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What Exactly is White Tea?

Aug 17, 2007
White tea is obtained from the Camellia sinensis plant, which also gives the other varieties of Oolong, Black, and Green tea. However, white tea is mostly made up of the uppermost, still immature leaves and buds picked just before the buds have opened. Silver, whitish fuzz covers the buds, and this turns white when the tea is dried, leading to its characteristic name. These are best picked during early spring, especially when there is no rain or frost.

White tea is the most unprocessed tea variety. The leaves and buds are steamed to prevent oxidation, and then dried. Not rolled and only slightly oxidized, its taste is light, delicate, and with a slightly sweet flavor.

This tea is mostly associated with the Fujian province of China. There are four varieties, each one representing a step of the grading process. The Silver Needle (Bai Hao Yinzhen) is the most prized and sought-after variety. Only the buds - undamaged and unopened - are used for this tea. The White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) variety consists of the bud and the first two leaves underneath it, which should be covered with fine, silvery-white down. The Tribute Eyebrow (Gong Mei) variety comes next, made from a special tea bush and processed in a slightly different way. The last is the Long Life Eyebrow (Shou Mei) variety, an eclectic mix of buds and leaves with a slightly fruiter taste than the other white teas. Other varieties include the White Puerh Tea from China's Yunnan province, the Ceylon White, Assam White, and Darjeeling White, as well as others with added components such as fruit for flavor.

Since white tea is the least processed of the different kinds of tea, it retains almost all of the inherent nutrients and benefits of tea. It boasts one of the highest levels of antioxidants, helps in cancer prevention, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, aids in heart protection and maintenance of strong bones, healthy gums, teeth, and skin, as well as providing powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties. For someone that is looking for a tea to incorporate into a diet and exercise plan, few options can compare with the use of white tea.

White tea should be brewed in very hot but not boiling pure water, for 3 to 5 minutes. The leaves can be reused, and should be allowed to brew longer each time. The best variety is the loose leaf tea, and should be bought from a reputable seller who can ascertain where the tea comes from.
About the Author
Mayoor Patel is the writer for the website http://leaf-tea.tea-universe.com. Please visit for information on all things concerned with White Tea
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