Ever since tea was first discovered in 2737 BC by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong, people have been drinking derivations of this beverage for many different reasons. Some people drink it because they enjoy the taste, while others drink it because of the many medicinal properties associated with tea. Although there are many different types of teas, they actually all come from the same plant. The differences in color and taste are due to the way the tea leaves are treated.

In addition, teas will taste different depending on when the leaves are harvested, meaning no two teas are really ever the same, even if they are called by the same name. Due to the different types of tea available, it could be beneficial to learn what makes them different so the best types of tea can be chosen for a specific purpose.

Types of Tea : White Tea

Types of Tea white teaOf all the types of tea available, white tea is the least treated, undergoing just two processes before it is ready to brew. First, the leaves and buds of the tea plant are withered at room temperature for several hours. Then, they are dried by a roasting process until 95 percent of their moisture is removed. Due to the fact that white tea is not treated as heavily as other types of tea, it retains the most vitamins, antioxidants and polyphenols out of all the teas available for consumption today. White tea is typically very pale in color and has a delicate flavor that is favored by tea connoisseurs.

Silver Needle white tea and Snow Geisha white tea are two of the best types of tea available today. Silver Needle comes from handpicked buds that can only be harvested two days every year. Not only is it consumed, but it is also popular for bathing and skin treatments. White tea is often mixed with scented or flavored tea to create brand new blends.

Types of Tea : Green Tea

types of tea green teaGreen tea is often considered one of the best types of teas because it is full of antioxidants and is thought to promote good health in numerous ways, including the prevention of specific cancers; the reduction in risk for stroke, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and cardiovascular disease; weight loss and more. The most popular type of tea in the world thanks to its prevalence in China and Japan, green tea is not fermented. Its tea leaves are quickly heated to keep the leaves from being fermented. They are then dried in metal pans to allow the moisture in the leaves to evaporate until less than five percent remains. Once dry, green tea leaves are usually rolled again before they are ready to be brewed.

Of all the types of tea in the world today, green tea was discovered first. It was first consumed in China in 2737 and was in widespread use by the 15th century. Some of the best types of tea, including Mist Green tea, Dragonwell Green tea and Emperor’s Clouds green tea are still produced in several regions of China today. Other types of green tea that are very popular are Gyokuro from Japan and Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls.

Types of Tea : Oolong Tea

Oolong_TeaThis kind of tea is sometimes referred to as “semi-fermented” tea because the fermentation process does not continue until the end. The oolong leaves are partially withered in sunlight and then shaken in baskets to release various enzymes and oils. The leaves are then partially fermented, with the length of time varying depending on how the finished product is supposed to taste. For instance a long fermentation time will give the tea a nutty flavor, while a short fermentation time will give it a lighter flavor more in line with green tea.

Oolong tea originated during the 16th century in the Wuyi Mountains of the Fujian province in China. The best type of oolong tea is Money Picked oolong tea, which was named by Buddhist monks who taught monkeys to pick the youngest leaves from the tops of wild tea trees. These leaves are considered the best for making oolong tea. Four Seasons oolong tea and Maharaja Chai oolong tea are two other teas that get top marks in the oolong category.

Many people believe oolong tea will assist with weight loss because it activates an enzyme that is known to dissolve triglycerides. According to one study, women who consumed oolong tea burned more calories over a 120 minute time frame than women who consumed only water.

Types of Tea : Black Tea

types of tea black teaAccording to legend, black tea became popular after green tea leaves on their way from China to Britain fermented and the British brewed them anyway. They enjoyed the taste and asked China to send them more. Black tea is the most widely available tea in the world and not only contains the most caffeine, but also provides several health benefits including lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of stroke.

Black tea begins with the withering phase, which allows the leaves to lose 50 percent of their water content. Then, the leaves are rolled, which causes the cells to release enzymes that begin the fermentation process. Once this process is complete, the tea is roasted before it becomes ready for brewing. Due to its relative bitterness, people who consume black tea often add sugar or milk to the tea to soften its flavor.

Some of the most popular types of tea in the world are the Golden Monkey black tea, the Black Dragon Pearl black tea and Earl Gray black tea. This kind of tea is excellent for flavoring, so many flavored teas are derivatives of black tea. Black tea, as with other types of tea, can be enjoyed hot or iced.

Types of Tea : Pu-Erh Tea

This type of tea, originating from the Chinese province Yunnan, is unique because of its fermentation process. The leaves of pu-erh tea are fermented in caves for as long as 60 years. Rather than oxidation being responsible for the fermentation, bacteria are the key to pu-erh tea. The bacteria combined with the dampness of the caves give this tea a slightly moldy, earthy flavor.

Types of Tea : Herbal, Rooibos and Yerba Mate Teas

Although these types of tea are referred to as “tea,” they are actually teas because they do not originate from the Camellia sinensis tea plant. Herbal teas are actually made from herbs, dried fruits or flowers. They are often combined with real tea leaves to create unique brews designed for different medicinal purposes.

Rooibos and Yerba Mate teas are also not actually teas because they do not come from the traditional tea plant. Rooibos tea comes from the South African Red Bush and yerba mate comes from the South American yerba mate plant. Both of these different types of tea can be combined with other herbal teas to make flavorful concoctions that can have many different wellness properties.

Tea has long been a favorite beverage for many cultures all over the world. With the various ways tea makers are combining the different types of tea, the drink will likely continue to be popular with cultures yet to come.