Tea for Two
There are so many flavors of tea, how can you keep them all straight? White, black and green tea come from the Camella Sinensis plant. However the leaves are picked and cultivated before the leaf opens and the buds are covered with white hair. It is more difficult to come by, so it may be a tad more expensive compared to other teas.
The young leaves are shielded from sunlight so chlorophyll does not form. White tea is a bit lighter and sweeter than black and green tea. It requires more processing and is more of a delicate tea.
White teas have less caffeine than other teas. Most generally, they have 15 mg per serving compared to 40 milligrams in black and 20 milligrams for green tea. It is also know to have more antioxidants than the other teas. It is also known to have more anti bacterial and anti viral qualities than other teas.
The Song Dynasty emperor declared white tea all that is elegant. It has since maintained it’s regal declaration. Later it was the defined as the "best" tea.
There are primarily four types of tea Ceylon and Darjeeling Silver needle and Whit Pony.. The Ceylon tea is light with a hint of pine, honey and copper flavors. The Darjeeling white has a delicate flavor that is mellow and sweet. Silver needle is bright white and the shape is uniform. White pony is sweet and mild, but full bodied.
During the Song Dynasty, producing white tea took a great deal of time and effort. It was almost ceremonial to watch, as ceramic ware was used and the process was very time consuming.
The tea leaves are picked in the early Spring and then steamed. The buds are hand picked and the leaf left unopened. Only the interior of the bud is used. It is rinsed and dried.
After cutting, the tea needs to ferment. The tea leaves are oxidized, to aid in the drying process. Depending on the type of tea, the leaves are steamed or heat is applied.
Tea has become a culture in and of itself. There are tea rooms, outdoor cafes, parties, afternoon tea, all designed with a purpose of enjoying a glass of ice tea or hot tea. Zen Buddhism offers a Japanese tea ceremony. China, Korea and the United Kingdom also have tea ceremonies.
However you decide to enjoy your tea remember that it has cancer fighting oxidants. It is virtually caloric and fat free. There are no side effects except it will help you relax and hopefully, remain stress free at least until you finish the cup. So enjoy a cup or glass and resist the temptation to move or do something and just relax!