What is specific to white tea? I get often asked by people what white tea really is. White tea as a tea is relatively unknown but one of the six types of tea which can be made from tea leaves. White tea is so called by the fine white hairs on the buds which are used for white tea. Only the buds and the young leaves are used for white tea.
White tea is distinguished by its production. Basically, white tea leaves are produced without changing shape or roasting in a wok. The tea is processed as it is picked. White tea can also be very rough on the edges because the picked leaves are not rolled or flattened.
Types and origin of the white tea:
White tea originated in China. Today, white tea made in China is mainly from the Fujian Province, more specifically, from in the north-east of that province. The two main types of white tea is Silver Needle, which uses only the buds (unsprung leaves) of the flower, and Bai Mu Tan, sometimes called White Peony, where both the buds and young leaves are used.
Silver Needle is named like that because of the white hairs on the “needles” (buds) and White Peony is named after the Peony flower, which used to be the flower of wealthy people. White tea was also mostly drunk in this class.
How does white tea taste like?
White tea is a lightly oxidized tea type and does not have the grassy taste of green tea, so for people who do not like the grassy taste of green tea, white tea would be an excellent alternative. Silver Needle is subtle, soft and sweet, while White Peony has a fuller flavor, because the leaves are used as well.
How is it made?
The leaves and buds are:
- Picked in the morning when the sun moisture from the leaves and buds have already evaporated.
- Wilted in the sun or indoors, to lower the moisture content in the leaves so the leaves get weaker. In this process the tea oxidizes lightly.
- Dried in the sun, mechanically or by hot air.
A lot of research has been done on white tea and it has uncovered a lot of benefits.
- Three times more antioxidants.White tea contains three times more antioxidants than green tea because it is harvested at an early stage when the antioxidants are still within the leaf. Antioxidants help to combat free radicals in the body which can damage cells, tissue and even the DNA. This prevents diseases.
- Weight loss.This is by far one of the biggest benefits of drinking white tea. It is the most effective tea to lose weight.
- Cancer prevention.White tea contains antioxidants called Flavanoids that help destroy cancer causing cells and stop the growth of newer ones. This has in some cases worked extremely well as a home remedy.
- A healthy skin.With the use of antioxidants white tea can help make your skin become healthier and fresh looking than ever. The antioxidants combat free radicals that may damage your skin.
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.Studies have shown that white tea benefits include the ability to reduce both cholesterol and blood pressure. This does not mean you should substitute them instead of medicine but it simply helps in making blood vessels stronger and healthier.
- Antibacterial properties.White tea has strong antibacterial properties that help to a certain extent to fight of infections and have a healthy disease free body.