Once reserved for the cups of emperors and nobility, this magnificent high mountain China White Tea still remains one of the rarest of all teas. It is pain-stakingly hand plucked only two days of the year, right before the leaf opens and then steamed, instead of air-drying. It is called white tea because of the silver fizz that covers the buds, which turns white when the tea is dried. So small is the harvest, so high is the demand, that it is one of the world’s most expensive teas. It takes about 30 pounds of the youngest tea leaves to make a pound of white tea. Modern research shows that White Tea retains the highest levels of powerful, health promoting polyphenols that can help build the immune system and reward sippers with a healthier life.
The white tea is revered for its unmatched subtlety, complexity, and mellow sweet notes. People who have tried both note that white tea lacks the bitter aftertaste so often associated with green tea. Emperors had this tea plucked from their secret gardens to share with visiting dignitaries, who reveled in the airy fragrance and pure flavor.
Studies indicate that white tea is better for you than green tea due to the process of leaving the leaves so close to their original state. In doing this, white tea leaves contain more polyphenols (anti-oxidants) than any other type of tea. It also contains less caffeine than green tea, containing 5 to 15 milligrams per cup.
To appreciate the unique, soft flavor and delicate nature of this tea, preparation is of the utmost importance. The water should be just short of boiling (175 – 185 degrees F) and the tea should only steep for 30-60 seconds.
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