Tea is the most popular drink in the world next to water. Tea can give you energy, calm you down, change your mood and can do this all while making you more healthy. Generally speaking, Tea is broken down into 5 major categories; White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea, Black Tea and Herbal Tea. Believe it or not, White, Green, Oolong and Black teas actually come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. Herbal Tea is pretty much any tea that doesn’t contain actual tea (Camellia Sinensis).
At Live Love Tea, we separate Yerba Mate, Rooibos and Chai teas into their own categories to make the shopping experience better. However, Yerba Mate and Rooibos teas generally fall into the Herbal Tea category while most Chai teas would fall under Black Tea.
So what makes all these teas different and unique? Well…
White Tea is usually younger tea leaves that are only lightly oxidized to preserve more of the leaves' natural characteristics. White tea leaves are generally steamed as opposed to being air dried, cooked in a wok or fried. This helps preserve the tea as steaming is a much more gentle process. White Tea contains some of the most antioxidants of the different tea types because of this light preservation process.
Green Tea is made in a similar fashion to White Tea but in addition to being steamed, they are usually lightly dried in a wok or open air. Green Tea is the most popular tea in Asia and has gained huge popularity in the West recently. Green Tea contains the second highest amount of antioxidants next to White Tea and has a whole bunch of other benefits like being able to increase one’s metabolism.
Oolong Tea is similar to Green Tea but is dried more and allowed to ferment more. This creates a tea with stronger flavors but fewer antioxidants. Oolong Tea is often the most critiqued tea because the flavors and aromas of Oolong show the true skill of the tea maker.
Black Tea is the most oxidized form of the tea leaf. This type of tea is generally black in color but the tea liquor it produces is more of a reddish color. For this reason, the Chinese actually refer to Black Tea as Red Tea. Black Tea contains the most caffeine out of the 4 different types of Camellia Sinensis tea. Basically, the more fermented a tea is, the more caffeine it has.
Herbal Tea generally refers to any tea that does not contain actual tea leaves. That being said you could have popular herbal teas like Chamomile Tea falling in the same category as something uncommon like Pine Needle Tea! Herbal Tea is great for people who don’t like traditional teas, people who don’t want caffeine (some herbals contain caffeine though) or people who just enjoy the flavors of different herbal teas.
Rooibos Tea comes from the Rooibos plant in South Africa and contains a whole lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds. Rooibos does not contain caffeine, which makes this tea a great choice no matter what time it is.
Chai Tea is one of the more traditional blended teas. It usually consists of Black Tea with various spices but there are also herbal versions that don't contain any Black Tea. Chai is often made with milk and is a staple in many countries. The word Chai is used in several countries and actually means Tea. So to say Chai Tea is to say Tea Tea.
Yerba Mate is a tea that is gaining in popularity. Yerba Mate comes from South America where it is drunk daily and is referred to as the "Drink of the Gods." It contains more caffeine than traditional teas and is revered for this in addition to its other benefits such as antioxidants and antiobesity properties.
No matter what types of tea you decide to drink, you can’t go wrong. They’re all good for you all the time.