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The Benefits of Drinking White Tea and Green Tea


An Introduction to White Tea

In the misty mountainous sub-tropical region of Fujian province, a remote area of China, tea cultivators grow 336 varieties of tea, a treasury of the country’s tea species, including white, green, black, oolong, and scented. The mist and dew provide protection from direct sunlight and the humidity protects the leaves and helps to maintain their temperature level allowing the leaves and buds to mature and grow at a slower pace, resulting in premium tea.

Once hidden and unknown to the rest of world until the mid nineteenth century, white tea is still produced almost entirely in Fujian province, to a lesser extent in Japan, and in a few areas in Sri Lanka and India.

White Tea leaves are harvested once a year, for a few weeks, early in spring when the weather is consistently cool and dry, and picked before they fully open when the buds are still covered by fine white hair. Silver Needle, is the top grade of White Tea and consists only of silvery-white sprouts that look like needles. Authentic white teas such as White Peony are multi-colored like autumn leaves, and covered with a silver-white down that resembles the skin of a ripened peach.

The leaves are dried in natural sunlight immediately after harvesting, and steamed only lightly to halt oxidation or further fermentation, which preserves the high content level of nutrients and polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), and also results in a flavor that is light, sweet and delicate.

The longer tea leaves are dried the darker they become and may undergo a firing process rather than a sunlight drying. White tea undergoes minimal drying, green tea is dried for a day or two, while black tea may be left to dry for as long as one month. Tea may vary in flavor from one region to another, because of differences in altitude, climate and soil.

There is some confusion as to whether white tea has less caffeine than green tea. Dr. Robert H. Dashwood, Ph.D., at the Linus Pauling Institute states, “There is no one white tea, just as there is no one green tea. Among white teas, some have higher caffeine than green, and some have lower levels.”