White tea

White tea
White tea

White tea (Chinese: 白茶; Japanese: 白茶) is a lightly oxidized tea grown and harvested primarily in China, mostly in the Fujian province. More recently it is grown in both Taiwan and now in Northern Thailand.
White tea comes from the buds and leaves of the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves and buds are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation or further tea processing. This preserves the characteristic flavour of the white tea.
The name “white tea” derives from the fine silvery-white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which gives the plant a whitish appearance. The beverage itself is not white or colourless as the name may imply, but pale yellow.
History
White tea originated in China; however, the history of white tea is contested and complicated. Finding adequate citation is not easy when discussing China’s teas in general because the system of knowledge is often orally transmitted. Scholars and tea merchants generally disagree as to when the first production of white tea (as it is understood in China today) began. What is today known as white tea may have come into creation in the last two centuries. White tea may have first appeared in English publication in 1876, where it is categorized as a black tea because it is not initially cooked like a green tea, to deactivate internal enzymes and external microbes. It is worth noting that at this time Hanson only identified two types of tea, black and green.
White tea has now become more widely available, often being sold as Silvery Tip Pekoe, a form of its traditional name, and now also under the simple designations China White and Fujian White.
Contents
Because white tea is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, it contains polyphenols, a phytonutrient that is thought to be responsible for the tea’s health benefits.
Catechins
White tea contains high levels of catechins, a type of compounds that is responsible for lessening formation of atherosclerotic plaques, reducing carcinogens, reducing severity of stroke, heart failure, cancer (including tumor formation), diabetes and for the protection of skin from damage caused by UV light.
Manufacturing
The manufacturing of white tea is simple compared to the manufacturing of other teas. The base process for manufacturing white tea is as follows:
Fresh tea leaf → Withering → Drying (air drying, solar drying or mechanical drying) → White tea
White tea belongs to the group of tea that does not require panning, rolling or shaking. Therefore, its manufacture saves time and labour. However, the selection of raw material in white tea manufacture is extremely stringent; only the plucking of young tea leaves with much fine hair can produce good-quality white tea with lots of pekoe.
Health
Like black and green tea, white tea is also derived from Camellia sinensis. Thus, white tea shares many of the same chemical properties and health effects of tea. The particular amount and ratio of the polyphenol compounds found in tea varies widely from one type of white tea to another, frequently overlapping with chemical compositions found in green tea. This is due both to the variation between strain of Camellia sinensis, as well as the preparation process itself. These compounds have been shown to protect against certain types of cancer both in vitro and in vivo.
Improved cardiovascular function
Catechins, a group of polyphenol antioxidants found in white tea, have been found to reduce cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and improve the function of blood vessels, thereby decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Antibacterial and antiviral
White tea has been shown to protect animals from certain pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella tryphimurium. The antioxidants found in white tea may also help bolster the immune system, particularly in immunocompromised humans and animals.