subtle and that green tea drinkers are more likely to be able to appreciate those subtle flavors. I assume that's because green tea is less processed than other types, making it closer to white tea than other types of tea. I do drink green tea, but my tastes are still primarily for black tea. So just how subtle are the flavors of white teas? Will I be able to appreciate them even if I'm not very accustomed to the flavors of teas on that end of the processing spectrum? I'm curious because I'm trying to pick out a nice variety of samplers to order and I'm not sure if I should get some white tea or not. If you have some suggestions, I'd like to hear them. Thanks for the help.
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Postby klemptor » Sep 10th, '05, 09:02

Go for it - although I much prefer black tea to any other variety, I've found that I really do enjoy white tea. The flavors are subtle but definitely there - you don't generally brew a "strong" cup of white (like you can with black); white teas are much more mellow. I don't really know how to describe it better than that. But definitely give them a try.
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Postby Dronak » Sep 10th, '05, 10:30

I've had some white tea before (bagged and possibly blended) and it tasted fine. I just wasn't sure if I was getting the full effect and able to appreciate the subtle flavors. Do you have a suggestion on which one(s) would be good for someone generally unfamiliar with white teas? Maybe the sampler pack?
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Postby klemptor » Sep 10th, '05, 19:16

I've actually not had Adagio's whites yet - I'm first and foremost a lover of black tea. The white teas I've tried have all been from The Republic of Tea; they only sell one full-leaf white tea, the rest are bagged.

I've enjoyed their Asian Jasmine and Honeysuckle White teas. The Vanilla Coconut looks good; also, for an unflavored white tea, their Emperor's White Tea looks nice. They unfortunately don't sell samplers of these (which I really wish they did) so if you buy it and hate it, you're stuck with it.

That said, I'm waiting for Adagio to be restocked on their White Darjeeling - I've heard this is fabulous and can't wait to give it a try. The White Assam looks like it has a lot of promise.

I'm sure the white sampler would be a good way to go - I've been thinking about getting this myself. You'll have to let me know what you think of it.

Hope this helps!
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Postby bambooforest » Sep 10th, '05, 21:59

White peony is probably a good bet as I think it is the least subtle of the whites.
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Postby Dronak » Sep 10th, '05, 22:10

That's a good point, if it's the least subtle in flavor, it will probably be the best introduction to that range of teas. The sampler has both the white assam and the white peony (plus song yang and snowbud), so I guess that would be a good choice. Thanks for the suggestions. If anyone else has some, I'd be happy to hear them.
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Postby bambooforest » Sep 11th, '05, 00:00

By the way, make sure you use enough leaf when brewing. White tea is very voluminous and so you will need more leaf than you may think. My personal practice is 2 grams of leaf per 4 ounces of water for greens and whites.
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Re: How Subtle Are White Tea Flavors?

Postby Ric » Sep 11th, '05, 17:31

Dronak wrote:I've heard before that the flavor of white tea tends to be rather subtle and that green tea drinkers are more likely to be able to appreciate those subtle flavors. I assume that's because green tea is less processed than other types, making it closer to white tea than other types of tea. I do drink green tea, but my tastes are still primarily for black tea. So just how subtle are the flavors of white teas? Will I be able to appreciate them even if I'm not very accustomed to the flavors of teas on that end of the processing spectrum? I'm curious because I'm trying to pick out a nice variety of samplers to order and I'm not sure if I should get some white tea or not. If you have some suggestions, I'd like to hear them. Thanks for the help.


I am a black tea lover myself, but I have tried the white tea called "snowbud" from Adagio and I tend to like it more than I do my green teas.

Like klemptor said, "Go for it!"
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Postby PeteVu » Sep 11th, '05, 19:37

bambooforest wrote:White peony is probably a good bet as I think it is the least subtle of the whites.


To me white peony tastes more like green tea than white. Seems like a tea trapped between types. I cant stand the stuff, personally.
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Postby Jeanne711 » Sep 12th, '05, 09:19

Do you have a suggestion on which one(s) would be good for someone generally unfamiliar with white teas? Maybe the sampler pack?


If you go with Adagio's Sampler pack, be sure to throw in a sample tin of the Silver Needle. To me, it's one of their more flavorful white teas ~ very smooth, naturally sweet and delicious. Just be sure to use at least two teaspoons of leaves per 8 oz cup of water and brew for a good 7 minutes or so. Also, I find the 2nd brewing with most white teas to be richer than the first. Now, if you're in the mood to experiment, be sure to pick up a sample tin of the White Peach ~ it's divine. Many of the members on my little tea forum have been singing it's praises all summer long.

Of course, White Darjeelings are at the very top of the list of my white tea faves ~ they are incredible! Until Adagio's new stock comes in next summer, you could give the Darjeeling's Silver Tips White Tea by Tealuxe a try. HTH
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Postby Tadiera » Sep 12th, '05, 09:52

I love white tea, myself. I was introduced to it at a job I was at a couple of years back (this same job is where I was really properly introduced to tea, proper brewing, good tea, etc) and I have loved it ever since.

I have sensitive tastebuds; a good cheesecake only takes one bite before I have to stop. ;)

As for white teas, they are subtle, but I find it odd how some people use this to imply they lack in flavour. Sure, they are not a kick in the face proverbially like some black teas, but they just have a far more... hmmm, I find it relaxing quality.

For me, greens and blacks are good at the beginning of the day, rooibos/chai in the afternoon, and white after a long day to wind down. :)
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Postby Dronak » Sep 12th, '05, 17:53

Thanks for the suggestions. I placed my order last night though, so it's too late to add the Silver Needle white. I'll try to keep it in mind as a possibility for a future order. Since the descriptions for white teas here say 5 cups to a sampler instead of 10, I assumed they need 2 tsp per cup instead of one. Temperature and time should be on the label; they were on the first four teas I got. If you can get two good brewings out of the white tea leaves though, I guess I could get 10 cups out of it. Normally I don't bother to reuse leaves, but have heard around here that in some cases it can be a good thing to do.

I'm sure white teas do have flavor; subtle doesn't mean none. My concern is that the nuances of flavor will be lost on me since I'm accustomed to the strong flavors of black teas. And this may seem silly, but knowing the relative rarity of white teas, if I'm not going to really be able to appreciate those subtle flavors, I'm kind of inclined to leave them to the people who can and not remove some of the supply from the market. But I did order the sampler pack to try. I've only had bagged white before, so I am kind of curious to see how the loose white compares.
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Postby Tadiera » Sep 12th, '05, 19:29

Dronak wrote:I'm sure white teas do have flavor; subtle doesn't mean none. My concern is that the nuances of flavor will be lost on me since I'm accustomed to the strong flavors of black teas. And this may seem silly, but knowing the relative rarity of white teas, if I'm not going to really be able to appreciate those subtle flavors, I'm kind of inclined to leave them to the people who can and not remove some of the supply from the market. But I did order the sampler pack to try. I've only had bagged white before, so I am kind of curious to see how the loose white compares.


You may suprise yourself. :)

I was introduced to white teas after being largely used to bagged black/green. They were, I think, my first proper introduction to loose leaf tea.

I found that I prefer to drink it alone (as in; no food with it) so that I can better appreciate the flavour without overpowering it. You may try that; perhaps make yourself a pot in the evening, as you wind down from work (or, seeing your location, maybe school). :)
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Postby Dronak » Sep 12th, '05, 19:53

I probably have tea with food (snacks, not meals) about as much as without food, but that is a good suggestion. If the flavors are subtle, not having something else with the tea that might overpower its flavor or my taste buds is a good idea.

P.S. -- I got my PhD in December, but that was a good guess from the location alone. :)
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Postby Tadiera » Sep 12th, '05, 20:06

Dronak wrote:P.S. -- I got my PhD in December, but that was a good guess from the location alone. :)


Not as much a guess as 'I used to live in that area'. ;)
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