Tea is a hot aromatic beverage that always seems to soothe the soul. According to Sheldon Cooper, social etiquette states that if one of your friends is upset, you should offer them a hot beverage, like tea out of courtesy. I did not grow up with tea, so as a kid, I thought there was only one kind, black, and it did not taste good to me. But, as an adult, I’ve learned to appreciate the health benefits of herbal teas and I also learned there are actually six different kinds of tea, along with numerous varieties.
I also learned that loose tea is better than the convenient little bags of tea. The leaves used in classic teabags are actually the low-grade fannings and dust that break off from the whole tea leaves. This is a big compromise in the quality of the tea you drink. Whole loose tea leaves offer you freshness, essential oils, more aroma, flavor, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. I get that we all live busy lives, but I would rather drink quality tea leaves than its slough.
Black Tea is a fermented tea with a strong flavor profile, moderate amounts of caffeine compared to coffee, but high amounts compared to other teas. It oxidizes the quickest of all teas; as soon as the leaves are picked they start wilting. You would brew black tea at the highest temperature, but the higher the temps, the bitter the flavor. A big cup is great if you need to perk up in the afternoon.
Oolong tea is partially fermented or oxidized and made from the Camellia sinensis plant. It has a lovely fragrant profile and it’s noted for several health benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants and vital minerals like carotin, copper, calcium, manganese and selenium and vitamins A, B, C, E and K. It’s used for numerous conditions like improving mental alertness, obesity, tooth decay, heart disease, cancer and many more.
Green tea is well recognized for being the healthiest tea in the world. It’s also made from the Camellia sinensis plant but has not gone through any oxidation or withering. It’s brimming with antioxidants and powerful nutrients. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties and its polyphenols reduce inflammation and fight cancer. Green tea improves brain function, burns fat, reduces DNA damage, lowers risk of Type II diabetes and heart disease, lowers blood pressure, depression and so much more.
Yellow tea is new to me, I never heard of it. This obscure tea is said to be similar to green tea, but with a grassy flavor profile. It’s classed in the same category as white tea which is slightly oxidized. It’s grown in isolated areas in China and apparently, there are only three kinds that have survived over the years. Benefits include anti-aging and longevity properties, weight loss, stronger teeth and bones, lowers risk of stroke, liver health, anti-cancer, improves mental cognition and more.
White Tea is the most delicate of all and least oxidized and processed. The youngest shoots from the tea plant are used to make this tea. It’s suggested that it be brewed at low temperatures and steeped for a short time. The most popular types of white tea are Silver Needle and White Peony. Benefits include anti-aging properties, teeth health, weight loss, acne and skincare, improves hair health, memory and mental alertness, digestion, beneficial for liver and kidneys health and the list continues.
Pu’erh Tea (poo-air) is another tea that I never heard of. It comes from the Yunnan province in China and it’s the most oxidized tea. Just like wine, it’s often aged and improves with age. It too has many health benefits, weight loss, digestion, blood cleansing, stress reduction, improved sleep, lowers cholesterol, reduces heart disease, cancer prevention and boost energy to name a few.
So next a friend comes over, be gracious and serve them a quality tea that has many health benefits.