White tea is made from the same plant as Black, Green and Oolong teas, but the leaves treated slightly differently. Unlike other varieties of tea, the youngest growth on the tea bush is picked for White teas – before the leaves have opened. They are then dried immediately to stop them oxidising.
The amount of oxidation is what separates the different types of tea; White tea is oxidised the least, then Green, Oolong, and finally Black tea is allowed to fully oxidise (which gives the leaves their characteristic black colour).
Is white tea caffeine free?
Because White tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, it is naturally caffeinated. In fact, because it’s so lightly processed, White tea tends to contain the most caffeine of the four types of teas in its dry state.
To a large extent, the caffeine content of a cup of tea is largely determined by how it’s been brewed; hotter water and a longer steeping time will mean more caffeine is released from the leaves. Because of this, White tea tends to contain the least caffeine in brewed form, as it tends to be brewed for the least amount of time.
How to make white tea?
- Use one rounded teaspoon per person, plus one for the pot
- Boil water and leave for to cool slightly (leave for about 3 minutes for White tea with more leaf, and 5 minutes for White tea containing more buds
- Pour water onto the tea and leave to steep for 3 minutes