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White tea: why is it known as “the emperor's tea”?

White tea: why is it known as “the emperor's tea”?

White tea is without a doubt one of the finest teas in the world, so much so that it has earned the title of "the emperor’s tea". Prized not only for its naturally sweet, delicate and elegant taste but also for its many beneficial characteristics. We are sure that once you have discovered it, you will never want leave it again.

What is white tea?

White tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, which gives rise to green tea and black tea. Why, then has white always been considered very precious, so much so that it was originally intended, (as legend has it) only for the emperor?

White tea: why is it known as “the emperor's tea”?

White tea is native to the province of Fujian, located on the south-eastern coast of China (today it is also found in other countries such as Sri Lanka, Japan, India and Africa) and what makes it really special is it’s production method.

Beginning with how the tea is first harvested, when only the youngest shoots and leaves of the tea plant are selected, it is a very delicate process that can only be performed manually and on which ancient legends were told. One of these tells that only beautiful young virgin girls could collect the leaves of the white tea using only golden scissors!

Myths aside, white tea is very rare and valuable and is made using only the buds of the tea plant (yin zhen), or the bud and the first two tender young leaves (Pai Mu Tan). The leaves are delicately collected by hand, so as not to trigger the oxidation process thus keeping the tea pure. Following the harvest, the leaves are then left to dry in the sun. The resulting tea has a light silvery down coat that at the time of infusion, is tinged with a very pale colour and takes on a very delicate taste.

Its peculiarity and unique processing method makes white tea a very special variety, and not only for its unique aromas and flavours. In fact, recent studies have shown that, precisely because it is made with the buds and the very first leaflets, this tea has a higher concentration of all the components present in other tea leaves, including polyphenols (antioxidants) and theine.

The benefits of white tea

We have said that white tea is incredibly beneficial, but what are its properties?

In the world of tea it is not difficult to come across plenty of rich antioxidant tea varieties, and yet we can assure you that white tea is very rich indeed! This results in numerous benefits to the health of our skin, as antioxidants counteract the free radicals responsible for the ageing of cells.

Rich in vitamins E and C, white tea is also often introduced into low-calorie diets, as it helps to stimulate the metabolism.

But it does not end here because this tea also gives us a good dose of energy, while relaxing the body and the mind. In fact, theanine is an amino acid present in tea that relaxes and gives a feeling of physical and mental well-being. And since, as we said, white tea has a higher concentration of tea components, it is a great help to keep a high level of concentration while contemporaneously relaxing our bodies.

Finally let us not forget another bit of excellent news! White tea is naturally sweet so you can say goodbye to sugar and all those other artificial sweeteners and enjoy the soft taste and the delicious aroma of this tea in its purity.

How to drink white tea

Each of the particularities of white tea strike our senses at the moment of tasting. At first glance we notice its colour that contrary to what the name suggests, is a pale yellow. Delicate and intriguing aromas and flavours are released into our noses and onto our palates at the first sip, and to cap it you can drink white tea at any time of day.

White tea: why is it known as “the emperor's tea”?

When to drink white tea

Every tea has its ideal moment. Yin Zhen tea, for example, is the most delicate of white teas. Produced only with young buds, it is advisable to taste it in its purity, far from mealtimes. A calming tea, it is ideal for moments of relaxation and meditation during a busy day.

Because Pai Mu Tan is produced using a bud and the first two still very young leaves, it has a slightly more marked taste and is delicious to drink alone, but also with some delicate foods, such as salads, simple savoury muffins or shortbreads.

Finally, our most important advice: do savour white tea in its purity, without adding sugar or milk. This variety is so precious and unique it is already perfect as it is!

Where to buy white tea

From Babingtons, the oldest teahouse in Italy, every variety of tea is an incredible world to discover. This is why within del our online shop and our Tearooms in Piazza di Spagna you will find a vast assortment of splendid blends that explore the infinite nuances of tea. With our white teas we have created two really intriguing blends, enriching it with some fabulous ingredients.

Arrivederci Roma

This fragrant blend is part of a very important line of teas for Babingtons: the 7 Teas of Rome. A fabulous selection of luxurious teas created to pay homage to tea and to Rome.

How have we done this? Each of the seven teas in the line was created by taking inspiration from a myth, a hidden glimpse or a place that makes the eternal city unique. But above all, using exclusively high quality tea with clear traceability, 100% pure essential oils and ingredients of the highest quality. An exciting journey that we are happy to have undertaken and that distinguishes us from anyone else in the world!

White tea: why is it known as “the emperor's tea”?

Arrivederci Roma - Airtight Tin

€ 23.00 VAT included
€ 20.91 + VAT

Fresh, citrussy, delicate. A fantastic blend of white Pai Mu Tan Chinese tea scented naturally with lemongrass, lemon zest, apple, pineapple and lavender to celebrate the Trevi Fountain. A simple wish to return to Rome, to Babingtons one day.

How to prepare our Arrivederci Roma white tea? Use 2-3 g for 200 ml of water brought to 90°. Leave to infuse for 1-2 minutes and drink in its purity.

White Passion

White Passion is one of our most elegant and delicate blends. A wonderful infusion dedicated to all dreamers, in which we have enriched the delicious Pai Mu Tan with natural ingredients of fruit and flowers: pieces of pineapple, chamomile petals, natural flavours of peach, pear and almond.

White tea: why is it known as “the emperor's tea”?

Royal White Passion Tea - Airtight Tin

€ 31.00 VAT included
€ 28.18 + VAT

A wonderful, refreshing Pai Mu Tan scented with pear, peach and exotic fruit. The white tea is a perfect base for this light, delicate blend.

How to prepare our White Passion white tea? Use 2-3 g of product for 200 ml of water brought to 95°. Leave to infuse for 1-2 minutes and drink in its purity.

Wouldn’t you just love a cup of our wonderful white tea?