Updated: Mar 6
An Ji Bai Cha, or An Ji White Tea (in English) ;
Anji refers to the place where she is grown: Anji county of Zhejiang province.
Because of its Chinese name, Anji bai cha is sometimes called a "white tea", but, classified by its production process, it is a green tea, not a white tea. The term white refers to the whitish color of the leaves, and the pale color of the brewed tea.
This white tea plant was noted by the most artistically endowed of Chinese emperor - Song Hui Zong (1101 to 1125 A.D.). The most prominent tea connoisseur of his generation, he noted a certain white tea plant is "extremely rare" and has "superior quality".
Re-discovered 200 years ago in Zhejiang province, many historians believe Anji tea is this white tea plant. The Anji Baicha tea was invented as recent as 1981, but she has always come top in various competitions and assessments.
In fact, she has been chosen to represent China for the 2010 World Culture Exposition in Shanghai.
It was soon cultivated for commercial purposes – An Ji Bai Cha is one of the teas processed from the leaves picked from these tea plants. The picking season is very short, around 30 days in early spring season as once the temperature increases, the leaves would start to turn green.
The reason why Anji tea is so esteemed by experts and connoisseurs is because of its extremely high theanine content.
According to tea expert Chen Qikun, she contains at least 6-8% of amino acids, of which at least 2.5% is theanine, roughly 3-4 times the levels found in other Chinese green teas.
Theanine is the single most important determinant of tea quality. It is chiefly responsible for the soothing effects and full-bodied taste of fresh green tea.
A special characteristic of Anji tea plants is that they produce very little green chlorophyll during the winter (minus 8 to 10 degree Celsius). Two things result:Since less theanine is converted to chlorophyll, the tea buds contain higher levels of health enhancing theanine.The tea buds are white in color.After processing, the tea leaves acquire a pale yellowish-green color.
Anji tea should be brewed the same way as the Dragon Well tea by infusing a small amount of leaves in high temperature water for as long as it takes
This tea should be brewed with lower temperature of water even compared to other green teas. this tea has a high amino acid content giving it a bit of an "umami" flavor. this tea has less chlorophyll in the leaves relative to other green teas, giving it a lighter appearance. Anji baicha are teas highest in L-theanine, an essential amino acid that has been implicated in relaxation and improved concentration; one source reported that teas contain about 2% theanine by dry weight.
Anji White Tea, also known as Anji bai cha, 安吉白茶 is a green tea produced in Anji County, Zhejiang Province, China. This video introduces the hard work behind this tea.
The taste is refreshingly delicate and soothing, with a slight hint of orchid sweetness in its aroma. It is very important that the temperature of the water used for steeping this tea should never exceed 80 degrees Celsius. As with all other green teas, use 70°c - 80°c to bring the best out of this tea.