What Is White Tea?

Mar 20, 2013 1:32 pm

More importantly: will it give me a caffeine buzz?

what is white tea?
Photo: Forban300 on Flickr
White tea has even more health benefits than green — all the more reason to drink up!

If black tea's not your thing and green's too strong, perhaps a cup of white will strike your fancy. The lightest and most delicate of the traditional teas, white tea simply doesn't get enough attention for its subtle, pleasant flavor and numerous health benefits. So why is it white, and not green or black, if it all comes from the same place?

White tea comes from the same tea plant as black and green, the Camellia sinensis. The difference in what tea you get from the plant has everything to do with harvest time. Once a year in the spring, the plant sprouts flower buds which are hand-harvested and used to make white tea (hence the mild, sweet floral flavor). White tea contains no caffeine and generally costs more than its green and black counterparts. 

Slightly further down the plant are the green tea leaves, which are, true to their name, green, and processed slightly via fermentation into the earthy tea with the gentle caffeine buzz. If those leaves are further processed and allowed to oxidize, they become black tea. 

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