If Teas Could Talk Would White Tea Be Idol Or Foe?

Tea enthusiasts love exploring the different quality options that are available to them. Many who are less familiar with different varieties will select either a green or a black tea option. However, because it is such an exclusive variety, rarely does anyone outside of the most discriminating tea drinkers actually select a white tea.

Enthusiasm for white tea stretches as far back as China’s Song Dynasty (960-1279) where it was presented to the emperor in an elaborate ritual known as the Song Tea Ceremony. Its popularity waned, however, after Emperor Huizong, a true tea devotee and author of the famous Treatise on Tea, was so distracted with an obsession to discover the most superior tea for competitions that he lost a portion of his empire in the process.

In the late 1880’s the popularity of white tea began its resurgence and a renewed esteem for it has been growing ever since. Comparatively few outside of China have come to realize its delightful joy and powerful health benefits, but slowly a passion for this specialty among teas is mounting in other parts of the world.

White tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant just as black and green teas do. However, it is harvested and processed much differently. White tea, in fact, is barely processed at all since it is not rolled like black and green teas are and it is allowed very little oxidation. This process, and the fact that it is picked very early when the leaves are still young, is perhaps what lends to the outstanding health benefits that are associated with it.

Silver Needle, White Peony, Tribute Eyebrow, and Long Life Eyebrow are the 4 main varieties of white tea with Silver Needle considered to be the highest quality. Other white teas grown and harvested outside of China include the African White grown in Kenya and Malawi, and the Darjeeling White grown in India.

White tea is full of anti-oxidants believed to help prevent heart disease, protect cells from damage, reduce cholesterol, and even lessen the physical signs of aging. Anti-oxidants are also a powerful agent in combating cancer cells. As well, white teas perform as a powerful immune system booster as they protect against many different viruses and harmful bacterial strains.

Although both green and black teas also have exceptional health benefits, they pale in comparison to those of white teas. This is perhaps due to the fact that the leaves are less processed, but research has indicated that white teas have far more anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects than do black or green teas. Researchers have also found that white teas can literally deactivate viruses and that they are a stronger defense against various bacteria and fungi than even black or green teas.

Many also prefer its taste more so than the black or the green varieties as its silvery buds produce a subtler, even sweeter flavor. White teas also contain less caffeine than black or even green varieties.

While white tea is new to some in the Western world, its taste, and benefits are proving to be an international delight as it is now taking its place in the hearts and cups of curious people everywhere. What was once a beverage reserved for emperors and extravagant ceremonies, white tea is more readily available and affordable than ever before. With its powerful health properties, even over beloved black and green varieties, white tea is sure to remain the most elite among all other varieties for years to come.

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