How to Extract the Most Antioxidants in White Tea

It’s said that the antioxidants you get form white tea is of the highest grade. White tea comes from a province in China called Fujian, and depending on the variety you choose, should always be harvested when brightly colored, fresh and covered with tiny white hairs. White tea comes in several varieties and grades. Some varieties include: Bai Hao Yinzhen or Silver Needle, Gong Mei or Tribute Eyebrow, Bai Mu Dan or White Peony, and Shou Mei or Noble and Long Life Eyebrow. Some other varieties include a Sri Lanka grown tea called Ceylon White and a tea from India called Darjeeling White. Unlike Oolong and black tea, white tea doesn’t have to oxidize before curing.

Brewing

White tea is the most potent tea available, with as much as three times the antioxidants of all others. It has a light delicate taste and is very easy to harvest and brew. Brew for only three to five minutes in very hot, but not boiling, pure water, using two teaspoons loose-leaf tea per cup. To save yourself some money and stretch your supply of white tea, just re-steep the leaves up to two times so you extract all the nutrients.

Processing White Tea

With white tea, very little processing is needed, causing the finished product to be the most potent of all teas. Plucked in the early spring, the young leaves and buds are immediately steamed, or naturally withered and then baked or fired to inactivate polyphenol oxidase (then dried and ground to a powder). This quick process allows white tea to retain more of the health benefits than other types of teas, including the retention of a high concentration of catechins. The ratio of leaves to buds used for processing white tea depends on the variety; the most popular, silver needle, uses only downy buds.

Health Benefits

Besides being the highest in antioxidants, white tea also has other health benefits including anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral advantages. It also assists with weight loss and protects skin from sun damage. White tea has the ability to fight certain cancers due to its ability to boost the immune system, and some studies show that due to it being fluoride rich, white tea will help prevent tooth decay. A study done at the Department of Biology at Pace University’s Dyson College shows that white teas can destroy in vitro organisms, which cause disease

When looking for white tea in the store, buy only the highest quality, loose leaf tea you can find. Loose-leaf tea is more potent and superior in flavor than the bagged version. The Chinese believe that you can create a daily tea ritual by simply setting aside a few minutes per day for a relaxing cup of white tea.

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