Made from the buds of tea leaves, Camellia sinensis, white tea’s delicate taste, etched a strong impression among tea drinkers worldwide. You can trace white tea’s roots back to the 1700s in China’s Fujian province when tea masters encouraged the community to take tea without adding other flavorings such as sugar, berries, and spices.
As a result, a simple way of tea production was discovered, and white tea’s gentle taste but immense health benefits became a way of life. Today, white tea is present in the majority of people’s households.
How is White Tea Produced?
Among the other types of tea available, white tea is the least processed. White tea’s simplicity and pureness made it a ritual beverage in the past, a drink usually prepared for emperors and elite members on religious occasions.
But how simple is the production of the famous white tea?
Tea producers harvest the tea leaves before they even open. These delicate buds are often white and soft, making them harder to transport – the reason why white teas are pricier than the other types of tea.
The popular Camellia sinensis leaves used for white teas are the Da Bai and Da Hao. These tea leaves are distinct for their fruity and floral aroma. After the unopened buds of Da Bai and Da Hao leaves are harvested, tea producers then wither the leaves for around 72 hours then finally dry them to prevent further oxidation.
Since white tea is minimally-oxidized, the leaves have no bitterness and have a grassy taste when brewed. It also has an attractive gold color that tastes better when paired with honey and lemon.
Types of White Tea
White tea is the perfect way to kick off the journey for beginners in tea drinking. And since there’s a wide variety of white tea worldwide, choosing which one to try won’t be a challenge. Most of the white tea in the world is produced from China, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.
Among the white tea type you must try are:
- Silver Needle – originated from no other than the birthplace of white tea, Fujian province. The name is derived from the hairy white buds of the Camellia sinensis. Silver needle is iconic for its orangey taste.
- White Peony – also from China, White Peony is considered the most deluxe white tea in existence. It is iconic for its sweet taste without needing additional flavorings. Its flavor resembles melon with a hint of grassy tang.
- Darjeeling White Tea – is a unique white tea that originated from Darjeeling, a town in India. This type of white tea is distinct for its taste’s resemblance with muscat wine.
Benefits of White Tea
How white tea is produced perfectly embodies the saying, “less is more.” Since white tea’s oxidation is minimal, it contains higher catechins. These catechins fight inflammation inside the body resulting in regulated blood pressure, a healthy brain, and an energy boost. White tea also has antioxidants such as flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins to retain the good molecules in the body.
Another perk of white tea is improving the skin. Studies have proven that a cup of white tea every day can help eliminate acne. White tea’s anti-inflammatory properties and phenol content also help skin problems like dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.
On the other hand, white tea is also perfect for coffee drinkers to try another caffeine fix while improving oral health. A cup of white tea contains 28 mg of caffeine which is way lesser than the 98 mg of caffeine one can get from a cup of coffee. Take two to three cups of white tea and stay alert during the day without the risk of insomnia. The regular intake of white tea could also prevent bacteria buildup in your mouth, keeping your gums and teeth at their healthiest.