White Tea the best choice


White and yellow teas are among the most subtle.

White Tea the best choice

Postby chantman » Feb 27th, '06, 17:46

Hi All,

I'm new to tea in general. I do drink iced black tea quite a bit. However, I would like to start drinking green or white tea.

I cannot have alot of caffeine. A little bit is fine, like maybe a little less than a can of coke or something.

I tried some Celestial Seasonings White Tea the other day. I liked it, but it wasn't great. It gave me headache/dizziness feelings afterwards. Same thing after I tried green tea.

Any advice/reccomendations to someone new to the whole "healthy tea" thing?

-Mike
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Postby Warden Andy » Feb 27th, '06, 18:38

Green and white teas are probably the hardest teas to get into. Especially since most Americans don't know how to brew it right. If you use good tea leaves, and brew it correctly, it would be easier to get into green and white teas. Actually, when I learned how to brew green tea correctly, and tried it, I instantly became hooked. I pretty much forgot about black tea, and only drink green, white and sometimes wulong tea.

First of all, ditch the tea bags. Tea bags will give you a plain, boring cup of green or white tea. Loose leaf teas has a much better, and a more complex flavor than tea bags. The loose leaf teas from Adagio are really good. Just browse around and see which ones description matches your taste.

Brewing is the most important part of making green and white teas. Out of all the types of tea, green and white are the most delicate.

The temperature of the water plays a big role in this. Too hot of water will cook the leaves, leaving you with a bitter cup of tea. Get a thermometer (I use a meat thermometer) and heat the water to 170-180 degrees.

What you brew the tea in makes a difference too. It's best to only brew a cup at a time, so find either a small teapot, or use a cup and an infusor (make sure the infusor is big enough for the leaves to expand). Make sure that the teapot or cup is made of porcelain or glass because it won't insulate as much, so you'll be a lot less likely to cook the leaves.

Green tea requires less time than black tea. About one teapoon of leaves (for one cup) will require only 2 minutes. Then add a minute to following infusions. White tea can sit in water longer without getting bitter. For the first infusion, brew for 5 minutes, and add 2 minutes to following infusions.

This may seem like a lot of information, but if you follow it, you'll get a good cup of green or white tea. If you can really get into it, there are better, but less convenient ways to make a good cup of green or white tea.
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Postby WhiteTeaWizard » Mar 3rd, '06, 18:37

I second what Andy has said. Very good advice!
I would like to add that water quality plays the biggest part. You can do everything else right, but if your water is suspect everything goes out the window. Problem is, it takes some time finding the right water for tea. First step (if you're not ready to start trying bottled waters) is to get a water filter for your tap water.

From my experience, I suggest this as a base to work from:

Greens and whites: 170-180 degrees, 3 minutes.
Oolongs: 195, 3-6 minutes.
Congous and Blacks: 212, 4-5 minutes (sometimes 3 min).
Pu-erhs: 212, 6-8 minutes.

The above recommendations only apply to steeping for a single cup, not for multiple infusions. I'm not including that cause it's more complicated and depends many factors.
Enjoy!
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No caffeine

Postby Snow on Cedar » Mar 3rd, '06, 22:32

Try the herbals!
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Postby peachaddict » Mar 3rd, '06, 22:57

Green and white teas are definitely hard to get used to if one's only ever had black tea or coffee, but if brewed right, it should have an ok taste. Herbals are great, too, yeah.

What about this headache and dizziness? Is it chronic or was it definitely from the tea? What could have caused it?
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Postby garden gal » Mar 3rd, '06, 23:29

I get major headaches/dizziness sort of a drugged feeling from too much caffeine and I got one celestial seasoning that wasn't decaf (I thought they all were but I was wrong). For some reason I can handle the loose leaf though without much problem at all. I don't drink the straight blacks althouth I do use the flavored blacks mixed in with others. I use the herbals & rooibos in the evenings although I do like my genmai cha but I drink everything real weak so maybe that's the trick too.
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Postby yresim » Mar 4th, '06, 04:20

chantman,

White teas have caffeine. In fact, new studies indicate that white tea may actually contain more caffeine than black tea. Regardless of whether or not this is true, a lot of caffeine-sensitive people get headaches after drinking white teas.

If you are sensitive to caffeine, the best thing to do is to drink decaf. Since most white teas don't come decaffeinated (and the decaffeination process has unpleasant side-effects, anyway), your best bet is to remove it prior to brewing. This is a lot easier than it sounds. According to teaclass.com:
"Just brew a cup as normal, leaving the leaves in the hot water for about 30 seconds. Then drain the tea leaves and rebrew... The caffeine content is almost completely lost with the first brewing (in fact, just as much caffeine is equal to any commercial decaf!)."

So, just steep everything for 30 seconds first, then dump the tea, and re-steep as normal. And you should be good to go.

~Yresim~
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Postby FairTaxGuy » Mar 4th, '06, 13:52

Yresim,

Yes I've heard about this method of DIY decaf too. I am curious if any lab analysis has been done on the caffeine content after using this method vs. regular steeping.
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Postby chantman » Mar 7th, '06, 15:16

Thanks for all the replies!! :)

I'm interested in yresim's idea of decaffinating. One some Lipton tea bottles they say "Naturally Decaffinated." I wonder if it has something to do with the process you mention. I may give it a shot. Or I'll just try green tea decaf (if they make it).

Herbals sound nice, but I thought they didn't contain antioxidants.

Thanks Again!

-Chantman
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Postby yresim » Mar 7th, '06, 18:27

If you are looking for a healthy drink, I strongly urge you to ditch the lipton tea bottles. They are full of sugar and preservatives, which are not good for you.

If you are looking for a tasty drink, I strongly urge you to ditch all lipton products. They produce some of the worst teas, IMO.

In fact, I would recommend that you ditch tea bags altogether, and give loose teas a try. There is even some speculation that loose teas may be more healthy than tea bags, because they are usually more fresh (and because some tea bags use bleach and/or glue).

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chantman wrote:Herbals sound nice, but I thought they didn't contain antioxidants.

All "real" teas come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis) and, as such, have similar health benefits. Herbal teas aren't really teas at all, because they do not come from Camellia sinensis. To avoid confusion, they are often referred to as tisanes.

Tisanes have their own sets of health benefits, most of them not studied/proven scientifically. That doesn't mean that they should be ignored, just taken with a grain of salt. If nothing else, they don't contain many of the things (including massive amounts of sugar) found in commercially-available drinks, so they are better for you than many of the other drinks "out there". So, while perhaps not as beneficial as "real" tea, they can make a good caffeine-free alternative to sodas and other popular drinks.

It should be noted that, while most tisanes do not contain caffeine, some do (yerba mate, for example). If you are sensitive to caffeine, check the label/description, or ask.

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Regarding loose tea, Adagio is a good place to start, because they offer samples of every tea they sell. Of course, there are other companies out there that sell loose tea. Here are some companies that either sell samples, or sell tea by the ounce (so you can buy a one-ounce "sample"):
Culinary Teas: sells samples of all of their teas
Enjoying Tea: sells reasonably-priced samplers
Harney and Sons Fine Tea: offers $2 samples of their loose teas (up to 5 per order)
Holy Mountain Trading Company: sells tea by the ounce
Republic of Tea: offers samples of certain teas
Royal Dynasty: offers samples of certain teas
Stash: sells samples of a few select teas
Tao of Tea: sells tea by the ounce
Ten Tea: sells samples of all of their loose teas
The Tea Table: sells tea by the ounce, and allows you to choose up to 5 samples each time you order for free or very cheap
Upton Teas: sells samples of most of their teas

Finally, these two loose tea companies sell tea in 2-ounce denominations:
TeaSource: sells tea in 2-ounce denominations
TeaVana: sells tea in 2-ounce denominations

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Below are some tips on preparing teas.

Regardless of whether you are using tea bags or loose tea, you should always make sure:
1. That your water is the right temperature (you may want to invest in a kitchen thermometer). Most green teas do best at around 180º F, while most white teas do best at around 170º F. Blacks typically do best at boiling (212º F). Oolongs vary, depending on whether they are dark (212º F) or light (180º F).
2. That your water is of good quality. If you start with bad water, you will get bad tea. If your tap water isn't very good (like most), it is recommended that you use either spring water or filtered water (PUR sells a good 3-stage filter that attaches to your faucet).

If you are willing to switch to loose teas, you should also make sure that you have a large, non-steel infuser. A large filter is important, because it allows the leaves to fully expand, imparting a better flavor. As for steel, it can impart a metallic taste, which some people don't like (if you like it, then don't worry about it).

I use Bodum's Yoyo, and I love it. You can buy it on-line, or at your local Target.

A lot of people use Adagio's ingenuiTEA with very good results (it has an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5).

If you want a tea pot, you can either use one with a basket filter, or you can use one with a filter in the spout (this keeps the leaves out of your cup). I don't think it matters what the filter is made from, since the tea only touches it for an instant on it's way to the cup (it isn't brewed touching the filter, unless you overfill the pot).

There are also tea makers out there. Most of them are very expensive, and not particularly well-designed (because they don't allow you to adjust the temperature and/or steeping time). I'm hoping that the next version of Adagio's triniTEA (due out at the beginning of the summer) will be worth the wait. We shall see.

And, finally, you can just do what I used to do: drop the tea leaves directly into the cup. When it is done, you just scoop out as many of the leaves as you can. Eating/drinking the remaining leaves won't harm you. The only problem with this method is that some teas are easily over-steeped, and the remaining leaves will cause the tea to turn bitter (although adding ice can help).

--------

That's all I can think of for now. Please let me know if you want another long-winded post.

~Yresim~
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Re: White Tea the best choice

Postby blainemotsinger » Oct 4th, '11, 11:28

In fact, new studies indicate that white tea may actually contain more caffeine than black tea.


Thats not true at all. White tea has less caffeine than all other teas (not including herbal teas [which aren't made from the same plants as green, oolong, or black tea]).

I know the comment is old, but I didn't want someone to read it and be misinformed.
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Re: White Tea the best choice

Postby Chip » Oct 4th, '11, 11:35

blainemotsinger wrote:
In fact, new studies indicate that white tea may actually contain more caffeine than black tea.


Thats not true at all. White tea has less caffeine than all other teas (not including herbal teas [which aren't made from the same plants as green, oolong, or black tea]).

I know the comment is old, but I didn't want someone to read it and be misinformed.


Welcome to the forum.

Actually, based on equal weights of dry tea leaves (and not including the potential scores of other variables), the oxidation and processing has little to do with caffeine content. If anything, I would think white tea would have possibly more. So 3 grams of white would have about the same amount of caffeine as say 3 grams of sencha ... all other things being equal.

Now volume of leaf (since white tea is so fluffy, its density is much lower than most other teas) is an entirely different story ... so a tablespoon of white tea will likely have much less caffeine than a tablespoon of say sencha which is quite dense by comparison ... all other things being equal.
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Re: White Tea the best choice

Postby AlexZorach » Oct 20th, '11, 13:44

blainemotsinger wrote:Thats not true at all. White tea has less caffeine than all other teas (not including herbal teas [which aren't made from the same plants as green, oolong, or black tea]).

I know the comment is old, but I didn't want someone to read it and be misinformed.


This is absolutely not true! Please check your facts before passing on (mis)information.

I have researched this very thoroughly and have put together a detailed article that cites scientific sources. White tea is not lower in caffeine than other types of tea! I also know this first-hand as I once had a particularly nasty drug interaction between a strongly-caffeinated white tea and an antibiotic I was taking. It's a matter of health and safety so stop passing on unsourced myths.

Here's an article I maintain:

Caffeine Content of Tea

That page gives citations to numerous studies explaining (a) that the few studies actually measuring caffeine have failed to back up the idea that white tea is lower in caffeine, and (b) that it is well-known what factors (i.e. the parts of the plant used) influence caffeine content, and that these factors vary among different types of tea, white or otherwise.

Apologies for my snarky tone; I get worked up when I see someone "correcting" someone with information that is just not true. But, to blainemotsinger, it also helps if you cite studies instead of just saying "new studies"...that's what Wikipedians call Weasel Words.
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Re:

Postby AlexZorach » Oct 20th, '11, 13:50

yresim wrote:So, just steep everything for 30 seconds first, then dump the tea, and re-steep as normal. And you should be good to go.


This is also, from my research, not true. There may be some truth in this statement when it comes to finely-broken teas, such as fannings and dust, that infuse very quickly--but with these teas, nearly all the flavor will be lost after that brief 30-second infusion.

Caffeine tends to diffuse together with flavor...otherwise tea companies would not go through expensive and involved decaffeination processes to extract as much caffeine as possible while extracting as little flavor as possible.

Nigel Melican explores this "home decaffeination myth" and other caffeine-related myths on his post CAFFEINE AND TEA: Myth and Reality, which I'd encourage everyone to read. He cites a study that totally debunked this myth...finding that, in the tea studied, only 9% of the caffeine was extracted after 30 seconds, and it took 10 minutes to extract 92% of it.
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