Types of Tea

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There are many different types of coffee and many people are aware with what these are. However not everyone is aware of the different types of tea, how they are made, or how to make their own unique ‘blends’. Here we will look at the different kinds of tea available and why each type is unique.

The Types of Tea

The main types of tea that everyone knows are ‘black tea’ and ‘green tea’. Black tea is the kind that most of us in the West drink and is by far the most popular form the world over – accounting for over 70% of teas. Both types of tea however are made from the same plant, namely the camellia senesis. The difference between them however is that the black tea has been fermented which results in a bitter and stronger taste as well as more caffeine. On top of this however there are also different preparations of tea, different variations and other hot drinks classed as ‘tea’ that don’t actually use the same plant at all.

Here we will look at each type in a little more detail:

Black Tea

Black tea is the most popular tea in the world for its strong taste and its high amount of caffeine (which is great for keeping you awake and focussed while you’re working or first thing in the morning). There are many different well-known brands of tea such as Twinings, Earl Gray, Typhoo, PG Tips and Tetleys. This is because they have all been fermented for different lengths, but also because the region that the camellia senesis plant is harvested from can also affect the taste much like wine resulting in lots of varying and unique types of tea. Across the world people also drink their tea differently and mixed in different ways. For instance in most of the West it is drunk with milk and some sugar, while in much of Eastern Europe it is enjoyed with a slice of lemon which adds zest to make it even more refreshing.

Green Tea

Green tea is so named because without the fermentation process it retains its natural hue. This also gives it a slightly more ‘grassy’ and ‘earthy’ flavour, but this and the milder strength means that it does not really go well with milk. The plus side though is that the smaller amount of caffeine means that it is less addicting and that it is less likely to cause jitters, headaches and sleeping problems that some people find. This then makes tea quite a healthy drink and means that you can benefit more from some of the other benefits such as the antioxidant properties that help to protect your cells from the free radicals that can cause ageing and cancer. Additionally tea can cause thermogenesis which increases the metabolism resulting in more fat burning and weight loss.

Oolong Tea

The oddly named oolong tea is a slightly lesser known type of tea that sits between green tea and black tea as a ‘half way house’ that has been partially fermented. This results in less of the grassy taste of green tea that some people don’t like, but at the same time isn’t quite as strong as black tea.

Herbal/Fruit Teas

Herbal and fruit teas are teas that do not come from the same camellia senesis plant. These use other herbs and fruits instead and that means that they generally do not include caffeine at all making them perfect for those who wish to only drink caffeine-free brews. There are many popular types of herbal tea many of which have a range of different benefits (depending on the herb). Mint tea for instance is highly refreshing, while camomile is very comforting and often used by those who are feeling unwell to settle their stomach and help them feel better.

Your Own Tea Blend

Of course it is also possible to make many of your own blends of tea by mixing different herbs and fruits with or without caffeine. To do this you will simply need to use dried herbs that are crushed and these can be bought pre-prepared from shops or grown and dried in your garden yourself. When choosing your herbs and fruits for your tea blend simply base it on smell and select the smells that appeal to you and you think you would enjoy in a cup of tea. Place them in a tea ball and this will hold them together and allow the flavours to seep into the drink just as they would with a regular tea bag.

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Kathryn Parry

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