Contrary to popular belief, white tea is not when milk is added to tea, but rather refers to a form of unfermented tea. Similar to green tea, the tea does not undergo full oxidation.
White tea is not commonly found, but has several health benefits. Research has shown it has more cancer-fighting antioxidants than green tea, and also less caffeine than other varieties of tea.
White tea has a light and sweet flavor, with none of the "grassy" undertones sometimes found in Green Tea. White Tea is the lightest and mildest of all teas. The leaves have a white or grey color. When brewed, the tea is pale yellow to light red in color.
White tea is also known as White Peony, Golden Moon, Silver Needle and White Cloud.
Production of white tea
Unlike other teas, the leaves are harvested before they are fully open. In this state, the buds are covered by white hair. The white hair on the buds is what gives white tea its name. Only certain leaves are selected, with the ideal being two leaves wrapped around a new shoot.
The leaves are lightly steamed, then dried in the sun. After drying, the leaves are sorted again, and the best leaves are packed and sold.
This process of production ensures that white tea maintains its freshness and maximizes its health benefits.
Health benefits of white tea
White tea has several health benefits:
White tea may be useful in cancer prevention. White tea has been proven to have more anti-oxidants called polyphenols than green tea, which can help prevent cancer. One research showed that white tea was generally more effective in preventing damage to DNA cells - this damage is an early indication of cancer.
White tea may also have an anti-bacterial and anti-viral effect. Studies have indicated that white tea may be helpful in halting the growth of bacteria that cause pneumonia, dental problems and other infections. In the same study, white tea was shown to be more effective than green tea in inactivating viruses.
Generally it appears that white tea can stimulate the immune system to fight disease. White tea can also prevent diseases from occurring, by halting their progress in the beginning stages.