Tea is a universally enjoyed beverage and the second most consumed drink worldwide, trailing only after water. It’s hard to imagine a world without tea, with its countless types, varieties, and blends, each offering unique flavors and aromas. The benefits of tea that deserves mentioning is the “true tea,” which comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. This plant alone has five primary types: Green, Black, Oolong, White, and Pu-erh tea. These differ mainly in their processing methods and the level of oxidation they undergo.
Green tea, hailed for its health benefits, is minimally oxidized, preserving its green hue and fresh flavor. Its production begins by heating the leaves soon after harvesting to deactivate enzymes and prevent oxidation. The tea leaves are then rolled to shape them and finally dried.
Green teas can be further categorized based on their region, flavor profiles, and methods used to dry the leaves. Notable green teas include Sencha, Matcha, and Genmaicha from Japan, and Longjing, Bi Luo Chun, and Mao Jian from China. Sencha, the most popular in Japan, has a delicate, slightly sweet, grassy flavor. Matcha, used in traditional tea ceremonies, is ground to a fine powder with a more pungent, somewhat bitter taste.
Black tea, or “red tea” in China, is the most commonly consumed type globally. It’s fully oxidized, which gives it a darker color and robust, malty flavor. Black teas are produced by withering the leaves to reduce moisture, rolling to release enzymes, and then allowing them to fully oxidize before firing (drying). Assam and Darjeeling from India, Ceylon from Sri Lanka, and Keemun from China are among the most famous black teas. Assam offers a bold, malty flavor, while Darjeeling is often termed the “Champagne of Teas” for its delicate, fruity, and floral notes.
Out of all the types of tea, white tea undergoes the least amount of processing. It’s often made from young tea leaves and buds, plucked and allowed to wither in natural sunlight. The name “white tea” comes from the white, fuzzy hairs on the unopened tea leaf buds. Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle) and Bai Mu Dan (White Peony) are renowned white teas from China. Silver Needle, made exclusively from tea buds, has a delicate, sweet, and floral flavor with a hint of creaminess.
Oolong tea, also known as “Black Dragon,” is semi-oxidized, making it a middle ground between green and black tea. It involves complex steps, including withering, rolling, partial oxidation, and firing. The oxidation level can range from 10% to 85%, contributing to a wide array of flavors and aromas. Famous oolongs include Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy), Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) from China, and Dong Ding and Ali Shan from Taiwan. Iron Goddess of Mercy has a floral, slightly creamy flavor, while Da Hong Pao offers a rich, roasted flavor profile.
Dark Tea (Puerh)
Dark teas undergo a unique fermentation and aging process. The most famous dark tea is Puerh from Yunnan, China. Puerh teas can be raw (Sheng) or cooked (Shu), with the latter undergoing an additional wet fermentation step. Sheng Puerh can be stored and aged for many years, even decades. It starts with a somewhat astringent flavor that mellows and gains complexity over time. On the other hand, Shu Puerh has a more accessible, earthy flavor right from the start due to accelerated fermentation.
Many herbal brews fall under the umbrella of tea. Mint, chamomile, and yerba mate are three common types of herbal tea. The category is vast because each herbal tea is as distinctive as the blend or ingredients used. The benefits of herbal teas should be noticed too. Herbal teas, made from various herbs, spices, and other plant materials, offer unique health benefits. For example, chamomile tea is understood for its calming effects and may aid sleep, while peppermint tea is often used to ease digestion. Hibiscus tea has been linked to lower blood pressure.
Understanding the many types of tea can enhance your appreciation for this ancient beverage. AKI Supplies is a big supplier that sells various teas, such as Assam Black Tea, Cha Thai, Thai Tea, and Jasmine Green.
What are the Potential Benefits of Tea?
Tea, a widely consumed beverage second only to water, is revered for its diversity in flavor and its extensive health benefits. Cultivated in various parts of the world, the types of tea are as plentiful as the benefits they bestow. Let’s know their benefits.
Rich source of antioxidants
The first and most acknowledged benefit of tea is its rich source of antioxidants. These natural compounds help the body fight against free radicals, and unstable molecules that can hurt cells and contribute to aging and illnesses, including cancer. Green tea is exceptionally high in a group of powerful antioxidants known as catechins.
In addition to being a rich source of antioxidants, tea is known for its heart-healthy benefits. Black and green tea have been shown to decrease cholesterol levels, improve blood vessel function, and lower blood pressure, which may help reduce the danger of heart disease. Drinking tea is related to controlling the risk of cardiovascular disease and is more suitable overall health of blood vessels.
Tea’s beneficial effects extend to cognitive health as well. Many studies have suggested that the bioactive components in tea, like catechins and theanine, can protect the brain from neurodegeneration and reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Additionally, the caffeine in tea, coupled with theanine, enhances brain function, improving alertness, focus, and mood, making tea an excellent beverage for cognitive health.
The potential benefits of tea also encompass weight loss and diabetes management. Green tea has been shown to enhance metabolic rate and fat oxidation, contributing to weight loss. It can also support controlling blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that black tea could help reduce the after-meal spike in glucose, helping maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Tea is more than a soothing, versatile beverage. Its health benefits, ranging from disease precluding to cognitive enhancement and gut health promotion, make it a valuable addition to a healthy diet. While more research is needed to fully understand all the benefits and potential uses of the various types of tea, current studies suggest that incorporating this ancient beverage into your daily routine can support overall health and wellness.
Q1) Who Invented Tea?
The story of tea starts in China. Legend has it that in 2737 BC, while Chinese emperor Shen Nung was resting under a tree and his attendant was boiling water, some leaves from the tree were blown into the drinking water. Shen Nung, a well-known herbalist, tried the unintentionally made brew.
Q2) Who Named Tea?
One must wonder what came before the word “cha” or “tea”. Since tea was first discovered in China, it was called “the” pronounced “Tay.” Because of the Dutch, this word changed to “tea” to the world. In the 1600s, the Dutch were a major player in international trade.
Q3) What Kind of Tea is Popular?
Black tea is the most famous and prevalent tea in the world. Black tea is a popular beverage that can be found in many households. There are several kinds of black tea in the market, but Ceylon tea is widely regarded as one of the finest brews.
Q4) What is the Most Expensive Tea in the World?
Priced around a whopping $1.2 million, Da-Hong Pao tea is the priciest tea in the entire world. This ultra-luxurious tea is declared a national treasure for its rarity.