You’ve probably heard a number of tea types named after colors. White, black, green, and so on. For some reason, most of these tea types come from the same source- the tea plant ‘Camellia sinensis’, but the differences are in the way they are oxidized and processed and of course their colors and individual flavors. Black tea is fully oxidized, green tea is barely or sparely oxidized and white tea is oxidized slightly, it’s almost non-existent.In this articles we’ll do a White Tea vs Black Tea analysis.
Some people claim that it isn’t oxidized at all but that can’t be accurate because every tea leaves start to oxidize the moment they are harvested. This is why white tea is very rare and it requires great care and attention when processing.
Table of Contents
- So What is White Tea?
- What is Green Tea?
- How is White Tea Produced ?
- How is Green Tea Produced ?
- How Popular is White Tea ?
- How Popular is Green Tea ?
- What is White Tea Flavor like ?
- What is Green Tea Flavor like ?
- What Is The Price Of White Tea ?
- What Is The Price Of Green Tea ?
- How Does White Tea Taste Like ?
- How Does Green Tea Taste Like ?
- Caffeine Content in White Tea
- Caffeine Content in Green Tea
- Health Benefits of White Tea
- Health Benefits of Green Tea
- Final Words
So What is White Tea?
The name white tea originates from the nature of the plant leaves and buds specifically used to make the tea. These are young leaves and buds of the tea plant. In fact, the leaves are so young that they aren’t yet unfurled before they are harvested and the buds are still covered with fine white hairs. And that is why it is called ‘White’ tea.
White tea is the least processed tea and that is why such minimal oxidation occurs. The young buds and leaves are handpicked and quickly and meticulously withered under sunlight and this can be followed by more withering indoors. The buds retain their downy white hair because their processing does not include direct heat like pan firing or steaming. White tea is probably one of the most tedious teas to process; the tea masters have to work carefully but fast to prevent browning of the leaves which would indicate that they were oxidizing.
Furthermore, the leaves have to be spread out evenly on a dry surface for outdoor withering under sunlight and then consider factors like humidity, room temperature, and also monitoring the leaves to keep from oxidizing during the indoor withering and then they are quickly air-dried.
While there is still a lot of mystery surrounding White tea because it is relatively still unpopular, many health enthusiasts claim that since it is even less oxidized than Green tea, it invariably means that it has an even higher quantity of antioxidants compared to green tea. The antioxidants are primarily responsible for the health benefits of white and green tea.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is the more popular, more oxidized version of white tea. Even though it is greatly less oxidized than black tea. Green tea is fondly called ‘green’ because of its characteristic tendency to appear green when brewed, some green tea can also appear yellowish and very light brown in color.
Green tea leaves are also harvested from the tea plant ‘Camellia sinensis’ like the white tea. And also like the white tea, the tea plant parts harvested for this popular drink are young leaves and buds. But I must point out here that the young buds lose their white hair during steaming or pan firing of the green tea leaves.
While white tea undergoes very little processing, green tea goes through a bit more. After harvesting the buds and leaves, they are withered under direct sunlight, and like white tea they are also closely monitored to prevent over fermentation. After that, the leaves are steamed or pan-fired. They also have to be less oxidized than black tea. Then the leaves are quickly dried to prevent further oxidation from taking place.
Green tea has dozens of researches under its belt and it’s been tested to also have a large number of antioxidants.
Both teams are traditionally from China but they have migrated to other parts of the world as they gained popularity. We would analyze the two types based on the following subtopics below.
How is White Tea Produced ?
White tea is typically best harvested in Spring because the springtime gives the best quality of this brand of tea, it’s also the most abundant, making up to half of the white tea production. The young leaves and buds are picked several times during harvesting. The first and second rounds of picking yield the fat and sweetest shoots. Harvesting can also be done in Autumn, it’s the next best after Spring. Summer yields the worst shoots.
As earlier established, white tea gets its name from the white hair on the young fat buds of the tea plant. The white tea made with the most buds has a higher quality than one with more leaves. The young buds and unfurled leaves are harvested still attached to the stem. White tea is harvested primarily in China, in the Fujian province.
How is Green Tea Produced ?
A typical great Green tea leaf is still a little curled and very soft. The leaves and buds are systematically plucked to avoid bruising them. There are three harvesting seasons in a year, Spring is the season where the tea plants are most productive. The exact week of harvesting varies from region to region as with any other tea brands but some green tea brands are harvested as early as the late march. Growing and harvesting season comes to an end from July to October. Green tea is also primarily grown and harvested in China. Although over the years other countries have adapted the skills and knowledge needed to grow and harvest the tea plant.
How Popular is White Tea ?
White tea is relatively less popular and less consumed than Green tea. Apart from China, white tea is also popularly grown in Taiwan, Eastern Nepal, Thailand, South Sri Lanka, and North-East India.
Even though green tea is more popular, White tea is slowly gaining momentum and its widely becoming known for its health benefits, sweet and floral taste, and therefore finding its way into major stores around the world.
How Popular is Green Tea ?
Green tea is one of the most popular teas in the world. It was originally grown and only popular in China and Japan, but decades ago its health benefits and refreshing quality became well known and sorted after. Green tea is exported around the globe, through several continents. Some would argue that green tea is more popular than white tea because more medical researches have been invested in it. Whatever the reason may be, an average person knows or has taken green tea before and the same cannot be said for white tea.
What is White Tea Flavor like ?
White tea has a less intense flavor than green or black tea. Its flavor ranges from light and crisp, floral, fruity, grassy, delicate, and sweet to mild and citrusy, to list a few.
What is Green Tea Flavor like ?
Green tea has a reputation for having a grassy flavor but they also have a wide range of flavors. The pan-fired brands can have a toasted flavor. It can also smell sweet, mild, honeyed, floral, seaweedy (for the brands that were steamed).
What Is The Price Of White Tea ?
The delicate nature of white tea leaves makes harvesting and processing more tedious than green tea. It requires more monitoring, care, and deftly skilled hands. For this reason, White tea is a bit more expensive than green tea. However there are relatively cheap packets or boxes of white tea you can purchase for a few dollars. These range from $1 – $100 on average.
What Is The Price Of Green Tea ?
Green tea leaves are also delicate and need to be processed with care but less so than White tea. Green teas all around the world are relatively affordable with price ranges of $1 – $150. But there are premium brands that cost way more than that, with brands that sell for several thousands of dollars. The range is from $1500 – $3000.
How Does White Tea Taste Like ?
White tea is slightly sweet with an undertone of sweet vegetal honey. It feels smooth and velvety on the tongue and it can also taste clean and crisp. And unlike the name describes, it doesn’t have a white color, when brewed properly it’s a very pale yellow drink.
How Does Green Tea Taste Like ?
Green tea has some legends of having a bittersweet taste but some tea masters assure that when green tea is steeped and brewed properly, it should have a variety of taste ranging from floral, grassy, sweet, fruity, oceanic or swampy and even nutty and buttery.
Caffeine Content in White Tea
It is widely believed that white tea contains less caffeine than green tea and here’s why. The younger the leaves and buds, the higher the caffeine content but here’s where it gets interesting, the longer the tea leaves and buds are processed, steeped and brewed, the more caffeine they produce. And since White tea is less processed, it generally has less caffeine content than green tea but by only a small margin. The estimated caffeine content in white tea is 10-15g.
Caffeine Content in Green Tea
Green tea is generally known to have more caffeine content than white tea and I’m sure you’ve read why in the preceding chapter. The estimated range of caffeine content for green tea is 20g.
Health Benefits of White Tea
It has more antioxidants than green tea and may reduce the risk of heart disease. It can help with weight loss. Test tube studies discovered that compounds from white tea extracts prevented some cancers from spreading. White tea may also protect against osteoporosis and lots more.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea also contains antioxidants. Recent studies indicate these may not be as much as produced in White tea. Still, Green tea has some amazing health benefits. It may help improve brain function, increase fat burn, and also lower the risks of some cancer types.
Green tea and white tea stand tall when it comes to healthy tea types around the world. Not only are you getting a dose of flavor goodness, but you’re also helping your body stay healthy and sharp. It sounds like a good deal to me. So pick your tea and enjoy amazing tea goodness.