BEHIND THE CRAFT
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Tea Craft: When is Tea Picked?

Picking tea leaves is not just about harvesting tea that will make it to your cup. It’s a key part of the lifecycle of the tea bush.

The timing of the pick is crucial for quality - in China it's said that ‘three days early it is treasure, three days late it is grass’ - and to ensure the start of the germination of new leaves at just the right time.

In countries like Kenya where the climate is similar all year, there is growth all year and picking every fortnight. In countries with seasons, the tea plant is dormant for part of the year, until it ‘flushes’ into life and new shoots emerge; picking can start.

Different countries revere different flushes or harvests - the 1st flush in Darjeeling in Spring is considered to be the most flavoursome, whilst it’s the 2nd flush in Assam that is most prized.

Find out more about how tea is picked.

FGTE13332

Nepal Spring White Tea Pouch 50g

Net Weight: 50g

£20.00
San-Dak-Phu is the highest habitable point in the Ilam district of Nepal's far eastern corner. Made solely from the silvery first leaf and a bud in spring's first harvest. Rare and delightful.

The East India Company - Lifestyle

Food and Beverages

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£15.00
From the high altitude co-operative tea gardens of Sandakphu, a 12,000 ft mountain in the Singalila Ridge between Nepal and India, and the highest habitable area of Nepal's far eastern corner.

The name Sandakphu has a sinister origin. In the local language it translates as ""the height of the poisonous plant"", as the area was once abundant in the Indian Aconite plant, one of the most poisonous in the world, and fatal to grazing sheep and cattle.

Careful tea leaf picking was therefore in order!
From the summit, Mount Everest is visible, and it's this unique high altitude climate under the Himalayan mountains, a warm sun, mist and humidity that all combine to provide the conditions for the tea bushes to mature with an inherent unique flavour.

From the new growth of the Spring season's first flush, this tea consists solely of the handpicked silvery new bud and single leaf.
Lots of long, pointed silvery-white tips.

In cup, the liquor is a delicate pale amber.

Aroma is flowery and the flavour of this light-bodied tea is mild and sweet.
Quantity

2 GRAMS OF TEA LEAVES PER CUP

Temperature

200ML OF WATER AT 80-85ºC

Brewing Time

4 MINS BREWING TIME

Ingredients

White Tea

Storage

Store in a cool, dry place avoiding direct sunlight and strong odours.

Stories

White Whiskers, White Tea

It doesn’t get much more simple that processing white tea.

White tea is named after the tiny white or silver hairs that cover the new bud on a tea plant - it is the bud which will soon unfurl to become the next young leaf.

On our White Tea product pages, if you zoom in on the tea picture, you will easily see these little whiskers. When looked at collectively, it creates a silver white sheen to the bud, hence the name.

So it is just the unopened buds or occasionally the bud and one or two of the very youngest leaves too that are picked and brought back to tea factory.
Very carefully handled to retain the integrity of the bud, they are simple dried in the sun or a drying room.

White teas are not fired like other teas, so they tend to retain a higher moisture content [therefore have a shorter shelf life]. There doesn’t seem to be a hard and fast rule about antioxidant or caffeine levels v green or black teas – whilst the white bud itself often carries a little more of both, the resulting brew tends to use cooler water for a shorter time than black, so the cup can often contain less.

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  • FAQ

    Does white tea include caffeine and is there more or less than green or black tea and coffee?
    Yes it does, and it varies. All tea leaves, just like coffee, contain caffeine. Tea usually has a lower level of caffeine than coffee, which averages around 95mg for a normal cup of coffee. But it is impossible to give a precise answer, because there are so many variables at play - the length of brew time, the amount of tea used, the age of the leaf, the provenance of the leaf. Even the temperature of the water. Our best advice is to treat all tea and coffee similarly if you need to manage your caffeine intake.

    I’ve heard that tea contains theanine. What is it and what does it do?
    Tea does indeed contain theanine, which is an amino acid [the building blocks of proteins]. Tea is one of only a few sources of theanine. It represents about 1% of dry weight and is at its highest concentrate in shade-grown teas like matcha and gyokuro. Whilst not yet proven in scientific studies that would permit specific health claims to be made, it is believed by many to be able to reduce mental and physical stress, promote relaxation and a sense of well-being. But not only that, it is more recently being thought to aid cognitive function. It’s one explanation for tea’s famous ability to create calm in a crisis [the Great British solution to all problems – ‘putting the kettle on’] and to stimulate when a little boost is required.

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