Types of Tea and Health Benefits

Types of Tea

 

Tea leaves from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, are picked and processed to create all the types of tea we have in the world today.  The amount of fermentation (or amount the leaves are allowed to oxidize in the air) that the leaves undergo once picked determines whether the tea will be white, green, oolong or black tea, in order of increasing fermentation.  The longer the tea has fermented, the more caffeine it has.  Tisanes/infusions (incorrectly called “herbal teas”), rooibos and mate are not “teas” because they do not come from the tea plant.  See a list of popular teas.

Popular Teas by Country/Region

White Tea

Young tea buds that are unfermented.   Very light flavor, taste almost unnoticeable to an unaccustomed palate.  Often blended with fruits and flowers for more flavour.  

 

Green Tea

Tea leaves that are unfermented.  Most health studies about tea involve green tea.

 

Oolong (or Wulong)

Tea leaves that are half-fermented.  Also known as “semi-fermented” teas.

 

Black Tea

Tea that has been fully fermented.  Often used in flavoured teas and blends.

 

 

Health Benefits of Tea

 

Tea was first used as a medicine when it was discovered in China and later exported to Europe.  And today, tea is an important part of natural, alternative medicine.  Tea has been claimed to have positive effects on depression, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, metabolism, weight loss, high cholesterol, lack of concentration,  immunity, HIV, irritable bowel syndrome, stroke and cardiovascular health.  White and green teas are believed to contain the most of these properties, as they are unfermented. Oolong teas are good for concentration and alertness, as used by Buddhist monks for meditation. Black teas are good for heart health and heart-related conditions.