White teas are unique for their minimal processing and the fact that they can continue to oxidize after processing. The most famous (and likely the first) variety of White Tea is Silver Needle, made from the fresh tea buds (unopened leaves). These buds are covered in Silver Needle’s characteristic fuzzy white hairs, called trichomes. In order to preserve these hairs, this tea was processed gently and minimally; in fact, White Tea is not roasted (only dried up), which means that the enzymes responsible for oxidation are never deactivated. This method of processing eventually spread to other styles of White Tea, which may not necessarily have the trichomes that Silver Needle is famous for.
The most common types of White Tea are Silver Needle, White Peony, and Shou Mei. Similar to post-fermented teas, White Teas can be aged under proper conditions.These teas generally have mild, soft, slightly nutty, and often floral flavors which deepen in aged white teas.