Tea Education

RSS

White Tea - The Processing Method & Tea Types 0

White Tea is known to be one of the lightest and most delicate teas. For reason being that it is so minimally processed. The white tea bushes are harvested for only a few weeks in the spring and are handpicked between mid-March and early April. When plucked, the plant leaves are barely opened, and the buds are covered by fine, white hairs. After picking, they are left to wither, and air dry either in the sun or a controlled indoor environment. The withering process cannot take longer than 72 hours to decrease the amount of oxidation. The more prolonged tea is exposed to oxygen, the darker their leaves will be. Minimal processing and oxidation produce tea that is delicate and fresh in both texture and flavor.

 

China and many other outside countries are cultivating many unique types of white tea. These are some of the most popular white teas available:

 

Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle): Silver Needles comes from the original variety of tea plants in Fujian, China. The tea buds are full and covered in fine, white hairs that give it a silver appearance, hence the name. This tea is highly sought-after for its delicate and delicious aroma and flavor.

 

Bai Mudan (White Peony): White Peony originated in China but can also be cultivated in different countries around the world. Although newer to the white tea family, White Peony is one of the more popular white teas. The buds are blended with unfurled young tea leaves, which gives it a fresh and sweet flavor.

 

Darjeeling White Tea: This tea plant is one of the few white teas that did not originate in China. Instead, it was harvested in the Darjeeling region of India. Although the processing techniques are similar, the tea has a nuttier and bolder mouthfeel.

 

Da Bai Cha (Fujian New Craft): This is one of the newest white tea varieties, as it was harvested in the 1960’s. Like most white teas, it was cultivated in the Fujian province. Fujian New Craft tea is rolled after the withering process and dried longer than most white teas. This method gives the tea a darker appearance. It is less delicate, and while the fragrance is subtle, the flavor is perhaps the most robust of the white tea family.

The Benefits of White Tea 0

 

 

 

White tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and contains a large number of polyphenols. These polyphenols are responsible for various health benefits. White tea is very similar to the make-up of green tea because of the number of catechins and polyphenols, as well as to the type of plant and processing technique.

 

The amount of antioxidants in white tea are 3x’s higher than other teas. The antioxidants found in white tea can protect from disease and improve cell neuroprotection. Skin protection, reduced risk of premature aging, and improved oral health are all benefits one can discover with white tea consumption. The antibacterial properties in white tea are shown to boost the strength of immune systems. For this reason, white tea is often a key ingredient in anti-bacterial hand soaps.

 

 One of the most significant benefits of white tea is its ability to combat heart disease. This combat feature is due to the levels of polyphenols and its effect on relaxing blood vessels and prevention of oxidized LDL cholesterol. Scientists have discovered in multiple studies that people who drank three or more cups of white tea per day lowered their risk of heart disease by 21%.

 

 In regards to caffeine, white tea is commonly thought to have the least amount of caffeine compared to green and black. Although this is mostly true, there are certain white tea varieties, processing methods, and brewing practices that can make white tea some of the most caffeinated tea beverages.

 

As you can see, white tea is an excellent addition to a healthy lifestyle. Some even say it is one of the healthiest drinks you can consume. These discoveries are not as advertised as the health benefits of green tea because white tea is harder to find. The reason being that white tea has a limited harvesting time. These rarer tea plants also make white tea more expensive to purchase, especially when it is of higher quality. Honestly, between the benefits listed above and the delicious flavor, I believe white tea is worth a pretty penny.

The History of White Tea 0

White tea originated in China during the Chinese Imperial Dynasties (600-1300). Tea drinking was a vital part of Chinese culture during this time. Every year, citizens were required to make a yearly tribute to the current Emperor, and it was often done in the form of tea, much like a tea tax. The tea presented could not just be any tea, it specifically had to be one that was both rare and fine. The most “rare and fine” tea at that time was white tea because it was formed from the youngest and most delicate tea plant buds. Secret Imperial Gardens were developed to harvest these rare and honoring teas.

 

The white tea used during Imperial tea tributes were not like the teas used today. During the Song Dynasty (960-1297), the young tea buds would be plucked, meticulously rinsed, and ground into a white powder. This technique produced the most elegant cup of tea available in China and was only affordable to the Emperor.

 

The white tea we know today was cultivated in the 1700s from the original white tea bushes of the Fujian province in China. These tea bushes created large and beautiful tea buds where loose leaf tea varieties were developed. At first, loose leaf white tea was rarely available outside of the Fujian Province. Due to the minimal processing and delicate nature of the tea, without proper storage, it could quickly spoil. Once improved production and storage methods were developed, harvesting white tea became accessible to many other regions of the world.

  • Zoe Maiden
  • Tags: History

The Benefits of Black Tea 1

   

     Black tea is one of the most popular teas to drink. Depending on the steeping time, black tea can hold a lot of caffeine. That assisted energy is often what attracts people to this type of tea. But what other benefits, specifically health benefits, can black tea provide in its delicious cup?

     Many studies have revealed that black tea can have a positive impact on heart health. One study published in 2017 showed that there was a reduced risk of ischaemic heart disease when drinking a cup of plain hot black tea every day. The research discovered that this due to the high amounts of antioxidants (flavan-3-ols, flavonols, theaflavins, and gallic acid derivatives) found in black tea. Lowered cholesterol levels were an additional benefit exposed during this research.

     As mentioned above, black tea has a high number of health-promoting flavonoids and theaflavins. Increased levels of flavonoids are often linked to a decreased risk of advanced cancer, specifically prostate and ovarian. A study published in 2016 showed how the theaflavin levels in black tea were able to stop the growth of cells that prohibit cisplatin, an anti-cancer drug, to work properly. Black tea is a natural and less toxic way to diminish cancerous cell growth.

     Black tea is a great beverage to drink when you have a headache or upset stomach caused by digestive issues.  The tannins in black tea can calm inflammation in the intestines, which can help with digestion, and the caffeine levels can ease headaches and promote mental focus. Unlike coffee, which can sometimes make you too energetic from caffeine, tea can be a more balanced energizer. The almost calming effect of black tea can increase alertness while also lowering stress hormone (cortisol) levels.

     How fantastic and convenient it is that something as delicious as black tea can be so healthy for you! The benefits I listed above are the ones that I found most fascinating. There are much more that can be discovered if you decide to do further research. Whether you drink your black tea hot or iced, you can enjoy it, even more, knowing that it is doing your body good.