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White tea

White tea is a lightly oxidized tea grown and harvested primarily in China, mostly in the Fujian province.[1] More recently it is grown in Eastern Nepal, Taiwan, Northern Thailand, Galle (Southern Sri Lanka) and India.

White tea comes from the buds and leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves and buds are allowed to wither and dry in natural sun.

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.[2] The beverage itself is not white or colourless but pale yellow, light to the taste, and is free shaped.


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 was categorized as a black tea because it is not initially cooked like a green tea, to deactivate internal enzymes and external microbes.[3]

White tea is 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.[1]


White tea (along with other teas) is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant and contains polyphenols, a phytonutrient that is thought to be responsible for the tea’s health benefits.[4][5]

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. However, white tea contains the most antioxidants. 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.[6]


The base process for manufacturing white tea is as follows:

Fresh tea leaf → withering → drying (air drying, solar drying or mechanical drying) → white tea[7]

White tea belongs to the group of tea that does not require panning, rolling or shaking. 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 of a high pekoe value.[7]

File:Bai Hao Yinzhen or Silver needle White Tea.JPG
The visible white hairs are a unique characteristic of the Bai Hao Yinzhen tea

See also


  1. ^ a b Chow 1990, p. 142
  2. ^ Rau 2004, p. 129
  3. ^ Hanson 1878, p. 46
  4. ^ Dulloo, AG; Seydoux, J; Girardier, L; Chantre, P; Vandermander, J (February 2000). "Green tea and thermogenesis: Interactions between catechin-polyphenols, caffeine and sympathetic activity". International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders: journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity 24 (2): 252–258. PMID 10702779. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0801101. 
  5. ^ Hursel, R; Westerterp-Plantenga, MS (December 2013). "Catechin- and caffeine-rich teas for control of body weight in humans". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 98 (6 Suppl 1): 1682S–1693S. PMID 24172301. doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.058396. 
  6. ^ Unachukwu, UJ; Ahmed, S; Kavalier, A; Lyles, JT (August 2010). "White and green teas (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis): variation in phenolic, methylxanthine, and antioxidant profiles". Journal of Food Science 75 (6): C541–C548. PMID 20722909. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01705.x. 
  7. ^ a b Hui 2004, p. 961

Further reading


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