“Tea tempers the spirit and harmonises the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness.”~ Lu Yu, The Classic of Tea
From its humble beginnings in Asia, Tea has gained its position as a celebrated beverage, a ceremony, a pick-me-up, a health-remedy, a comforter, and a lifestyle. With over 3,000 varieties, tea is the widely consumed beverage in the world, after water.
Tea, is indigenous to China, India, and other parts of Southeast Asia; it is currently cultivated around the world in tropical and subtropical areas. India is the world’s largest consumer of tea in the world, and the second largest producer of tea – including the world’s most popular tea varieties – like Assam tea, Darjeeling tea, Nilgiri tea.
What is “Tea”?
Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, which are either in loose leaf form or in a tea bag . All types of “Tea” comes from the leaves and buds of the tea plant Camellia sinensis.
Tea made by using leaf, fruit, flower, root of a different plant is considered an herbal tea. For example, hibiscus flowers and tulsi leaves are considered herbal teas because they do not come from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Source: Fix.com Blog
Types of Tea
Authentic Tea is classified as white tea, black tea, green tea, oolong tea and pu-erh tea, all harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Factors such as (i) the growing location, (ii) the climatic conditions, (iii) the time of harvest, (iv) and the processing methods, gives the tea leaves from the same plant their own distinct colour, aroma, flavour, and quality variations.
- White tea undergoes the least processing, followed by green tea (non-fermented) and oolong tea (partly fermented). Black tea (fermented) is made to go through an oxidation process, to which it owes a distinctive flavour. White tea is appreciated by tea connoisseurs for its unmatched subtlety, complexity and natural sweetness. It is also considered to be a far greater source of antioxidants than green tea because the tea leaves undergo minimum processing.
- Green tea is made by withering tea leaves – and then steaming, rolling and drying them. It undergoes minimal processing, and contains 80-90% catechins and flavonols (10% of total flavonoids). The infused leaf is green, and the liquor is mild, pale green or lemon-yellow. Green Tea helps with lowering cholesterol, combating atherosclerosis, treating inflammatory bowel disease, controlling diabetes, helping with weight loss, even fighting cancer.
- Black tea involves additional processing (i.e. aeration and withering). As a result, it has different levels of catechin (20–30%) and flavonoid content: theaflavins and thearubigens (potent antioxidants) represent 10% and 50–60% of total flavonoids respectively. Black tea is by far the most common type of tea produced. The infused leaf has a dark brown colour and a sweet aroma.
- Oolong tea is a partially or semi-fermented tea. A full-bodied tea with a fragrant flavour and sweet fruity aroma, it has some qualities of both black tea and green tea due to its manufacturing process. It is more suitable for people who prefer a low caffeine option.¹
- Pu’erh TEa is a fermented style of tea from the Yunnan province in China that’s divided into two styles: sheng/raw and shou/cooked. (The latter involves a process that encourages faster fermentation.) After the leaves are oxidized, a small mount of moisture is left, and the leaves are then aged for months or years. Most pu’erh is sold in a pressed cake form with the year of the tea stamped on the package. Very old and well-aged pu’erh cakes can fetch tens of thousands at auction houses. Flavor and color-wise, some brew up light while others can be dark and intensely earthy.²
- Indian Chai is made by brewing black tea with milk and mixture of aromatic Indian masala/spices- cardamom, cinnamon, ginger. It’s a popular beverage in India, with its distinctive milky smooth, sweet and intense flavour. For Indians, chai is more than just a beverage.
“Chai truly is the drink that unites India, and acts almost like social grease. Chai is more than a beverage; in fact, it is a ritual, enacted millions of times each day across the breadth of India to bring people together, to create bonds among the diversity, friends among the masses.”~Mariellen Ward, editor and publisher of Breathedreamgo Source: http://chaiwallahsofindia.com
- Iced Tea is a cold and refreshing beverage, most popular choice during summer heat. Iced tea can be brewed light or strong with any type of tea variety, sweetened or unsweetened, and spices, herbs, fruit bits like apples, strawberries, lemon zest may also be added for variety.
- Scented Teas are made by mixing the Camellia sinensis leaves with flower buds, petals, herbs or sliced fruit bits in order to infuse the tea leaves with the flavour and aroma released by flowers/herbs/fruits. This enhances the experience of tea drinking by delivering wide variety of tea blends packed with distinctive flavours and tastes for the classical types of tea.
- Flavoured Teas are made by spraying or sprinkling with flower extracts and oils (both natural and artificial) over the dry Camellia sinensis leaves for producing teas with intense tastes. The leaves are then agitated gently to make sure they are coated with the flavours.
- Blooming teas or Flowering teas, they consist of tea leaves- high quality white, green, or black tea wrapped or wound around a dried flower. When hot water is poured over them, the tea leaves unwind and the flower “blooms” in the pot or cup when it slowly opens. Because these types of teas are so intricate and showy, they are best served in clear glassware so that the “flowering” of the tea can be seen.
- Bubble Tea, also called pearl milk tea or boba milk tea. Bubble tea is a cold drink containing small tapioca balls. Usually made with a base of black or green tea, the tea is mixed with fruit or milk, and sometimes blended with ice to form a slushy drink.
- Herbal Teas are made from an infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant parts that are not part of the tea family Camellia sinensis. Also known as Tisanes, herbal infusions are primarily used for its perceived medicinal benefits. These also include rooibos, yerba mate (pronounced “matay”) and honeybush. In addition to wide spectrum of tea flavours and combinations, herbal teas make for fragrant, caffeine- free, relaxing drink. Chamomile, mint, tulsi, lavender, dried fruits and berries, jasmine, ginseng, hibiscus, ginger, and lemon grass are just some of the herbs/spices that are brewed as infusions. Herbal tea ingredients are also mixed with dry Camellia sinensis leaves to produce unique tasting tea blends- black tea with ginger, green tea with tulsi and cardamom, green tea with jasmine blossoms, yerba mate with lemongrass and spearmint, chamomile with lemon balm, etc.
“Remember that when you drink tea, you are participating in a ritual that has been practiced for thousands of years. With the sheer variety and number of teas available – at least 3,000 different variations – there is certain to be a perfect tea for you.” ~19 Lessons On Tea
Since ancient times, tea has been revered for its bountiful health benefits and medicinal properties. Tea comes in various varieties and variations, hence one can enjoy wide spectrum of flavors, unique tastes, aroma, health benefits and nutritional characteristics.
So, it isn’t surprising to learn that numerous scientific publications now attest to the health benefits of both black and green teas, recognized to help with reducing cholesterol, treating cardiovascular or degenerative diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, helping with weight loss and cancer prevention. Herbal teas, with many medicinal qualities and therapeutic virtues, can help with everything from reducing stress, inducing sleep, easing a cold and indigestion to fighting infection and nausea. Example: tulsi, chamomile, lemon grass, peppermint, ginger, etc.
Tea may not be the drink with magical powers, or the cure all elixir, but it sure is a stress relieving and a wonderfully pleasant drink.
With so many tea varieties and variations, choosing your cup of tea is a breeze. We at Rejuve Tea, strive to give you comforting and healthy herbal teas and herbal tea blends.
Pick your cup of health today!
- Medicinal and therapeutic potentialities of tea (Camellia sinensisL.) –A.B. Sharangi
- 19 Lessons On Tea