Tea Time – A Guide to the Four Basic Types of Tea

A cup of tea can help you get your morning started or aid in relaxation after a long and stressful day. You can warm up on a cold winter day with a steaming mug of your favorite tea, or you can cool down on a summer afternoon with a tall, refreshing, glass of iced tea. Not only does it taste great hot or cold, but it can also help you stay healthy.

With a variety of tea that seem to come in ever color of the rainbow and every flavor possible, walking down the tea aisle at your local grocery store can be a perplexing event. The truth of the matter is that there are basically four groups of tea and most of your favorite will fall into those categories.

  • Black Tea: The process of making Black tea is a long process that eventually results in the oxidation and fermentation of the tea leaves. This fermentation process results the darkening of the tea leaves to a deep red or black color. Black Tea is one of the more common flavored teas. Under the umbrella of black teas are some common flavors such as Darjeeling and an assortment of breakfast teas. Benefits: It is believed that black tea can help digestion, improve cholesterol, and possibly reduce tooth decay. While there is caffeine in black tea it’s not as potent your morning cup of coffee and can often give you that needed boost without the jitters.
  • Green Tea: Green tea is made from leaves that do not go through oxidization. They are picked and then steamed or pan fried to prevent any fermentation. Although it doesn’t sound extremely appetizing this popular tea is often described as tasting earthy like grass. It has a light and refreshing flavor and depending on the type, can range from sweet to a little bitter. Benefits:Green tea is credited with helping your body fight off cancer, some types of arthritis, and high cholesterol. It also can be a great boost to your immune system.
  • Oolong Tea: Oolong Tea is less oxidized than black tea but does go through some oxidation unlike green tea. Most tea drinkers describe oolong as having a earthy/grass taste similar to Green tea, however it’s slightly stronger. Benefits: While it’s not yet proven, there is some research being done into the impact oolong tea has on weight control. Besides that, oolong tea is credited with aiding digesting and cleansing the body from the inside out.
  • White Tea: White tea can be thought of the unripe fruit of the tea world. Made from young or immature leaves that have yet to undergo oxidation, white tea is probably the most expensive and rarest form of tea. Although it recently has become more available in the United States, it was originally hard to find anywhere else besides China. White tea is often said to have a smooth sweet flavor. Benefits: The flavor alone isn’t a reason why white tea is becoming so popular in the US. This tea is credited with being the healthiest form of tea because it’s so close to its natural state. Some of the benefits of white tea come from the high amount of cancer fighting anti-oxidants as well as its ability to aid your immune system in fighting off bacteria and viruses.