What Is White Tea?
White tea is tea that has been lightly oxidized which, at its most basic, means it has undergone a chemical reaction with oxygen. This tea, primarily from the Fujian Province in China, comes from the buds of the Camellia sinensis plant – the same plant that produces green, oolong and black tea as well. The level of oxidation is what gives the different teas. Today, white tea is also produced in Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Kenya, Northern Thailand and also Eastern Nepal.
Video: What Is White Tea
History Of White Tea
It is believed that white tea is the earliest form of tea produced in China – this is due to the fact that it requires very little processing. Written records dating back to 1105 AD mention white tea during the Song dynasty and the earliest types being silver needle, white peony followed by Gongmei and Shoumei later on. These varieties of tea bush produce a different and distinctive white tea taste.
White Tea Benefits
There are many health benefits of white tea which makes it one of the best teas you can drink. Due to the very light oxidation process, white tea has the highest antioxidant levels of all the tea varieties.
So, What Is White Tea Good For?
White tea is used for weight loss, cancer prevention and for all sorts of health benefits. Here is a brief list of what white tea can be used for below:
- Weight Loss
- Lowering Blood Pressure
- Lowering Cholesterol
- Heart Health
- Glowing Skin
- Healthy Teeth & Gums
- Cold & Flu Treatment and other sorts of viruses and bacterial infections
Click the link to learn more about white tea benefits
How To Make White Tea
Brewing white tea is simple but for best results and to retain as much of the healthy goodness as possible, follow these steps to achieve a fine cup of tea:
- Choose your tea: When you buy white tea, you will notice that it comes in many forms and the quality differs. You can get organic white tea, loose leaf white tea, white teabags and even white tea powder. You can also choose white tea with additional flavors such as pomegranate, jasmine and peach. If you are new to white tea, it is a good idea to try a sampler which allows you to try a variety of teas before choosing your favorite.
- Make sure your white tea is fresh: Unlike other teas, white tea doesn’t keep for years and really should be used up within six months of purchase. Store your tea in a cool dark, dry place which will prevent it from oxidizing further.
- Choose your water: Select good quality water to brew your tea in. Hard water can effect the brew and even ruin the delicate taste of the white tea. If you live in a hard water area, use filtered water.
- Heat water to boiling and let it cool: After you have boiled your water, let it cool down for 5 to 8 minutes. Ideally you want the water to be around 158˚F to 167˚F or 70˚C to 75˚C – the perfect white tea temperature. Too high a temperature will produce a bitter brew – a longer steeping time at a cooler temperature is best.
- Select your method for brewing: Choose whether to use a tea infuser, a tea ball or a tea pot. If you are using loose tea leaves then approximately 2 teaspoons per cup works well. Put your tea leaves or tea bag(s) into the infuser, ball or pot.
- Steep: Add the boiled (then cooled) water to the mix and allow the tea to infuse for 7 – 10 minutes. White tea leaves can handle being infused for longer than other tea varieties. You may want to experiment with the steeping time to produce a flavor that’s right for you.
- Pour: Serve your white tea as it comes. It is best unadulterated although some people do add sugar and milk – but this is really not recommended as it does overwhelm the subtle and delicate flavor of the tea.
How Does White Tea Taste?
White tea has a mild sweet, delicate taste and does not have the grassy flavor that some green teas do. It has a velvety smoothness to it and is a subtle, delicate tea which can be easily over powered with the addition of milk and sugar. It is sometimes blended with fruit such as peach or pear which adds another dimension to the tea.
Does White Tea Have Caffeine?
All tea naturally contains caffeine but there are several factors which contribute to the levels of caffeine found in each one. The first contributing factor is the quality of the tea leaves. The best quality white tea is fresher, which also means it has higher levels of caffeine in it. Secondly the temperature of your brew. If the white tea leaves are steeped in water at a lower temperature, then the resulting brew will have a higher caffeine content than one produced at a higher temperature. Thirdly the steep time. The longer you leave your tea to steep the more caffeine in your cup – although this is only true of the first steep. Although white tea does contain caffeine, it must be said that the amount of caffeine is less than that of green or black tea and far less than coffee. Even still, the caffeine in white tea can be removed to leave a decaf white tea.