A lot of people have heard of green tea and its high content of antioxidants and more and more health-conscious people are making the enjoyment of green tea a part of their diet and their daily routine. It’s understandable: green tea contains a high concentration of antioxidants, it makes a tasty and refreshing drink and it has a low caffeine content.
But there is something even better around the corner and this time it’s time for white tea. As a matter of fact, green tea and white tea both come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), but white tea leaves that are picked before they open fully, when the buds are still covered in fine, white hairs. That is why it’s called white tea.
The main difference between green and white tea is that white tea leaves are harvested at a younger age than the green tea leaves and, while they both undergo very little processing, white tea is not fermented at all, while green tea is partly fermented (black tea on the other hand is fully fermented). Because they are so gently treated, white tea and green tea retain the most of their beneficial antioxidants, white tea even more than green.
Now let’s look how green and white cousin do in the field of their health benefits, flavor and price.
The young, white tea leaves retain higher concentrations of antioxidants than green tea. In fact, white tea has a concentration of antioxidants that is three times higher than in green tea. This makes white tea the tea with the highest antioxidant content, which is usually the main reason for drinking white tea. It is interesting to know that one cup of white tea contains approximately 12 times as much antioxidants as a glass of fresh orange juice.
To some, green tea tastes a little »grassy«. White tea has a much gentler, subtler taste, which is smooth and silky, almost sweet.
White tea contains less caffeine than green tea, about 15 mg per serving compared to the 20 mg for green tea. If caffeine is not what you’re going for, white tea is probably a better choice for you.
Because white tea is hand plucked from special tea bushes during only a few days of early spring and treated in such a delicate manner, it is much more scarce than other types of tea. That ofcourse comes with a higher price and white tea can be up to three times as expensive as green tea. On the other hand, less white tea is needed to get a fresh and strong infusion of antioxidants that strengthens the immune system and the body. Only a spoonful of white tea buds is enough to brew about one quart (one liter) of white tea, and you can resteep it several times.
Drinking green tea is definitely a great habit, which will provide the much needed antioxidants, but going for white tea is surely a step ahead.