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White tea is a highly exotic, almost magical beverage to be savored at leisure. It has a calming effect and sets the stage for conversation and relaxation.
All teas (Black, Green, Oolong, White, and Pu’erh) come from the same plant Camellia sinensis. The kind of processing the tea leaves are subjected to defines its character. While black tea is completely oxidized, we have white tea on the other side of the spectrum, made from tender leaves that are simply wilted and dried.
White tea is unique as it undergoes almost no transformation once harvested, simply withered and dried. The name white tea probably comes from the very pale colour of its liquor. Also high quality white teas come in the form of white buds almost similar to the edelweiss flower petals. The delicate taste of white tea requires an experienced palate which has been probably been initiated into oolong and green tea.
Uncured and non-fermented, research reveals that white tea has high anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti- elastase properties. As minimal processing is involved,this tea is also referred to as ‘raw’ tea and it is believed to have a higher amount of beneficial properties than green or black teas.
The tea withering processes range from wind drying chambers to natural sunlight. The technique to wither the leaves vary from region to region and is influenced by climate and local traditions. White tea gets its name from a silvery covering of the leaves and unopened buds, known as ‘Hao’.
This delicate tea is appreciated for its subtle and natural sweetness. They are made from the youngest shoots of the tea plant and hand processed. When brewed correctly, at low temperatures with a short brewing time, a cup of white tea has negligible amount of caffeine. The best white teas come in loose-leaf form. Like green tea, this tea is best brewed with pure water that has just started simmering, but not boiling.
To make that perfect cup of white tea, fresh water is heated. The loose tea leaves are steeped (2 teaspoons) in a clean teapot for about 3-5 minutes. The liquid obtained after straining is mild, mellow and extremely refreshing.
A thirst quencher bursting with antioxidants to try out during the hot sultry summer months is ice cold tea.
1) 4 white tea bags
2) Honey/sweetener to taste (optional)
3) A lemon(sliced)
4) Few mint sprigs,
The tea bags are placed in a teapot. 1 litre(4 cups) boiling water is added and allowed to steep for 3-5 minutes. The tea bags are then removed from the pot.
This pale yellow liquid is poured into a glass jar and honey is stirred into it.The liquid is allowed to settle down and cooled in the fridge. Lemon wedges and mint sprigs are then added to it. This cooler can be served over ice in glasses and garnished with lemon slices.
One of the most sought after white tea is ‘silver needles’ Yin Zhen. This white tea is produced by the ‘imperial plucking method’ performed at sunrise on only two days a week. The alluring fine, silvery buds, coupled with the subtle refreshing taste makes it one of the most expensive teas in the world. An ideal summer drink!
Pai Mu tan is another variety of white tea, less premium than silver needles, but nevertheless appreciated for its smooth and flowery flavor.
The health benefits associated with white tea are amazing. White tea inhibits growth of new fat cells and also burns the existing cells. For those looking to get rid of those extra pounds, adding white tea to the diet along with a proper exercise regime works wonders.
Apart from that white tea is a high source of antioxidants that offers cell protection from oxidation process during pregnancy. Along with the polyphenols present in it, it helps in cancer prevention.
Add this miracle drink to your beauty regimen and see the difference. White tea’s antiseptic and antioxidant properties make it a natural skin purifier and helps in fighting pimples. The high phenol content strengthens elastin and collagen and EGCG promotes hair growth.
Epigallocatechins Gallate along with the other active catechins helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, prevents hepatitis B infection and safeguards against liver problems.
The catechins present in white tea also helps dissolve kidney stones preventing renal failure and reduce chronic inflammation.
Wait! There’s more! The high amount of L-theanine helps in enhancing the level of mental alertness and reduces fatigue. Also the fluorides, flavonoids and tannin present in this beverage promote healthy dental health. The list seems to be endless.
This super food which is overflowing with all the goodness nature can offer was discovered quite accidentally. According to popular belief once when Emperor Shennong of China and his army stopped to rest for a while, his staff started to boil water to make it potable as was the norm. During the boiling process a dead leaf from a tea bush flew into the water. This water was served to the Emperor who found the drink extremely refreshing and thus white tea was born.
Do include this magic potion in your diet and see the it reverse the negative effects of ageing, hectic lifestyle and environmental hazards on your health.
Image source: pixabay