Everytime I try white tea it tastes watery?


White and yellow teas are among the most subtle.

Everytime I try white tea it tastes watery?

Postby thename1000 » Jan 9th, '13, 19:37

Hey, I recently started brewing tea so I got a cast iron pot, boil water on the stove with no thermometer, and a variety of teas from teavana.

Every tea I've tried has been very good, but every time (have tried about 4) I try to make a flavored white tea it turns out tasting like lightly flavored water (not in a good way). I've heard that white tea is 'less bodied' but is it standard for it to taste like this? :!:

I steep it for about 2 minutes (This time is what's recommended by teavana). I boil the water (21 ounces) then let it sit for about a minute (I read somewhere that number should be two minutes?). And finally I use about 4 teaspoons (I use a regular spoon and don't make it very heaping) of tea.

So am I doing it right? Is it supposed to taste like this? :?
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Re: Everytime I try white tea it tastes watery?

Postby Alex » Jan 10th, '13, 05:53

I can't comment on teavana tea but I'd try tea from a different vendors. Also ditch the flavoured whites and get some decent quality white peony or silver needle.

Yes it has a subtle flavour but you should still be getting a lovely sweet fruity cup. You can try indian white teas as well if you want a bit more body. Silver needle assam is my favourite tea of all time.

I don't know any decent US vendors but give these guys a try

http://jingteashop.com/cat-jing-tea-shop-white-tea.cfm
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Re: Everytime I try white tea it tastes watery?

Postby JRS22 » Jan 10th, '13, 09:43

In addition to Jing, as recommended above, there's Seven Cups, which is located in the US, so travel time is much shorter. But if you live near a Whole Foods try a canister of Rishi Silver Needles. You can read about their tea on their website. Any of these options are going to be much better than Teavana.
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Everytime I try white tea it tastes watery?

Postby debunix » Jan 10th, '13, 10:41

I can second the suggestion for Jing and Rishi as above, and in the past 2 years I've gotten a variety of interesting and flavorful white teas from Norbu.
Last edited by debunix on Jan 10th, '13, 10:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Everytime I try white tea it tastes watery?

Postby Drax » Jan 10th, '13, 10:42

thename1000 wrote:I steep it for about 2 minutes (This time is what's recommended by teavana). I boil the water (21 ounces) then let it sit for about a minute (I read somewhere that number should be two minutes?). And finally I use about 4 teaspoons (I use a regular spoon and don't make it very heaping) of tea.


I think most people here are going to steer you away from teavana-sourced tea, and I won't disagree. :D

However, I would greatly (repeat: greatly) reduce the amount of water you are using. White tea (or at least, white peony types) tends to be really light and fluffy, so it's hard to recommend exact amounts.

For an example, I've been enjoying a white peony lately that I brew in a gaiwan. I fill the gaiwan about half (or a little more than half; it's light and fluffy, and I don't smush it down or anything). And my steep times are on the order of 10 seconds (yes, seconds).

So, yes, probably look at other sources, but for the tea you currently have, you should be able to tweak your brewing parameters to get a better cup of tea.
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Re: Everytime I try white tea it tastes watery?

Postby debunix » Jan 10th, '13, 10:51

Drax wrote:However, I would greatly (repeat: greatly) reduce the amount of water you are using. White tea (or at least, white peony types) tends to be really light and fluffy, so it's hard to recommend exact amounts.

For an example, I've been enjoying a white peony lately that I brew in a gaiwan. I fill the gaiwan about half (or a little more than half; it's light and fluffy, and I don't smush it down or anything). And my steep times are on the order of 10 seconds (yes, seconds).

So, yes, probably look at other sources, but for the tea you currently have, you should be able to tweak your brewing parameters to get a better cup of tea.


Agreed. With a new tea, starting with the source's brewing commendations may be a good idea, but its always ok to start tweaking immediately if you don't like the results: increase the tea to water ratio or the brewing time if the tea is too thin or light, decrease the tea to water ratio or the brewing time if the tea is too thick or strong. With a white tea, I'm wary of really extended brewing time because the flavor can change radically with longer infusions, so packing the teapot is usually the way to go to increase flavor.

This is a good time to trot out the idea of weighing your tea, because white teas can be so light and fluffy that a large volume may contain only a small quantity of leaf:

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Re: Everytime I try white tea it tastes watery?

Postby amaranto » Jan 22nd, '13, 02:31

I second the Seven Cups recommendation. I enjoy their Bai Mu Dan and think it has plenty of body, though they've just added some Shou Mei, which might be more to your liking because it generally has an even fuller flavor.

I generally steep my whites in a gaiwan slightly under half full for under a minute on the first steep at around 165F. I've tried a couple of Teavana flavored whites that didn't have the melony, juicy, hay-like freshness I generally associate with whites at all.
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Re: Everytime I try white tea it tastes watery?

Postby Teaism » Jan 23rd, '13, 02:32

I find this works quite well for white tea and also green and light baked oolong.

Brew on Gaiwan but control the water pouring. You can start with about 90c /194F temp hot water. Pour the hot water from high level say 9in to 1 ft high from the gaiwan and control the water stream as thin as possible, without any break. Pour in a circular movement and let the water enter from the side of the gaiwan. When the water is fill up, close the cover and wait for around 15 seconds ( longer for subsequent brew). When you pour the tea out from the gaiwan, discard one quarter of the top brew and pour the rest as fast as possible to a pitcher. Place the gaiwan down and turn 180 degrees, lift it up and pour out all the remaining drops of tea. Make sure no tea is in the gaiwan in between brew to prevent any steeping and cause bitterness. Open the cover and let the tea breath and then start the whole process again. Typically you should get around 3 good brews from this method.

Of course there are many other ways but this just a suggestion for you to try out. Let me know the result.
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