Spilling the Tea: Your Guide to Navigating Different Types of Tea
Every year, people around the world drink 5.5 million tons of tea, and that number is growing. There are many reasons to drink tea. New research about the health benefits of tea is one reason to start sipping.
There are many different types of tea though, and each has different benefits. If you’re not sure if you want a black tea or green, or if you should be drinking herbal tea, this article is for you.
A Rainbow of Types of Tea
Most teas come from a shrub called camellia sinensis. Growing circumstances, such as a hot summer, can change the qualities of the plant’s leaves. That allows for different flavors to come through.
The biggest differentiator between tea types is how the leaves get processed. The processing is what determines whether you end up with a green tea or a white tea.
The different processes yield several different types of tea:
- Black tea
- Green tea
- White tea
- Yellow tea
- Oolong tea
- Pu’erh tea
Once picked, tea leaves begin to oxidize. Heating the leaves stops oxidization.
Green and yellow tea leaves are heated as soon as they’re picked to stop oxidization. Yellow teas are also wrapped before drying, which is a difference between green and yellow teas.
Oolong and black teas, on the other hand, are allowed to dry and oxidize. Oolong teas are only partially oxidized. Pur’eh is a black tea that is allowed to ferment.
White teas don’t undergo oxidization, but are usually processed from leaf buds.
Popular Tea Types
Most popular teas can be slotted into one of these six kinds of tea. Chai, for example, is a type of black tea. The same is true of Earl Grey tea.
A matcha tea, on the other hand, is one of the types of green tea. Matcha is notable for being the only type of tea where the leaves are ground up and used as a fine powder. That’s what gives it such a distinctive flavor.
Teas like Earl Grey and chai add infusions. Early Grey infuses bergamot into black tea leaves. Chai uses a mix of spices, including cardamom and ginger.
Other types of black tea get their distinctive flavors based on the varietal of the camellia sinensis plant.
The growing regions also plays an important role. Darjeerling tea, for example, is so named for the region of India it’s grown in. The weather, soil, and more influence the flavor profile of the tea.
What about Herbal Teas?
When people say “tea,” most are referring to a hot beverage brewed from the leaves of camellia sinensis plants. Many other plants can be added to hot water to produce a similar drink. For example, adding mint leaves to hot water will give you mint tea.
While most types of herbal tea aren’t “true” teas, they are very popular for a variety of reasons. Some teas, like chamomile tea, will help you relax and get some sleep. Ginger helps settle stomach troubles.
If you’re having health troubles or trying a new medication with a prescription plan, adding a cup of herbal tea to your routine could be a good idea.
Make Tea Part of Your Lifestyle
Tea is a drink with plenty of health benefits. Best of all, it’s easy to relax and enjoy.
Looking for more tips on a healthier, more balanced lifestyle? We have plenty for you to check out.