Imagine a cup of the tea which is pale yellow but it’s a cup of White tea. Sounds odd and different but yes, White tea is not white. This dainty, delicious tea is an organic tea that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and was discovered in Fujian, which is on the Southeast coast of China.
The main distinction between White tea and other teas is that it undergoes minimal oxidation or fermentation. It also has a very delicate, sweet, and pleasant aroma mixed with a mild flavour.
But does White tea have caffeine? If yes, how much?
Coming from the Camellia sinensis plant which is used to make Green tea, Oolong tea, and Black tea as well, the plant contains caffeine in it but the amount of caffeine is lesser than all the others. From scientific researches and theories, it is proven that White tea actually contains 15% less caffeine content than regular Green tea.
A cup of 250 ml of it contains only about 6- 55 mg of caffeine. Some people think that White tea is decaffeinated or caffeine-free, but the scientifically proven fact is that this tea contains caffeine just in a very minimal quantity. White tea contains catechins which is an organic compound for antioxidants and do not undergo the process of oxidation of fermentation for a longer time, that’s why it does not contain a high amount of caffeine when compared to the other teas.
Over many years, the production of White tea has spread to India, Indonesia, and several other parts of Asian countries. Since this tea is pretty rare and a little expensive the price for duplication of taste is also high. More often than not, the White tea available in the market is not the traditional one, rather it is a tea processed the same as a traditional type but from different types of tea plants.
The duplicate version is produced from the Camellia sinensis assamica tea plant that is naturally higher in caffeine than the Camellia sinensis plant grown in Fujian(China). The white tea is produced from the original tea plant is proved to be lower in caffeine.
White tea blends
Given that the pure form of White tea is hard to find and is very expensive, there are several blends available in the market such as the 50/50 blend of pink aromatic rose petals infused in White tea or a combination of peppermint with White tea. It automatically lowers the level of caffeine in tea as White tea leaves are blended with non-caffeinated flavours.
These are generally categorised as decaffeinated White teas. If in a natural way silver needle tea (bai ho yin Zhen) contains caffeine in less amount, it is made using tea bags rather than using tea leaves. The buds contain hydrophobic or water fairings silver hair which makes the process of extraction of caffeine more difficult.
Does white tea contain less caffeine than any other teas?
Coming to the comparison of caffeine content in White tea vs other teas we know of, White tea has less content of caffeine when compared to Green tea, Oolong tea, or Black tea. The finest and highest quality White tea contains less caffeine than all the other teas owing to the delicate leaves and buds.
The caffeine of a tea depends on various factors like the straining of leaves, age of tea leaves when they were picked and steps of processing. When the leaves are aged and fermented longer, (eg. Black tea), the caffeine level in the leaves themselves rises significantly. So if you’re looking for teas with low caffeine, but still just enough to give you a boost of energy coupled with all the health benefits, White tea is your best bet!
Types of White teas and their caffeine content
There are several different types of white teas that are harvested. Here are some of the most popular, easily available ones along with their caffeine content.
Silver Needle White tea
The best quality Silver Needle White tea is processed from young leaf tips. It gives a mild taste and high quality, but it also provides a much higher amount of caffeine. It contains a much more concentrated amount of caffeine but still certainly lower than that of other teas.
White peony tea
This tea comprises primarily of leaf tips but it is mixed with leaves that are lower down on the stem. The leaves are young but not as young as the ones which are used in the Silver Needle variant. This is the reason why White peony tea has a slightly higher content of caffeine than Silver Needle and contains caffeine higher than average varieties.
Shou mei tea
Shou mei tea contains young buds and few tea leaves which are left after the White peony tea leaves are plucked off. This tea is older as compared to the other two teas and this is why it contains more amount of caffeine comparatively.
Health benefits of White tea
The delicate leaves of white tea are rich in antioxidants and have various health benefits. Here are a few prominent ones,
Rich in antioxidants:
White tea is called the powerhouse of polyphenols known as catechins. Polyphenols are organic molecules or essentially antioxidants and play a crucial role in preventing cell damage when they enter our bodies. They also treat aging, chronic inflammation, weak immune system, and many harmful diseases.
Reduces the risk of heart diseases:
The polyphenols present in White tea help to reduce the risk of heart diseases by relaxing blood vessels and boosting immunity.
Helps with weight loss: White tea is an effective alternative that helps in weight loss. It has caffeine and catechins like epigallocatechin gallate(EGCG), a compound that burns body fat effectively and rejuvenates the body’s immune system. It boosts up the metabolism which results in burning 70- 100 calories per day.
May treat cancer:
Scientific research and studies state that White tea extracts suppress the growth of colon cancer cells and prevent them from spreading further. The antioxidants in it protect the normal body cells from damage by harmful molecules as well. Although more research needs to be done in this area, White tea shows promising results.
The conclusion from the information it is clear that the notion of exquisite White tea not containing caffeine at all is a myth. With low levels of caffeine but uncompromisingly high amounts of health benefits, White tea is something you need to try. Although one of the lesser-known teas, this one is an absolute favourite among tea aficionados and there’s no reason you shouldn’t stock up on it!