16. June 2010 15:06
Tea is delicious and healthful, but there are so many different kinds it can be difficult to navigate through them to choose the right tea for you. Teas have thousands of different varieties and flavors, and the health benefits vary also among the types of teas.
Most teas today are blends, because pure tea is rarely ever the same. Oolong tea, for example, will vary from being very close to a black tea, to being very similar to green tea, depending on how long the leaves are left to oxidize. Teas will also vary depending on the weather, climate, where they were grown, altitudes, and so on. There are many factors that can change the flavor of a tea.
Most teas that are widely available in grocery stores and online stores today are tea blends. A common reason to blend tea is to blend higher with lower quality to price the tea at the higher quality level. But the other main reason to blend teas is to create a new, consistent flavor.
Where Tea Comes From
All teas come from the Camellia sinesis plant, which may be surprising considering that there are thousands of varieties of teas. But depending on where the plant is growing, the altitude, weather, climate, and so on, the plant is affected differently. The processing of the tea leaves also affects the variety and flavor of the tea. The tea plants today are grown to about three feet and then harvested; though in the distant past tea plants would grow to be much, much taller. After the tea leaves are processed they are kept protected from air and sunlight so that they maintain their flavor and aroma.
Tea is produced by over twenty-five different countries in the world today, which of course include the main producers: India, China, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Nepal. There are four main types, or varieties, of tea, and they are: white, black, green, and oolong. But among these there are thousands of varieties. These teas all come from the same plant, surprisingly enough, but they vary based on the different climates and altitudes of where they were grown.
The Different Types
But among the four main types the differences depend also on the processing. Black tea is oxidized more than the other types and has a much higher level of caffeine. White tea is the least fermented of all the types. Green tea is sweet with an almost plant-like taste. Oolong varies between being more like black tea or more like green tea, depending on the process.
Green tea has many health benefits. It’s almost like magic. It helps with reducing inflammation, even with keeping teeth healthy. It can improve heart health and has been shown to help lower cholesterol. It can even help prevent or reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. It can help fight off diseases and help prevent cancer, and it can also help boost your energy and metabolism. Teas are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. It’s delicious and healthy. Drink up!