White tea is classified based on how leaves from tea plants are processed, as well as on what type of tea plant is used. True white tea is the least processed tea, being plucked and air dried without any heat source other than the sun. True white tea also comes from a few select varieties, or cultivars, of the tea plant—specifically the Da Bai and the Da Hao tea plants from Fuding County in Fujian Province, China. These two types of tea plants are very similar and contain several small and downy white hairs on the buds and leaves of the plant. The production utilizes the gentle process of withering, curing, and drying which give white tea it’s delicate flavors, a smooth mouthfeel, as well as a subtly fruity or sweet finish. White teas tend to have less bitterness than other teas and can be more forgiving of water temperature and infusion times than green teas.
History Of White Tea
The first mention of White Tea appeared in “Treatise on Tea”, written by the Emperor Huizong (1107-1110). The emperor was a well-known tea connoisseur, while white tea was his tea of choice. The known history of white tea processing goes as far back as the known history of tea. In early tea drinking cultures, such as the Shang Dynasty of China, tea leaves were air dried and then typically added to a boiling pot full of water and herbs and spices in order to create a blend used for medicinal purposes. This blend tended to have a very strong, bitter flavor. During the Tang dynasty, tea drinking started to emphasize drinking “pure” tea, and also began to take on a more aesthetic and spiritual role in Chinese society. Lu Yu, a famous tea master from that time, encouraged tea drinkers to drink pure tea without the addition of spices, berries, etc. Most tea during this period was either pressed into disc-shaped molds, giving the compressed leaves a disc, or cake-like look, in order to better transport, preserve, and store the tea; or ground into a powder and then whisked when added to hot water, like Matcha in Japan. At this point in time, the Da Bai and Da Hao white tea plants had been discovered and were being cultivated and harvested in the Fujian Province of China. The tea farmers in Fujian were starting to produce the earliest and most famous form of white tea, called Silver Needle, as well as another white tea that we have today, called White Peony. Silver Needle white tea consists of only the most delicate buds from the top of the tea plant. These delicate buds are covered in beautiful white, downy hairs, which is where white tea gets its name. During the Ming Dynasty, white tea started to become more well known due to the development of more refined techniques for drying and storing the tea leaves, making white tea easier to transport and trade.
Benefits Of White Tea
White tea contains high amounts of antioxidants which protect the body against free radicals that cause oxidative damage. Antioxidants in white tea help in neutralizing these free radicals and boost overall health. White tea contains flavonoids, a class of antioxidants, that inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the development of new ones. White tea is a good source of caffeine and catechins like EGCG. These two compounds may have a synergistic effect that helps the body burn fat and boost metabolism. White tea is a great source of fluoride, catechins and tannins. Several studies have shown that these compounds can help fight bacteria that cause plaque on teeth. Studies have shown that polyphenols like those found in white tea may lower the risk of insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control. White tea and its compounds may protect the skin from damage linked to aging. This includes external damage from the sun’s UV rays and internal damage from cellular components that may harm the skin’s fiber network.
Tip: To make white tea, simply steep loose white tea in hot water for five to eight minutes. It has a subtle yet refreshing taste, so you can add more leaves if you prefer a stronger tea.
Let’s look at a simple cocktail that you can make at home using White Tea!
White Tea With Muddle Basil Mojito
- 2 Tbsp Of White Sparkle
- 2 Tablespoons Honey
- 2 Limes
- Handful Of Fresh Mint Leaves, Plus More For Garnish
- Handful Of Fresh Basil Leaves, Plus More For Garnish
- Ice Cubes
- 2 Ounces White Rum
- 1/2 Cup Sparkling Water
- Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot over high heat and add White Sparkle Tea and let it steep for 3-4 mins. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the tea bags, cover, and steep for 3 minutes. Discard the tea bags and stir in the honey. Let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, cut one lime into quarters. In each of two highball glasses, muddle two lime wedges, half the mint, and half the basil. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lime into each glass. Add a few large ice cubes, 1 ounce rum, 1/4 cup brewed tea, and 1/4 cup sparkling water. Stir, then garnish with mint and basil sprigs.
Well, you can also make a simple and tasty mocktail at home using our White Sparkle. Check out the recipe:
Mango and Peach White Iced Tea
- 10 glasses of purified water
- 5-6 tsp of white tea (White Sparkle Tea)
- 2 peaches (pitted and diced)
- 1 cup of mango (chopped)
- 1 tbsp honey (optional)
Boil water in a large saucepan and add the white tea leaves. Steep the white tea for about 7 minutes, then transfer tea to a large mixing bowl. Allow the tea to cool down for approximately 30 minutes. Mix chopped peaches, mango, and 1 tbsp of honey (to taste) in a smaller mixing bowl. Then transfer the fruits to a large pitcher, and pour the cooled tea into the pitcher. Stir to combine, chill in the refrigerator and serve over ice.