Types of tea

Types of Tea

The are five major categories of tea. White, green, Oolong-style (brown), and black teas come from the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis. Herbal teas are made from herbs, spices, fruits, flowers, and bark, and contain no tea leaves. Similar to wine varieties, sometimes the name of a tea indicates the region in which it is grown, which affects it’s flavor. Examples of these names would be: Ceylon, Darjeeling, Assam, Lapsang Suchong. Some teas, such as Jasmine, and Earl Gray, are tea leaves with added flavors. Orange Pekoe does not refer to adding orange flavor to the tea, but rather refers to the size of the leaf and it’s grade.

Green tea is made from tea leaves which are steamed or pan-fried to prevent fermentation (oxidization). This gives it a delicate flavor. Green tea is very high in anti-oxidants and studies have shown it prevents tooth decay and gum disease. Green teas are particularly characteristic of Japan.

White tea is grown in the Fujian region of Eastern China. White tea contains the white buds of the tea plant, and like green tea it is unfermented and has a delicate flavor. White tea has a very pale color when brewed.

Oolong-style (brown) teas are teas that have been semi-fermented, meaning the leaves are slightly oxidized and turn brown in color.

Black teas are fully fermented tea leaves. Darjeeling, Russian Black Tea, Lapsang Suchong, and English Breakfast, are examples of fully fermented tea. Darjeeling has a mild flavor, and breakfast teas, Russian teas and Lapsang Suchong have a strong taste and are very stimulating.

All teas contain polyphenols, though black teas contain less polyphenols than other varieties. Polyphenols are a type of anti-oxidant that inhibits inflamation and may discourage the occurrence of heart disease, tumors, and some of the effects of aging.

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