Almost all tea is produced from a plant called Camellia sinensis. The thousands of different varieties of teas available in the world only vary by the region where it was grown, the time of year picked, and the processing method. Each type of tea has its own characteristics including a different taste, differing health benefits and even different levels of caffeine. Herbal infusions or tisanes, sometimes called herbal tea, does not actually contain the Camellia sinensis plant.
The purest and least processed of all teas and there is no oxidation. The loose leaf tea has very little caffeine and brews a light color and flavor. White teas have more antioxidants than any other tea and are the best for skin and complexions. When preparing white or green tea, the water should be hot, but not boiling.
Suggestion: White Cinnamon Sage or White Ginger Pear
Similar to white tea as there is no oxidation. Green tea is probably the most popular tea, mainly because it is the beverage of choice in Asia and has many health benefits – including helping to maintain cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range, it is good for skin and teeth and can be used as part of your diet to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Some loose leaf green teas are scented with flowers or mixed with fruits to create scented or flavored teas. Green tea contains high levels of antioxidants and only 5% to 10% the caffeine found in one cup of coffee.
Suggestion: Green Mango Peach or Cherry Marzipan
Oolong tea, also known as wu long tea, is full-bodied with a flavorful fragrance and sweet aroma Oolong is the most difficult of the four types of tea to process and can best be described as somewhere in between green and black tea. It contains approximately 15% of the caffeine found in one cup of coffee. This tea is most often recognized as the Chinese tea served in Chinese restaurants. Oolong teas can be a healthy part of your weight loss plan.
Suggestion: Formosa Oolong
Black tea is the most consumed type of tea and is probably what you were exposed to growing up when dipping tea bags purchased at the local grocery store or enjoying a glass of ice tea. Black tea is fully oxidated, so it has approximately 20% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee. Black tea helps maintain cardiovascular function and a healthy circulatory system, as well as helping to maintain cholesterol levels.
Suggestion: Sweet Orange Spice or Bombay Chai
Herbal Tea differs from the above teas because it does not contain any leaves from the Camellia plant family, so it is sometimes referred to as a tisane. They are usually caffeine-free (except Mate tea) and most are rich in Vitamin C. Herbal teas can be broken into three categories:
1. Rooibos Teas
Rooibos Teas – Or Red Tea, is made from a South African red bush. Rooibos Tea is a healthy source of vitamins and minerals and contains antioxidants. It is caffeine free and delicious served hot or iced. Rooibos tea helps promote digestion, supports your immune system and contributes to healthy skin, teeth and bones.
Suggestion: African Solstice or Kiwi Lime Ginger
2. Mate Teas
Mate Teas – Considered the coffee lover’s favorite tea. Made from the leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant, mate tea gives the same energy as coffee without the jitters. They may also curb your appetite and contain 21 vitamins and minerals.
3. Blooming Teas
Blooming Teas – Also called artisan or flowering teas, they actually ‘bloom’ as they steep. They are hand tied by tea artists and often include some type of flavor or scent along with the beautiful designs. Romantic teas that make a great gift for your significant other.
Tea blends often have the best of both worlds since they combine more than one type of premium tea. Mixing teas in a blend is one of the best ways to get great flavor, along with health benefits.
Or make one of your own.