WHITE TEA: MEANING, HISTORY, BENEFITS, PROCESSING, CAFFEINE CONTENT
There is innocence to white tea. It is the most natural and least processed, subject to the least interference by humankind. Between the plant and the cup, the essential processing is the picking of the fresh leaf. After that, there is only drying and packaging.
For the majority of tea drinkers, it is the most direct relationship they have with a fresh Camellia sinensis plant. And appreciation for it is growing.
What is white tea?
However white tea is known to be one of the most delicate tea because it is so minimally processed. Because of this, it retains a high amount of antioxidants.
To capture the fuzzy fragile essence the buds are picked up early in the morning while the light green buds are still tightly closed and the fuzzy covering is still fresh.
The history of white tea
It is said that a single tea bush from a new varietal was found growing in a cave on Taimu Mountain in Fujian Province in the 1200s.
A mythical being, Tai Mu Niang Niang, told the people of that region that a tea brewed from the plant would cure a disease in children that was causing high fever.
Some people associate Tai Mu Niang Niang with the bodhisattva Guan Yin, the goddess of mercy and compassion.
Where White tea grows?
White tea was first made in the Fujian province of China in the early 16th century. It may now come from many different tea producing countries.
In addition to Fujian Province, white tea is also produced in Zhejiang Province, China. Other countries developing their own white teas include Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Vietnam, Northern Thailand, Nepal, Kenya, South Korea, and Hawaii in the United States.
How white tea is processed?
It is not heated to control the enzymatic processes, rolled, shaped, fluffed, roasted, or subjected to any of the manipulations that generate flavor and leaf presentation of other teas.
Health benefits of white tea
There are many other benefits of drinking white tea. Here is a quick list that highlights the benefits of white tea.
1. Loaded with Antioxidants
Since white tea is less processed and oxidized than other tea types it retains higher amount of polyphenol antioxidants
3. Improves oral and skin health
White tea has shown a slightly greater potential than some of the other teas to fight infection, support good oral hygiene and skin health.
4. Helps Reduce Inflammation
The EGCG found in white teas has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. It treats cold and flu, and also kills various bacteria and viruses, including the virus that causes influenza.
Some Popular White Teas
Silver Moonlight White Tea (Bai Hao Yin Shen)
Silver needle (silver Moonlight white tea)is considered the highest quality white tea. As the “needle” of the name suggests, it is entirely buds without any stem or leaf, covered in the fine hair that makes it look silvery-white. This tea is pale yellow with a delicate, creamy flavour.
Peony white tea(Bai Mu Dan)
Originally from shuiji in Fujain province and first developed in the 1870’s the Bai Mu Dan has a larger leaf. Still covered with fuzz, the buds are plucked along with a bit of tender stem and very tender top two leaves just below the bud. The dry leaf of white peony will show variation in color from the white hair to green, red and brown. The brewed white peony should be yellow with a slightly nutty flavour.