What are White Tea's Benefits?
White Tea, has remained relatively unknown, unlike its cousin, green tea. Part of the reason is during the beginning of white tea’s history, only the Emperor and the royal court, were allowed to drink white tea.
But times are changing, so move over green tea!
White tea comes from the leaves that are picked before the buds open, and are still covered with fine white “hairs”. These “hairs” have given rise to the name white tea.
The main difference between green teas and white teas is that the white tea leaves are harvested at a younger age than green tea leaves. White tea is not fermented at all, while green tea is partly fermented. Because they are so gently treated, white tea and green tea retain higher levels of beneficial antioxidants.
But what you may not have guessed was that White Tea actually has more Antioxidants than Green Tea. Dr. Oz explained that instead of steeping the leaves like they do Green Tea, White Tea is steamed, and this lack of drying gives White Tea its potential health benefits.
Studies have shown that White Tea has 3 times more antioxidants than Green Tea. To give you an example of how power-packed White Tea is with Antioxidants: One cup of White Tea contains approximately twelve times as much Antioxidants as fresh orange juice.
Who would have known? Well, obviously the 18th Century Chinese Emperor and Dr. Oz!
TYPES OF WHITE TEA
White Tea varieties are distinguished by such factors as the region of their origin and ingredients that are added, such as fruit.
Here are three of the more popular types of White Teas:
Silver Needle – The most sought after of the White Teas, usually only harvested during a brief period in early spring before the tea buds have turned into leaves. The buds must be hand-picked while it is dry and warm. Silver Needle White Tea has a sweet and mild flavor aiding in its popularity.
White Peony – Second in quality to Silver Needle, White Peony is harvested when there is only one bud and two leaves and while the bud is still covered with white hairs. The color of White Peony is slightly darker and the taste is slightly stronger than Silver Needle.
Snowbud – Is harvested while there are only buds and leaves in the early spring, after Silver Needle and White Peony. Snowbud has a mild flavor and clear coloring,and hails from the Fujian province of China
One excellent way to try all three of these White Teas is Adagio’s White Tea Sampler which contains: Silver Needle, Snowbud, White Symphony and White Peony. Each sample will make about 5 cups of tea, all for about $10.00. Take an opportunity to sample this luxury originally reserved only for royalty!
Most vendors of white tea will offer flavored white tea, but it can also be fun to do your own flavoring. If you want to try making your own flavored tea, try adding fresh fruit juices (not concentrated) into the tea. You may not want to use the most expensive varieties of white (like Silver Needle) as a basis for flavored White Tea, but a less expensive alternative like White Peony would make a good choice.
Try flavored White Tea chilled as iced tea. They make a healthy and tasty summer drink that the whole family can enjoy.
This brings me to the subject of quality of water for brewing White Tea. Because White Tea has such a delicate, subtle taste, the quality of the water used to make White Tea becomes even more important. Always use fresh water from the tap or filtered water (not distilled) if you have hard water.
Heat the water to the boiling point, and then let it cool. Never steep white tea in boiling water, as boiling water can destroy antioxidants, and the tea may become astringent and ruin White Tea’s mild, sweet flavor.