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How is White Licorice Tea Graded?

If you haven’t tried white tea yet, it’s time to get moving. White tea is quick becoming one of the most well loved teas because of its delicate flavor and many health benefits. And, for the novice white tea drinker (and the experienced one, too) white licorice tea is a fantastic way to acquaint yourself with the wonderful flavor of white tea.

But, of course, you want to ensure that you’re getting the finest white licorice tea when you choose to buy. Following is some information that will help you choose the best white licorice tea to try.

The best white licorice tea should be made from the finest blend of loose white tea combined with high some sort of licorice flavoring. The best white licorice tea will use star anise rather than licorice root to flavor the tea. Star anise provides a sweeter and lighter flavor than licorice root. In addition, you should choose a white licorice tea made from one of the finest white teas. To do this, you must know the differences in how white tea is graded and defined, since it is a bit different than black teas.

First, there is no international grading standard for tea, so there’s no quick way to tell if a tea is high quality. Many tea connoisseurs are used to looking at the particular plucking that a tea comes from to determine the quality of the tea. But, this method doesn’t’ work for white tea, either. All white tea should be from the first plucking because white tea should only be plucked during the spring. This is one of the reasons that white tea is so rare and expensive compared to other teas.

Understanding the cultivars for white tea and their differences will help you find the best white tea. These include Da Bai, Xiao Bai, Narcissus and Chaicha bushes. Within these cultivars the teas are classified into different grades, primarily based on whether the plucking consists of only the bud and top two leaves of the tea plant or whether more tea leaves are included. In addition, the stringency with which the tea pluckers ensure that the leaves and buds are not hurt during harvest affects the quality and grade of the tea.

The best tea harvesters are very skilled and pluck the tea entirely by hand to ensure that the tea buds are not hurt in the process. White teas are generally classified in the following ways:

Bai Hao Yinzhen Tea – This is considered the highest grade of white tea and is usually referred to as Silver Needle tea. It is produced only in China and can be picked only between March 15 and April 10 each year. It must be picked under perfect weather conditions. The day must be dry and there can have been no frost on the previous night. The morning dew must be dry, as well. Only the unopened and undamaged buds are used for this tea. It is very low in caffeine and is very pale and mild.

Bai Mu Dan Tea – The second highest grade of white tea, this variety is usually called White Peony tea, and is also grown exclusively in China. It also is picked only under the best environmental conditions during just a few weeks of March and April. The primary difference between this tea and Silver Needle tea is that it contains more leaves and fewer buds. But, it is still a very high quality tea. You’ll find that this tea is a small bolder and has more of a floral fragrance. White licorice tea made from White Peony will be flavorful and brew to a pale green or golden color.

The best white licorice tea will be made from one of these two grades of tea. It will have a mild sweet flavor with the wonderful aroma and taste of licorice. But, excellent white licorice tea will not be overpowering or strong, even if over brewed.

All white teas are more expensive than their black and green counterparts, primarily because they are so rare. But, when you compare the price of even the best white tea with that of other beverages, such as the best coffee, it’s still a very excellent value.

You’ll only find high quality loose white teas from the best tea shops and online tea purveyors. If you’re a tea drinker, it pays to know your local tea shops and do business with a few online vendors as well. Having a variety of vendors to choose from will help you find new flavors to try and ensure that you always have access to your favorites.

There are several things to consider when choosing a tea shop, whether online or local. The first is selection. Even if a tea shop is a very excellent one, it’s not very useful to you if it doesn’t carry the teas you like.

Secondly, look for a tea purveyor that stands behind their product. It’s vital that you’re assured that you can return your buy if you’re unsatisfied.

Finally, ensure that your tea shop carries only the best loose tea. The best teas may cost a bit more, but they’re well worth the extra expense for the extraordinary flavor they’ll provide.

So, choose your tea shop and buy some wonderful white licorice tea. It’s sure to be one of your all time favorites!

Jon M. Stout is Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. For more information about goldenmoontea.com tea, goldenmoontea.com/wholesaletea wholesale tea and goldenmoontea.com/blacktea black tea go to goldenmoontea.com

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