When hearing the name Anji Baicha (Anji’s White Tea) you might think that this tea belongs to the category of white teas, but this is not so. Anji Baicha is a rare and exclusive Chinese green tea with a long history. Its leaves are surprisingly pale green – almost white – and they are harvested in Anji county, Zhejiang province, in eastern China.
When emperor Huizong (1082–1135) compiled his Thesis on Tea During the Epoch Dàguān he wrote a whole – but also very short – chapter about a tea called ”Baicha”. He explained that this was no ordinary tea, so he appears to have thought very highly of it.
Huizong said that it grew amongst the cliffs and trees, and he furthermore compared the colour of the leaves to beautiful light green jade. This ”Baicha” is believed to have come from the same type of “white-leaved” tea plant as the modern Anji Baicha.
The tea leaves have a light green colour. Photo: © Rickard Nygårds (www.omte.se)
The dry and slender tea leaves look almost like pine needles. They give off a somewhat grassy, salty, and roasted aroma. And the beverage is quite mild and sweet. Anji Baicha costs about 200 SEK per 100 gram.
The tea leaves look like pine needles. Photo: © Rickard Nygårds (www.omte.se)
Water temperature: ~80°C (or 176°F).
Steeping time: ~2 minutes.