There’s no doubt about it: People love tea.
After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the entire world. Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water in a cup. All the teas come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis.
The differences between teas arise from processing, growing conditions, and geography.
The Camellia Sinensis plant is native to Asia, but is currently cultivated around the world in tropical and subtropical areas.
The most healthyand commonly used teas are:
The distinguishing factor that determines whether a tea plant will become white, green, oolong, or black tea is oxidation. Oxidation begins after the leaf has been plucked from the plant, and begins a process of being dried, withered, rolled, and heat treated.
All these teas also have more or less amount of caffeine.
The more processed the tea leaves, usually the less polyphenol content. Polyphenols include flavonoids.
Oolong and black teas are oxidized or fermented, so they have lower concentrations of polyphenols than green tea; but their antioxidizing power is still high.
Black teas are fully oxidized teas. It has highest amount of caffeine than any other teas. Leaves of the plant are crushed, curled, rolled, or torn and then left to oxidize before they’re dried and sold.
Black teas brew a liquor from reddish brown to dark brown with typically more robust and pronounced flavors.
Preparation of black teas requires pure water at boiling point 100 °C (212° F).
There are three major tea producing areas in India: Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri. Black teas are also available from Sikkim, an area bordering Darjeeling. Ceylon teas come from the island nation now called Sri Lanka. Other loose-leaf black tea producing countries include: Nepal, Turkey, Indonesia, Kenya and Australia.
Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.
Origins: Traditionally from China, India, and Sri Lanka (Ceylon).
All tea starts out green. The green tea process is defined by preventing oxidation.
After picking, the leaves are “fired” (rapid heating) to arrest oxidation and keep the leaf “green” for the duration of production. The taste of green tea is therefore more astringent and subtler than oolong or black tea.
Green teas are typically steeped for shorter amounts of time and at lower temperatures which will produce a lighter cup with less caffeine.
The lack of oxidation is also responsible for the very low caffeine content of green tea (only 1%). Its caffeine effect produces a nearly steady, mild high with no big peaks or plunges.
Green tea leaves are oxidized more than white tea, but less than oolong and black teas, creating a unique chemical composition of the leaf.
Green tea is therefore the perfect meditative aid: it acts as a mild stimulant, without causing insomnia or nervousness.
Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.
Preparation of green teas requires pure water at 80 °C to 90 °C (175°F to 194 °F). (Boil, then cool 3 mins)
Origins: Traditionally from India, China and Japan.
Oolong teas are roughly undergoes partial oxidation (10-90%) or are semi–oxidized, which places them mid–way between green and black teas. The leaves are withered and then rolled, often by hand. Oxidation may range from 12–85%.
This gives them the body and complexity of a black tea, with the brightness and freshness of a green tea. Oolong tea combines the health benefits of both green and black tea. It contains the full range of polyphenol antioxidants: catechins, thearubigin and theaflavin. Oolong, or semi–fermented tea contains more polyphenols than black and fewer than the less oxidized green and white teas.
The caffeine content and antioxidant level is also mid–way between that of green and black teas, making them most healthy and palatable.
Preparation of oolong teas requires pure water at 90 °C (195° F).
(Boil, then cool 2 mins)
Oolong tea is often recommended for its weight–loss properties. The polyphenols in oolong tea help to control obesity by activating the enzyme responsible for dissolving triglyceride (fatty deposits) and enhancing the function of fat metabolism.
White teas are the least processed of all teas. The leaves are picked, then slowly and methodically dried. Since the leaves are not shaped by rolling the finished product tends to be quite bulky. This tea release the least amount of caffeine of all teas.
Preparation of white teas requires pure water at 80 °C (175° F).
(Boil, then cool 3 mins)
Every year scientists are finding more and more health benefits in white tea. Up to 20% of the white tea leaf is made up of catechins. Catechins have very potent anti–oxidant and anti–microbial actions. In addition, catechins have been proven to lower cholesterol and inhibit the increase of blood pressure.
White tea helps keep your skin acne–free.White tea is widely used in beauty and cosmetic products, with the promise that its high antioxidant content will keep your skin looking young.