White Tea (3rd Jul 2021):
After a prolonged and tiring day, don’t we all want to just relax and sip on a cup of tea?Some like it hot others like it cold? Whether it is green tea or some other flavoured drink, the mere thought of having our favourite beverage uplifts our mood, doesn’t it?
But did you know that there is a completely different variety of tea that can surpass the healthy aspects provided by your regular tea? It is the White Tea! It’s healthful goodness is getting known all across the world.
So what is White Tea? One of the most delicate teas, white tea is hand harvested from the tiny young leaves and buds of the Camellia Sinensis tea plants. The buds are withered and air dried as soon as they are harvested. The teas are oxidised in a very controlled manner; hence the flavour is softer and delicate compared to other teas.
The earliest reference to white tea trace back to the Tang Dynasty in China where it was made into compressed cakes and brewed in earthen kettles. As per legends, it was only during the Song Dynasty that it gained more popularity and was reserved only for the emperor and other royals from his court. They found that the youngest buds of the tea plant produced a milder tasting tea with yellowish green liquor which was finer than the black tea. Much like the traditional Japanese tea ceremony of preparing matcha, white tea in ancient China too was earlier used in the form of powder which was whisked in ceramic bowls. Much later it was replaced by loose leaf white tea which became a norm to be served as a tribute to the emperor, thus bringing a change to white tea processing.
There are several varieties of white tea
Silver Needle – the rarest and most famous white tea. Silver Needle tea consists of only spring buds. It has a delicately sweet taste and floral aroma
White Peony- this variety consists of the buds and first few leaves of the stem. It is less expensive than Silver Needle and has a slightly stronger flavour.
Tribute Eyebrow –consisting of larger leaves plucked after Silver Needle and White Peony has been harvested, this tea has an earthy flavour. ‘Eyebrow’ refers to the curved shape of the leaf.
Darjeeling White – grown in India, the tea is more widely available than many of the above varieties.
Health benefits of White Tea:
Improves skin health –antioxidant rich white tea also helps eliminate free radicals that can lead to signs of premature aging including pigmentation and wrinkles. The anti-inflammatory properties of white tea can also help to reduce redness and inflammation caused by skin diseases such as eczema or dandruff
Weight loss – a 2009 German study found that white tea can also help burn stored body fat. Catechins found in white tea can also speed up digestive process and help in weight loss
Hair health – anti-oxidants like ECCG enhance hair growth and prevent premature hair loss. White tea also naturally protects against sun damage, which can help keep hair from drying out in summer months.
Oral Health –white tea has high level of flavonoids, tannins and fluorides that help teeth stay healthy and active. Both tannins and flavonoids help to prevent build up of plaque that can cause tooth decay and cavities.
Improves focus – white tea contains L theanine which is known for enhancing alertness and focus in the brain.
Boost exercise performance- catechins present in white tea aided in quicker muscle recovery and less muscle damage.
White tea needs to be prepared at a lower temperature than other types of tea to make sure the leaves stay fresh and the flavours are delicate. It is advisable to use water that is clean and pure, not distilled and is between 175 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
The water needs to be hot before you add in the leaves, but it shouldn’t be simmering. You can leave the leaves in the water for as long as five minutes. Don’t leave in for longer or the tea will turn bitter. It takes a couple of tries before you can get the flavour just right. You may add honey or lemon to your cup as well for a more enriched taste.
So make yourself a cuppa and enjoy it with a light snack or as it is!
At Healthboost we have a range of teas including white tea.