When it comes to our morning coffees or mid-afternoon pick-me-ups, white tea is giving our usual brew some steep competition. Known as an energy booster with a bevy of health and beauty bonuses, we wanted to know more and so we asked nutritional therapist, Founder of GP Nutrition Gabriela Peacock for her insight into whether the white tea benefits are truly worth trading in our cups of coffees for. Here's what we found out about the low-caffeine tipple...
What is white tea?
“White tea is made from the immature/baby tea leaves that are picked before the buds open,” explains Gabriela. “It tastes more fragrant, milder and somewhat sweeter.”
Does it still have caffeine in it? “It is lower in caffeine than black and green tea and far lower than coffee,” says Gabriela. “It’s a good alternative if you are trying to cut down on caffeine.”
What are the health benefits of white tea?
“White tea is high in antioxidants – a diet full of antioxidants is better for our health and reduces the incidence of disease, including cancer,” comments Gabriela.
“Catechins – a specific group of antioxidants in tea – have been found to lower cholesterol and white tea is full of them. Drinking white tea as part of a healthy, balanced diet will help protect the heart and circulatory system too.”
Is white tea anti-ageing?
As an added bonus, the benefits of white tea work both above and below the skin’s surface. “The antioxidant content of white tea strengthens our immune systems, so can help with oral health, gum disease and more,” comments Gabriela.
“Free radical damage from the sun, stress, and a poor diet can damage the skin and cause it to prematurely age. By scavenging these free radicals, white tea protects the skin and helps to reverse some of the damage. Drinking white tea promotes healthy and radiant skin too.”
Why is white tea better than other forms of tea?
In a nutshell, it provides the energy boost with a spoonful of health and beauty benefits to help us gently wean ourselves off the caffeine freight train.
“White tea is lower in caffeine than other forms of tea, plus it is high in antioxidants as the leaves have not oxidised,” says Gabriela. “It contains a higher content of some polyphenols and is better than green tea at mitigating harm done to DNA - a type of cell damage that can be a precursor to cancer.”
What is the best way to brew it?
Feeling thirsty? Here’s Gabriela recommendation for how to best serve it:
“Some suggest that when brewing white tea, the best practice is to let the boiling water reduce in temperature first - i.e. let it sit for one minute before pouring over the tea leaves/bag. Let the tea steep for at least 4 minutes, but if you have the buds only, add another minute or two for the flavours to truly develop.”
“It's best without milk. Its natural flavour is slightly sweeter so you don't need to add sugar.”