Just like black tea and green tea, white tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea is made from leaves that have been fully fermented during processing while green tealeaves are not fermented. White tea comes from leaves and buds that are picked and harvested when the leaves are still rolled closed. The young buds are covered by fine, silver hairs giving the plant a white appearance.
Like green tea, the leaves then go through a very little processing and no fermentation. The buds and leaves are rapidly steamed and dried and not rolled, making them into the freshest tea possible. The Chinese refer to this delicate process to have the ‘least fire’ of all teas.
While green teas have a distinct grassy taste, white teas are much more milder with a light, sweet flavor and actually brew gold or coppery infusions, not clear or white.
The Fuding brand, Silver Needle, from China’s Fujian Province is considered tobe the highest grade of white tea, made from the youngest, tender buds that are harvested in early spring. Other excellent varieties include Ceylon White, a high quality tea grown in Sri Lanka that has a very light taste of pine and honey. Darjeeling White from India has a delicate aroma and brews a pale golden cup of tea. Assam White tea from India is much rarer and yields a naturally sweet infusion with a distinct malty aroma.
How to Brew:
Steep the leaves for two to three minutes in water that is below the boiling point, to maximize its potent health benefits. Because the buds and young leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant contain higher levels of caffeine than older leaves, white teas may have slightly higher caffeine levels than green teas, so you may want to sip white tea earlier in the day.
White tea is full of health benefits that prevent and reduce the risk of disease and even help reduce wrinkles!
Past research showed that green tea stimulates the immune system to fight disease. New studies on white tea at Pace University showed that extracts from white tea not only boosted the immune system but actually destroyed disease causing germs. As white tea continues to be researched, it has proved to have many healing properties. The study at Pace University showed that white tea extract helps prevent the growth of bacteria that cause Staphylococcus infections, Streptococcus infections, pneumonia and even dental infections.
White tea was also more effective than green tea at inactivating bacterial viruses and also had anti-fungal effects.
Need more reason to embrace white tea? Current ongoing research also suggests that white tea may have the strongest potential of all teas to fight cancer. Researchers at Oregon State University theorize that the delicate processing of white tea may play a part in the tea’s cancer-fighting ability by preserving more polyphenols than in other more processed teas.
White tea contains the same types of polyphenols or catechins but in higher proportions. These disease-fighting substances help clean toxins and prevent gene mutations in the body, thus reducing the risk of cancer. Researchers found that white tea may reduce the risk of colon cancer in particular due to its effect on certain liver enzymes.
Studies that examined the composition of brewed green and white teas, found that white tea also contained less fluoride than green tea, and high levels of antioxidants that help slow aging and maintain skin elasticity for a youthful complexion. Anti-viral, antifungal and antibacterial effects
Boosts the immune system
Anti-cancer properties, particularly colon cancer
Anti-oxidant properties to slow aging and prevent disease
Removes toxins from the body