In every spring, white tea and green tea become the first teas available. Most white tea and green tea products share similar harvest dates. Some of them even have similar appearances. To many tea drinkers, spring white tea and spring green tea are exactly the same thing.
Of course, one major difference between white tea and green tea is that white tea can be aged. (See Blog for more.) But when both teas are fresh, it can be challenging for a regular tea drinker to tell them apart.
This confusion is understandable. Spring white tea and green tea have extremely simple tea-making steps. At the end of tea-making, both teas still preserve lots aspects of fresh leaves. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might easily mistake a white tea for green tea.
So, is spring white tea the same as green tea? The answer is No. Today, let’s talk about how fresh white tea is different from a green tea.
First of all, white tea and green tea have different shapes and sizes.
There are many types of green tea: Longjing from west lake, Bi Luo Chun near Lake Tai/太湖 in Suzhou, Maofeng from Mount Huang/黄山, Maojian from Xinyang in Henan. Although all of them being green tea, they have very different shapes: Longjing is flatter and straight; Bi Luo Chun is slightly curly; Maojian is slim, round and tight.
White tea, on the other hand, have quite different appearances. There are 3 major white tea products: Silver Needle, White Peony, and Shoumei/Gongmei. Except for Silver Needle, both White Peony and Shoumei/Gongmei have buds and leaves, and their leaves look significantly larger than green tea leaves. Silver Needle only has buds, and it sometimes could be mistaken for a green tea. However, Silver Needle’s iconic “white fur" on leaves are only found in white tea products.
Secondly, white tea and green tea have different aromas.
Green tea’s aromas are fresh, stimulating, and alive. Among all green tea aromas, the majority are fragrances of beans, chestnuts, faint scents, orchids, and grass.
Spring white tea’s aromas are noticeably more complex. A spring white tea has fragrances of dry grass, herbal medicines, and various flowers. A spring white tea’s aromas are not one single flat scent. The fragrances are layered and ever-changing. Compared to the fragrances of green tea, white tea aromas are more down to earth.
Thirdly, white tea and green tea have different mouthfeel.
Green tea’s tea soup inherits the same features as its aromas: fresh, light, and vivid. Green tea’s mouthfeel is the result of its tea-making: the hot pan-stir technique ceases the reaction between oxygen and polyphenols in fresh leaves. Thus, lots of nutrients are preserved in their original state. Therefore, green tea is able to deliver a mouthfeel that’s closest to fresh leaves.
White tea’s tea soup is thicker. The white fur on white tea leaves fall into the tea soup and make it denser. If drinking green tea is more like drinking liquid, drinking white tea is closer to drinking a cup of rice soup. You can really feel the “weight” of the taste.
Finally, white tea and green tea have different ways of drinking.
The most popular way of drinking a green tea is to steep green tea leaves in a tall glass cup. As a matter of fact, this might just be the only way for premium green tea products.
White tea products, including Silver Needle, White Peony, and Shoumei/Gongmei, can be made with Gaiwan, steeped in a large cup (just like green tea), brewed in pots. Different ways of making white tea deliver very different experiences. This makes white tea the most creative and versatile of all teas.
Spring white tea and green tea are too entirely different teas. They look, smell, and taste differently. We hope this blog and help you better understand the differences between these 2 teas.
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