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What Does White Tea Taste Like?

Updated on July 16, 2008
White tea has a light green color when dried, and is covered with a fine, silvery fuzz.
White tea has a light green color when dried, and is covered with a fine, silvery fuzz.

The flavor of white tea

As a tea fanatic, white tea is a prominent member of my tea repertory. And, along with green tea, black tea and red tea (rooibos), it's also chock-full of antioxidants. But what does it taste like?

First, the flavor is not strong. White tea has a very delicate flavor, even if you use boiling water and steep it for hours. It just does not develop a harsh flavor, no matter how hard you "abuse" it.

Here's how I would describe the flavor of white tea, like a good Yin-Zhen (silver needle):

  • vaguely naturally sweet
  • slightly malty (a very faint taste of something like white beer/witbier, or water after you've boiled some pasta in it!)
  • if not overbrewed, it can have a delicately perfumy taste that's nice and light

If you're wondering how it tastes compared to green or black tea:

  • not bitter or astringent at all, like oversteeped green tea
  • not strongly acidic like black tea or coffee
  • not grassy/herbal tasting like green tea

However, since the flavor is so delicate, white tea does not lend itself to a nice iced tea. It tastes insipid and dull when cold. (I know Snapple has a line of flavored white teas, but I doubt very much that the little white tea they use contributes in any way to the flavor)

In my opinion, white tea is the easiest tea to get used to, because the flavor is not strong or polarizing.


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    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 8 years ago from San Francisco

      I think it's because the tea has little silver hairs on it, which, from far away, make the leaves look white. Also, the tea itself has very little color, unlike the yellow of green tea or red of black tea.

    • profile image

      your mom 8 years ago

      why do they call it white tea :)

    • Junkster profile image

      Junkster 9 years ago from Liverpool, UK

      I'm a big fan of teas, never really tried white teas, I mainly stick to green and herbal ones, I love Blood Orange tea and I've got a special blend of Peppermint, Spearmint and a bit of Lemongrass that is lovely! Tried some form of Oolong but didn't really like it.

      I'll definitely have to try white teas in light of this article!

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 10 years ago from San Francisco

      Makes sense - it apparently has the highest level of antioxidants, but such a mild taste that it's not polarizing and easily masked with other things. Hence the fruit-flavored Snapple white teas that are a hit. :-)

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 10 years ago from Scotland

      according to a recent documentary on the BBC, white tea is going to be the next big thing in health foods and the tea plantations are growing more and more of it in preperation.......jimmy

    • embitca profile image

      Emma 10 years ago from Boston

      I think i need to try some of this kind of tea. Great hub!

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 10 years ago from San Francisco

      Yeah, I'd imagine it's just a nice fruit-flavored drink. :-)

      White tea is nice by itself. Try it and let me know what you think.

    • CareyYo profile image

      CareyYo 10 years ago from Fullerton

      I really like the Snapple white teas, especially the nectarine one! I am sure that the taste is not the same, since the first ingredient is not even white tea, oh well. :)

      I will have to try hot white tea.