Wintertime is tea time and the perfect time to try the many varieties of teas available today. After water, tea is the number one most consumed beverage in the world, and for good reason. All types of teas provide many health benefits, and their wide array of flavors allow them to be perfect at any time of day. If you want to explore the world of tea, these 7 types of teas will make great additions to your daily diet.
1. Black Tea
Black tea is the most popular type of tea. It contains about half as much caffeine as coffee and is available in an extensive variety of styles. The reason the leaves are darker than other types of tea is that they are air-dried and allowed to darken due to exposure to oxygen. Scientists believe this process helps black tea develop some of its beneficial properties. All true teas, that is teas made from the Camellia senensis plant, have antioxidants, but black tea contains one type of antioxidant that others don’t: theaflavins. Black tea has been shown to improve heart health, reduce stroke risk, lower blood sugar levels, reduce risk for some types of cancer, lessen the risk of death from all causes, and improve focus. These are 6 fantastic reasons to sip a cup of tea. Popular types of black tea in the U.S. are Earl Grey, English and Irish Breakfast, Assam, and Darjeeling. Chai is made with black tea as well.
2. Green Tea
Green Tea leaves also come from the Camellia sinensis plant, but they are not allowed to oxidize at all. Therefore, green tea contains a higher amount of antioxidants than black tea. Some research shows that it increases metabolism and positively affects liver disorders and Type-2 diabetes, as well as providing all the benefits of black tea. Matcha, a type of tea that has become popular in the United States in latte form, is a type of Japanese green tea powder. It is more beneficial to consume because rather than steeping and discarding the leaves, you consume the whole leaf as the powder is whisked into hot water or milk.
3. White Tea
White tea comes from the same type of plants as black and green teas, but the leaves are harvested before the buds fully open, and they have delicate white hairs on them, which is why they are called white teas. Silver Needle white tea uses only the buds and White Peony uses a mixture of buds and young leaves. They are the least processed types of teas, and they have the lowest caffeine content.
4. Purple Tea
Purple tea is more recent to the tea market. It
originates in Kenya, and it is also a true tea. Its purple color comes from the
presence of anthocyanins, which are purple, blue, and red pigments found in
fruits and vegetables. In addition to benefitting the heart like other teas,
thanks to their anthocyanins, purple teas can help lower blood pressure and
help prevent neurological diseases.
5. Oolong Tea
Oolong tea falls into the tea spectrum between green and black teas. It is fermented longer than green tea but less than black. Depending on how long they are allowed to oxidize, they can seem more like green teas or more like black teas. The leaves are traditionally rolled lengthwise or into balls to help express their oils and enhance their flavors. Oolong tea contains all the benefits of other true teas.
6. Pu-erh Tea
Pu-erh tea is another type of true tea that is microbially fermented after it is dried and rolled, which allows it to darken and change flavor. Most types of Pu-erh teas are not allowed to oxidize like black tea. Pu-erh tea is made from a particular larger-leaf strain of the tea plant called Dayeh. Because of the fermentation process, Pu-erh tea develops lovastatin, a chemical used in prescription drugs to lower cholesterol. It also aids in digestion. Pu-erh can taste earthy, like mushrooms, so some tea merchants recommend trying flavored varieties if you are new to Pu-erh.
7. Herbal Tea or Tisanes
Herbal tea or tisanes are not real teas in the sense
that they can be made from any other plant besides Camellia sinensis, but they
are brewed like teas. Many of them are caffeine-free, so they can be perfect for helping you relax at the end of a long day. The list of benefits of
herbal teas are endless, depending on the plants used to make them.