Different Types of Tea


All the tea that we drink comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, or the tea plant. Although one would come across different varieties of tea in the world the three main varieties are the India tea, the China tea and the hybrid tea. It is from these that the different types of tea like the green tea, the black tea, the white tea, the herbal tea and oolong tea are prepared.

Tea Bag
Modern pyramidal nylon tea bag
Green Tea: When tea leaves are picked, they generally whither and dry and when this occurs, oxidization takes place. When green tea is manufactured, it is not allowed to oxidize. The leaves are dried very quickly either in a pan or an oven to dehydrate them and then they are stored. This process retains the polyphenols catechins and the flavanoids which make drinking green tea a healthy and beneficial option. However green tea possesses a grassy taste and it loses its flavor within a year.

To brew a cup of green tea, water which is not more than 80 degrees Celsius should be poured over the tea leaves. Let the leaves steep in the water for about two to three minutes. Some of the benefits of green tea are its antioxidant properties which aids in preventing cancer, raising metabolism rate and cutting fat and even reducing the probability of heart diseases. Due to its short brewing time, green tea is stimulating.

Black Tea: This tea is stronger than any other type of tea. The caffeine content is higher in black tea as compared to the less oxidized varieties. It retains its flavor for many years. Black tea is the tea that enjoys the maximum sales in the world.

To brew a cup of black tea we need a teaspoonful of tea leaves for a cup of tea. The tea leaves are steeped in boiling water for at least three to four minutes before it is strained and served. Plain black tea without sugar contains antioxidants and is beneficial in reducing cardiovascular diseases.

Cup of White Tea
A cup of healthy (but expensive) white tea
White Tea: This is the rarest variety of tea. The leaves are picked and harvested before they are fully open and the buds still have a covering of white hairs on them. White tea undergoes the least processing and is also not fermented. It has a light and sweet flavor and contains less caffeine and more antioxidants than any other type of tea.

The ideal temperature of water for brewing white tea is 76 to 85 degrees Celsius. The leaves should be steeped in water for at least seven to eight minutes.

Herbal Tea: Tisane or ptisan is an herbal infusion. Tisane is made with any part of the plant either dried or fresh flowers, roots, seeds or leaves over which boiling water is poured. Flavored teas are prepared by adding this to regular tea like the jasmine tea of China. There are different types of herbal tea which can be consumed for medicinal purposes.

Oolong Tea: Being of Chinese origin, this tea is a cross between the popular black and healthy green varieties and the two styles commonly associated with this tea are green and amber. The uniqueness of this tea is attributed to the different manner in which its leaves are prepared and owing to this reason apart from being bereft of the leafy flavor of the green tea its taste is distinct from other types of tea as well.

The traditional Oolong tea is brewed in a special type of pot known as Gaiwan and the final sip may vary according to the length of brewing time.