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It's (mostly) true: white tea is as close as you can get to fresh-off-the-plant tea. Harvested young, when the plants still have fuzzy, silvery hairs, white tea is steamed and dried immediately instead of wilted, rolled, oxidized, and dried like black tea.
Because of this process, white tea maintains a very high concentration of antioxidants, comparable to the fan favorite green tea.
White tea benefits
- packed with powerful antioxidants
- may help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and inflammatory diseases
- benefits exercise goals
But when it comes to caffeine count, the exact amount is murky and depends on the brand. One study analyzed 37 different brands of white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh tea and found the caffeine content to be similar.
Another study found that antioxidant and caffeine quality was affected by how and where the tea was processed.
So, here's the catch: while white tea ranks high in antioxidants, white tea itself hasn't been researched as much as green and black tea, in relation to heart disease and cholesterol.
But studies do link catechin, the polyphenol in white tea, to antioxidant properties for reducing the risk of heart disease, relaxing blood vessels, and reducing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
And studies on green and black tea have shown that those who drink three or more cups of tea per day have a 21 percent reduced risk of heart disease or stroke. Since white tea has a higher antioxidant count, it makes sense that white tea would also help.
Similar to green tea, studies suggest white tea may also increase metabolism by an extra 4 to 5 percent and fat burning by up to 16 percent.
So, we put together a fragrant, antioxidant-packed recipe that you can enjoy hot or iced. Instead of brewing white tea plain, add lemon and fresh mint for an added boost to the immune system.
Lemon, rich in vitamin C, benefits the immune system and may support heart health when daily walks are involved.
In fact, just one ounce of lemon juice contains almost a fourth of your daily recommended vitamin C intake. If you don't have peppermint oil, which has been shown to support healthy digestion, fresh mint may also do the trick!
Lemon Mint White Tea
- 6-8 ounces brewed white tea
- 3 fresh mint leaves
- 1 lemon wedge
- Honey to taste (optional)
- Brew the white tea (recommended: White Peony or Silver Needle) accordingly.
- Add in the fresh mint leaves and the juice from one lemon wedge. Sweeten with honey, if desired.
- Serve the tea hot or over ice.
Pro tip: You can triple or quadruple this recipe to make a pitcher.
How much should you drink?
You can drink up to three cups of white tea per day for heart benefits. However, caffeine content can vary by brand so be sure to check the manufacturer's website for details. Trader Joe's, Clipper Teas, and Twinings are reported to have low caffeine content.
Tiffany La Forge is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries. Visit her at her blog or on Instagram.