White tea is something of an anomaly. The dried leaves can be green just like regular green tea, but the caffeine level rivals that of stout black teas, in my experience. The tea is lightly processed and said to contain more antioxidants than other varieties. The brewed beverage has a rather faint color, relative to green and black teas of any kind.
My experience with white tea has been limited, and restricted to flavored white teas. Partly this has to do with the simple fact that white tea only made an appearance on the scene in the late nineteenth century, unlike other varieties of tea, which have been around for millennia!
I have enjoyed all of the types of white tea I've tried up to now, and have noticed that I never have any desire to add adulterants, which is always a good sign, as Jalé mentioned recently in a comment about fine green teas. It's the flavor of the tea itself which makes the cup enjoyable, not the extras thrown in. It may be that people are accustomed to serving and drinking most teas with lemon or cream and sugar because such measures have been necessary to render the liquid potable. Not so with white tea!
I do not have any examples of straight-up, unflavored white tea on hand, but I recently happened upon this lovely specimen, Tazo Berryblossom White, which features white tea leaves laced with huckleberry and cranberry flavor. That may sound like the liquid should be red, but this is not a rich elixir composed of literal pieces of dark red fruit, à la Rote Grütze. Here we have only a soupçon of fruitiness, the intention obviously being to allow the tea flavor itself to shine through. White tea is light and refreshing like sencha, and also very smooth, but not at all vegetal. The natural berry flavoring in this case is quite subtle--so much so that I would never have guessed which fruits were implicated. Yet the tea is delicious!
As you can see in the above images of Berryblossom White in the process of brewing, this is a whole leaf tea--no dusty lint in this snazzy package:
There is quite a lot of caffeine, however, which makes this an early afternoon-only tea for me. My experience suggests that white tea may contain even more caffeine than black! I was very surprised at this discovery, because it seems logical that a dark Assam would be more laden with caffeine than a light wispy white tea. Doesn't Assam look a lot more like ... coffee?
White tea is bound to appeal to those who like Darjeeling and oolong teas, which are also on the lighter side (though not as light as this) and best imbibed without cream, in my opinion. I cannot really imagine adding anything to this particular brew, which is perfectly composed. The flavor is very appealing, as is the scent. The dried leaves offer a gentle fruitiness mingling with the parfum characteristic of flavored black teas.
Now it's your turn: please share your experiences with white tea!