White is associated with purity, innocence, goodness, and illumination. So far, we’ve talked about red tea, green tea, mate tea and chai, (and I would hope we’re all pretty familiar with black tea), so Hot-teas, let’s talk about white tea.
White tea leaves are picked before they open fully, when the buds are still covered in fine, white hairs. It comes from the same plant as green tea, but white tea leaves are harvested earlier. Because the tea leaves are usually plucked by hand and require delicate handling, it is harder to find in grocery stores, and certainly costs a little more. On the plus side, less tea is needed to get a strong infusion of antioxidants. A spoonful of steeped tea buds will infuse a litre of white tea a few times.
Both green and white tea leaves undergo little processing, but it is white leaves that are not fermented at all, which means they retain three times more beneficial antioxidant properties than green tea. Antioxidants help strengthen the immune system and with seasonal sniffles around the corner, we could all use a boost. One cup of white tea contains approximately 12 times as many antioxidants as fresh orange juice. Now maybe that’s a better way to start a morning. But it also contains less caffeine than green tea, so maybe a better way to end the day!
Where green tea often has a “grassy” aftertaste, white tea is gentler and subtler taste, almost sweet. If correctly steeped, white tea appears pale gold, similar to a mild white wine…or champagne!
There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne. – Bette Davis