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Chill Out with a Refreshing White Tea - the Best Beverage for a Heat Wave

Busy beach in summerBlue skies and sunshine may be a most welcome sight, but when the climate becomes sticky and hot, we mustn’t forget the importance of keeping hydrated. Cold water is undoubtedly the best drink to do this, but it’s a well-known theory that hot drinks like tea can actually help cool you down on a hot day, as it’s thought they can increase the body’s output of perspiration. If you can’t quite decide between water or tea, why not try something a bit different with a light and refreshing white tea?

White teas differ from other teas in the type of leaves used and the way they are processed. They yield a pale yellow liquor when infused; the term ‘white’ applies more to the whitish appearance of the downy hairs on the unopened buds that are used. The finest white teas are produced purely from just the buds of the Camellia sinensis plant, but others are made with buds and also young, tender leaves. After the buds and leaves have been harvested in spring, they are minimally handled and processed, usually in just two stages of withering and sorting. The leaves are spread out on bamboo racks to dry naturally in the sun, or sometimes fans are used to help speed the process. Then they are sorted to remove any broken leaves and twigs. Because white teas are generally not fired, rolled or oxidised, their flavours are lighter and more subtle than other teas. They also contain less caffeine than green and black teas, but still have an abundance of antioxidants.

Although white teas were first produced in the Fujian Province of China, they can now be sourced from other countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Nepal and Kenya. Here are a few examples from the Tea-Direct range:

Assam Silver Needle White Tea is made with the delicate unopened buds of luxury Assam white tea leaves. This sought-after delight from the Mancotta Tea Estate yields a light-coloured liquor when infused, with subtle notes of honey and malt, and a clean, floral aftertaste.

Kenya Tinderet White Tea reveals wonderful floral and grassy flavours and a fresh, leafy aroma. A great tea to drink during the day or to relax with in the evening.

China Pai Mu Tan White Tea has gentle sweet flavours of fruit, grassy notes, and hints of spice. A suitable tea for drinking hot or serving iced.

A delicious thirst-quencher can be made by infusing white tea leaves in boiling water (for around 1-3 minutes, between 80ºC-85ºC (176ºF-185ºF), then cool and chill, adding honey or lemon if desired. Whether you drink it hot or cold, white tea is a flavoursome and refreshing drink for summer, or any other season of the year!