From black tea to green and oolong, learn all about the different types of tea, their health benefits, flavors and aromas and more in our tea guide below!
Ever since I discovered flower teas, I decided that my daily cappuccino was no longer a healthy option and ditched coffee for good. Probably one of the hardest but best decisions I’ve made in my life. It’s changed my sleeping habits, skin, overall health and life for the better. Not only are teas healthier, but there’s also plenty of varieties and infusions to choose from! You can easily have a different type of tea to sip on every day of a month! It’s also the second most consumed beverage in the world (after water, of course!) and loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. So let’s find out what the different types of tea are and the health-promoting benefits of each!
All About the Tea
A tea is a beverage made mostly from boiling dried leaves of the plant species, camellia sinensis, in water. The color and taste of tea is based on its production process and the amount of oxidation the tea leaves are allowed to undergo. Having lesser caffeine content and way more health benefits than coffee, it’s the ideal drink. It can be had hot or iced, with or without milk and additional sweeteners like sugar and honey. Tea is also known for containing plenty of antioxidants and is used in diets and for weight loss. And the best part? There are so many different tea types, each with different health benefits. From helping you sleep at night, to waking you up and calming your nerves, there’s so much a cup of tea can do for your body!
Where does Tea Come From?
Most types of tea come from a species of evergreen shrub – camellia sinensis. Despite coming from the same plant, they still taste, look and smell different due to the differences in their manufacturing and oxidation process. From plucking and withering to rolling, oxidizing and firing, processing tea leaves is an art (and science!). They also require certain geographical and climatic conditions but the best teas are the ones made with tea leaves grown in higher altitudes. They can be sold as tea bags, cakes or loose leaf tea.
Where did Tea Originate?
Tea was discovered by a Chinese Emperor and was used as a medicinal drink in ancient China. Later, it became a recreational drink and soon spread to other Asian countries and eventually, Europe, where only the wealthy would consume it. As years passed, this drink was no longer reserved for just a high tea party or afternoon tea and all social classes began drinking it on a daily basis. And we still do it to this day!
Different Types of Tea
Based on the way they’re processed and prepared, tea can be classified into 8 different types. Read all about the different types of tea and their benefits in our tea list below!
1. White Tea
Hands down, one of my favorite types of tea out there, it’s made from wilted and unoxidized young leaves. Amongst all the different types of tea, white tea is the least processed. But the plucking method for these tea leaves have high standards and limitations, making them more expensive than other teas. And even though brewed white tea is pale yellow in color, its name comes from the white hair on the buds of the tea plant. It has a very delicate fragrance and taste and helps to lower cholesterol levels, boost cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of cancer and help with weight loss. Silver needle and white peony are two of the most popular white tea varieties.
2. Black Tea
Made from wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized leaves, black tea is the perfect morning drink. Because of the level of oxidation, it has a stringent taste. This popular tea is renowned for it’s dark color, strong flavor and various health benefits. Some of the black tea benefits are cancer prevention, increased energy, and better oral health and immune system. Assam, Darjeeling and Ceylon are some popular types of black tea.
3. Green Tea
Made from unwilted and unoxidized leaves, green tea is the healthiest tea! Green tea is completely unfermented and usually steeped. It can taste light to very bitter, depending on how long it’s steeped for. And although, its flavor is not my favorite, I make it a habit to drink it as it has many health benefits. My skin has cleared up ever since I started drinking it everyday, so it’s only a small price to pay for healthy, glowing, clear skin! Other benefits of this healthy tea are, they burn fat, improve brain function, boost heart health and help to live longer. It can also contribute to weight loss by boosting metabolism. Some of the types of green tea are Matcha and Sencha.
4. Oolong Tea
Oolong teas are made from wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized tea leaves. Due to the partial oxidation, the taste of these types of tea lies somewhere in between black and green tea. I usually drink this type of tea with some lemon juice squeezed in, for added flavor and benefits. These kinds of tea improve heart health, help prevent diabetes, lose weight and strengthen bones and teeth.
5. Herbal Tea
Herbal tea is a healthy tea made from dried flowers, fruits, spices and herbs. Because herbal teas are not made from tea leaves, they are usually not considered as traditional teas. However, apart from being absolutely delicious, they’re very beneficial too! Herbal teas also have the most types of flavors! I drink them day and night and in my personal opinion, herbal tea is the best tea in the world! Some of the popular types of herbal infusions are chamomile, ginger, peppermint, lemon, lavender, dandelion and cinnamon.
6. Yellow Tea
As a die-hard tea enthusiast, I feel disappointed to say I haven’t tried yellow tea yet. But I’ve heard great things about these types of tea. Like green tea, they are also unwilted and unoxidized but with an additional step – the tea leaves are covered with mats. This gives the leaves a yellow tinge, which in turn gives the liquor a slight sweet taste. Meng Ding Hu, Huo Shan, Huang Ya and Junshan Yinzhen are the different yellow tea types.
7. Red or Rooibos Tea
Also known as red bush tea, these types of tea are made from oxidized leaves of the rooibos plant. It’s a beautiful red when brewed and it’s best part is that it has a natural sweetness and fruitiness to it. The red tea health benefits are, it cures insomnia, hypertension, headaches and help with diabetes. Unlike other teas, it’s not made from the camellia sinensis plant. And it’s also completely caffeine-free! Rooibos Tea also has great antioxidant properties and helps with a healthier immune system.
8. Fermented Tea
Fermented teas are healthy teas that have been fermented anywhere from a couple of months to several years. These types of tea are also known as dark tea due to the color of the liquor made with fermented tea leaves. The most common type of fermented tea are Pu’erh teas. Fermented teas like kombucha have gained a lot of popularity in the last few years because of their gut-health improving benefits!
So that was our tea guide on what is tea, the different types of tea, tea names and the health benefits of tea! What are your favorite types of tea flavors? Let us know by tweeting @shilpa1ahuja!