White teas are the least processed of all teas. They release the least amount of caffeine of all teas, generally ranging from 10-15 milligrams per 8 oz cup. Almost all white teas hail from Fujian Province, China.
White teas are picked when young tea buds are tightly enclosed in new leaves. This retains a silky, downy quality in the leaves. When you first drink white tea, it seems quite tasteless – as if you were drinking hot water. However, after a while, you’ll become aware of a subtle change in your breath and at the back of your mouth. You will taste a soft, nourishing sweetness and eventually experience a similar sensation down your throat.
Preparation of white teas requires pure water at 175° F. (Boil, then cool 3 mins)
Process: White tea is the most delicate tea in flavor and aroma, as the leaves are not rolled or crushed in the processing. Camellia sinensis bushes that have large, fleshy leaf buds are used for most white teas today. Those leaf buds become Silver Needles white tea. If the next two leaves are picked and processed the same way, they yield White Peony white tea.
Origins: With flavors that are close to the heart of the tea plant, they were the favorite of the famous ’Tea Emperor’ in the 1100’s who was so preoccupied with his love of tea and his pursuit of the perfect cup, that he lost his empire to invading Mongols. White teas have since traditionally been used as a Tribute Tea to the Chinese Emperor. Long popular in China, they are just becoming well-known in America. Recent claims that white tea has less caffeine than green tea are often debatable. Caffeine content is sometimes more dependent on the part of the plant used, rather than on process.
There is also considerably less caffeine in white tea (15-20mg per serving, compared to green tea at 20-30mg, black tea at 50-80mg, and coffee at 100-200mg)