It is widely claimed that the White tea is China’s earliest form of tea and first appeared during the Song Dynasty dated around 1105 AD when tea drinking and tea culture was flourishing across the country. White tea has come a long way in its long history. It was unknown outside China for a really long time, only recently has the rest of the world become aware of this secret brew.
Known for being the minimally processed tea(usually not at all processed), it is made from the plant Camellia Sinensis and primarily grown in the Fujian province of China following the traditional methods of its production. In China and other tea growing regions of the world, typically, only the bud and first leaf of the plant are plucked, withered and dried under the sun for harvesting white tea. White tea is harvested when its young buds are still covered by fine white hair, hence the name “white” tea.
It is important to know that various varieties of tea – green, black, oolong etc – go through oxidation – that is, how long tea leaves are allowed to be exposed to oxygen once they’ve been harvested. The longer they are exposed, the darker the co-lour of the leaves and deeper the flavor of the tea that develops. The white tea is least oxidized, which results in a very delicate, garden-fresh flavored tea. We can also call it an AntiOxidant Powerhouse, as it holds onto most of its naturally occurring antioxidants, which protect us from free radicals, fight harmful inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, reduce our risk of chronic diseases (like cancer and diabetes) and encourage a healthy immune system.
In fact, the caffeine content in white tea is less in comparison to its cousins – green tea, oolong tea, etc and way too less than coffee, making it an excellent choice for those wishing to reduce caffeine.
The flavor of white teas tend to be subtle but will have markedly different tastes among the various types; the most popular varieties are White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) and White Silver Needles (Yin Zhen).
White Silver Needle Tea – This is the finest quality of white tea, made only from top buds, covered with white, sharp hair that give the tea a silver tone it’s named for . Since the processing of this tea is mostly done by hand and plucked within a two day period in early Spring, it demands a premium price. This variety leaves a pale yellow color when brewed, leaving a slightly sweet taste and a subtle aroma.
White Peony Tea – This is the second best quality to White silver needle tea and the most common style of traditional white tea. It is made from a single young bud and the next two leaves on the stem. It has a refreshing and fruity flavor, slightly less sweet than White Silver Needle; is also darker in color than its White Silver Needle counterpart.
There are a number of other white tea varieties, some named after the special ingredient added to the leaves and buds, while others named after the region of origin. Fruits are the most popular additions as they enhance the fruity flavor and sweetness of the white tea.
Despite being a provider of great taste and relaxation, White tea’s supreme power is in preventing diseases and disorders, by easing the symptoms of illness and promoting recovery. Including white tea to daily lifestyle induces healthy bones, teeth and skin and also, checks healthy weight loss.
In order to inculcate a healthy drink in our busy lifestyles, let’s spread the uniqueness of this god’s gift by spreading the knowledge of this lesser known drink in our country. One way to do this is by including at least a cup of white tea daily in our schedule. You can also enrich someone else’s life by introducing them to white tea, as white tea makes a really good gift (read : gift of health).
Quick Tip – Always buy White tea from a reputed company who can share the information with you about the sold tea’s processing and packaging details.
So, what are your thoughts about white tea? If you have had it before, or are thinking of having it now, please share your opinions in the comments section with other visitors of this blog…i’d love to hear from you too!