White tea is one of the most valuable teas in the world. This is because up to 30,000 young buds of the tea plant are needed to produce one kilogram of the tea. White tea is made from the same plant as green and black tea. However, it differs from the other two types of tea in its gentle processing. In addition to caffeine, white tea contains many other ingredients that are not found in such concentrations in other tea varieties. These include polyphenols such as antioxidants, which bind free radicals in the body cells and thus strengthen the immune system.
What is white tea?
White tea is obtained from the camellia plant Camellia sinensis. Black and green tea are also made from this plant. The three types of tea differ in their processing, fermentation, and the components of the tea plant used. White tea is only fermented up to two percent in a natural process.
White tea originally comes from the Chinese province of Fujian and has a long tradition there. Even back then, white tea was promised healing and health-promoting powers.
White tea did not get its name from its colour. Rather, the tea variety is called so because the closed buds from which the tea is made are covered with white fluff. The raw material for the tea thus appears white.
The best known varieties of white tea are white peony (Bai Mu Dan) and silver needle (Yin Zhen). Depending on the growing region and harvest time, white tea can have a slightly smoky, finely tart or flowery note. In the finish, however, white tea is always delicate and somewhat sweetish.
Useful ingredients for health
White tea contains many vitamins and minerals. Among the minerals are
Especially fluoride and potassium predominate in the rich mineral content of white tea.
Vitamin B1 takes up the largest share of the vitamins contained in white tea. It is very important for our nervous system and influences our mood. A lack of vitamin B1 can cause headaches, depression, anaemia and increased risk of infection.
Moreover, white tea contains three times as many catechins as its relative, green tea. Catechins are natural tanning agents with antibacterial, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects.
Another ingredient is methylxanthine, among others in the form of caffeine and theophylline. Methyloxanthines stimulate the central nervous system. For example, they dilate bronchial tubes and reduce headaches and migraines. With 6 mg of caffeine per 100 ml, white tea is far behind black tea, which still contains 25 mg of caffeine per 100 ml.
Other active agents in white tea, like flavonoids, support the skin by tightening it. The elastin and collagen in the connective tissue of the skin are stimulated by these substances.
Healing power of white tea
The ingredients of white tea have been used for centuries to treat diseases. Already the Chinese emperors have said that white tea has a rejuvenating and life-prolonging effect. Today, many of the ingredients can be found in medicines.
White tea is especially known for its high antioxidant content in the form of catechins. Catechins bind free radicals, which cause cell damage and consequently trigger serious diseases. Thus, catechins help with high blood pressure and a high blood sugar level. In addition, they are even said to be supportive in the prevention of heart attacks, high cholesterol and strokes. Catechins are also anti-inflammatory and beneficial for the immune system. They also reduce the risk of cancer.
The antioxidant effect of white tea helps to prevent skin aging. This is why the active ingredients are frequently used in the cosmetics industry. Already three cups a day, regularly used after a short time, lead to fine-pored and healthy skin. The concentration of caffeine in white tea, however, is so low that white tea has no stimulating effect but is very gentle on the stomach.
Losing weight with white tea?
Some active ingredients that belong to the group of polyphenols are contained in large quantities in white tea. These ingredients act directly on human body cells. Fat cells in particular are stimulated by these substances to incorporate less fat and release fat faster. When dieting, this process has a positive effect on the loss of body fat.
Furthermore, white tea is said to have a laxative effect and stimulate the metabolism. This is also beneficial for people who want to lose weight.
White tea during pregnancy
During pregnancy a high fluid intake is very important. However, not every liquid can be drunk without risk. Since drinks containing caffeine have a stimulating effect, pregnant women should enjoy them in moderation. With the low caffeine content in white tea, up to two cups a day are safe.
During pregnancy, you should make sure that you do not steep white tea too long. This will reduce the strength of the tea. You should avoid white tea towards the end of pregnancy as it can cause inhibition of contractions.
The right preparation
When preparing white tea, make sure that the brewing water does not boil. The optimum water temperature is 75 to 80 degrees Celsius. This will not destroy the tea and the ingredients can still develop their effect. You should use one heaped teaspoon of white tea per cup. It is best to let the tea steep for two to five minutes.
Since white tea does not become bitter, you can make several infusions with white tea leaves. This changes the intensity of the tea a little and new flavours appear.
Production and origin of white tea
The young closed buds of the camellia plant are first picked by hand and then aired for a few hours. In the next step the buds are left to wilt for half a day on a wilting mat. Then the tea is dried in two successive processes at over 100 degrees Celsius and then packed.
White tea originally comes from China. This is still where it is grown today. However, white tea is nowadays produced in all known tea growing areas. These include India, Africa and Sri Lanka.
The elaborate production of white tea has its price. At around three to twenty euros per 100 grams, the tea is somewhat more expensive than its relatives. This is one reason why white tea is not drunk as often as green or black tea.