White tea is starting to eclipse green tea in the health beverage trend. White tea benefits come from its preparation, which results in the “purest” brewed tea.
It gives the tea a high level of antioxidants, which provides health benefits. White tea also offers a great flavor profile, which all tea drinkers will enjoy.
What is White Tea?
White tea comes from similar tea plants like green or black tea. However, farmers harvest them when the leaves are still buds, before drying and processing them naturally.
The word white may refer to the bud’s fuzzy white surface. However, it can also refer to the tea’s minimum treatment after harvest, unlike green or black tea.
The minimum process and the lack of oxidization process gives the tea pale yellow color and mild flavor. White tea tends to have slight herbal or floral tones, thanks to the natural drying process.
White tea comes from various countries, such as China, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India.
Does white tea have caffeine? Yes. Despite the popular notion that white tea has no caffeine, it still packs enough in one cup.Depending on the tea type and processing method, it can pack 6 to 75 grams of caffeine per cup.
However, it is still quite low compared to heavily processed tea types, like oolong and black tea.
The positions of the harvested leaves determine the level of caffeine, too. The “tippers” (leaves near the tips) contain more caffeine than the lower leaves.
Types of White Tea
The most popular white tea types come from China. However, tea from other countries starts to be marketed globally. Here are some popular types of white tea and their characteristics.
Bai Hao Yinzhen
Hailing from Fujian Province, this tea sets the standard of white tea. The tea produces a beautiful golden yellow color. The flavor is light and mildly sweet with woody tones.
Bai Mu Dan
Bai Mu Dan (White Peony) is delicious but cheaper than Bai Hao Yinzhen because the process mixes leaves and buds. The tea is slightly stronger than Bai Hao Yinzhen, with floral and nutty tones.
Gong Mei hails from Fujian and Guangxi Provinces. It is harvested later than Bai Hao Yinzhen, resulting in a stronger flavor. Gong Mei flavor is similar to oolong tea, but lighter.
Shou Mei is harvested the latest during the year, giving it the lowest grade compared to the above three tea types. However, it still presents delicious, bold flavor, with a golden yellow color.
Darjeeling White comes from India and offers light flavor. It tastes more mellow than Bai Hao Yinzhen, with pale yellow color, light sweetness, and soft aroma.
Malawi White comes not from leaf buds but tea stems and twigs. The result is a stronger, more prominent flavor than the tea types from China or India. Malawi White has herbal and honey tones.
If you look for decaf tea, look for brands that specifically say “decaf,” regardless of the tea types.
Health Benefits of White Tea
What is white tea good for?
White tea gets advantages from minimum processing, limiting exposures to chemical ingredients.
White tea also contains the most antioxidant level compared to other tea types. Here are several benefits you can get for your health.
Relaxing Your Nerves
White tea contains low caffeine and high theanine, an amino acid compound that induces a calming effect on your nerves. It is ideal for calming your mind.
Keeping Your Heart Healthy
The high polyphenol level in white tea helps to reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, reducing heart disease risk. It also relaxes the blood vessel and keeping your cardiovascular system in top condition.
Protecting the Teeth
White tea contains catechins, tannins, and fluoride, important elements for dental health. They help to slow down the growth of bacteria, reducing the risk of plaque and other oral problems.
Reducing the Risk of Osteoporosis
White contains polyphenols and catechins, chemical compounds that can reduce the effects of free radicals. The inflammations caused by free radicals can degrade the bone structures over time.
Therefore, drinking white tea regularly may reduce the risk of bone structure degradation.
Reducing the Risks of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s happen when proteins clump in the nerves, causing inflammation and neural damage.
Polyphenols in white tea reduce these clumps, slowing down the degeneration process.
You can get these benefits by drinking white tea regularly. One to two cups per day is enough.
Tips to Enjoy White Tea Properly
If you want to get the best benefits and flavor of white tea, make sure to consume it right. Follow these tips to get the best cup of white tea.
Choose Organic Brands
Organic white tea brands, like The Republic of Tea, Triple Leaf Tea, Uncle Lee’s Tea, or Numi, offer tea from plantations that use sustainable farming methods.
You can avoid dangerous chemicals and pesticide traces by consuming organic tea.
Drink Blended White Tea
Blended white tea contains less caffeine than the unblended version. However, don’t choose white tea that is blended with oolong, black, or green tea. Choose a non-tea blend such as flowers or peppermint.
Don’t Steep Too Long
White tea’s charm lies in its subtle flavor. Avoid steeping it too long to get the subtle flavor. Test the tea after 30 seconds to find the most suitable flavor for your tongue.
Don’t Use Boiling Water
Boiling water can destroy the natural subtleness of white tea. You should keep the water temperature around 170—190 degrees Fahrenheit (77 and 87 degrees Celsius) to steep your tea.
Brew the Same Leaves Several Times
If you have a concern of caffeine level in tea, brew the same leaves several times (three to four times). The process will gradually reduce the caffeine level.
No white tea brew has an identical flavor. Experiment with different tea types and steeping time until you find the best flavor.
White tea is the lightest and “purest” type of tea, with subtle flavor and low caffeine level. Hailing mostly from China, white tea contains a high level of antioxidants. The tea offers various health benefits and pleasant flavor.
Make sure you brew the tea properly to get white tea benefits and proper flavor profile.