City-based consultant dietician Dharini Krishnan, who has done a presentation on white tea explains, “Historically, white tea is derived from the first flush buds grown only in the Fukien Province of China, but now manufactured in India and Sri Lanka, among other places. While the tea is not white in colour, it has got its name due to the silvercoloured, white hair-like picked tea bud. The beverage is pale yellow in colour.” The reason for its exorbitant rate is because white tea is plucked in a very short time. “White tea is produced from unopened buds of tea shoots. These buds are withered and dried under special conditions. Anything that is rare becomes expensive. It is also produced in small quantities, which is one of the reasons why it is very expensive,” she says.
Benefits of white tea
Similar to green tea, white tea also has a lot of health benefits. Dharini advises to have this tea in between meals to see its yield. “The benefits of this tea can be given to its flavonoids as they help in various ways such as improving vascular health, which further helps in the prevention of heart diseases. White tea also helps in weight management,” she says. Chinese and Japanese people consume substitute white tea with water since it also helps in hydration to the body.
Green tea vs white tea
While several people draw comparisons between green and white tea, Dharini says that both has high nutritional values. Krishnan says, “They have only catechins (antioxidants) as the flavonoid (compounds) present. Other mature teas have catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins (other antioxidants in tea leaves). There are a lot of claims that white tea has more catechins as compared to green tea. But composition data has proved this wrong. However, the bitterness in white tea is lesser than green tea because the leaves are plucked at an early stage.”