The first thing many people think of when they wake up is coffee rather than tea. However, tea has always been, and still is, a popular substitute for those who want a healthier and less caffeinated option. Essentially, tea is made from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. There are four ways of processing these leaves and each method produces one of the following types of teas:
· Black Tea: This is the most consumed out of all the teas because it has the highest amount of caffeine, but still contains some antioxidants.Black tea gets its deep color through the oxidization process.Unlike the rest of the teas, black tea is left to fully oxidize, which gives the leaves their black color.
· White Tea: On the opposite end we have the white tea, which is the least processed giving it a more fresh taste.It has the least amount of caffeine and thus, the highest amount of antioxidants.In order to prevent oxidization, white tea is immediately fired or steamed.The most popular white tea in the US, the Silver Needle, gets its name from the silver-like appearance it has due to the tiny white hairs on the leaves.
· Green Tea: This is similar to the white tea in that it is processed less and has higher antioxidants than black tea.However, like black tea, the green tea leaves are laid out for anywhere from 8 to 24 hours to allow the water to evaporate from them.The leaves are then steamed or pan friend to avoid oxidization, thus giving them a green color.
· Oolong Tea: This is the most difficult tea to process because it is only partially oxidized. To achieve this partial oxidization, the leaves are thrown into a basket after the water has evaporated from them, which gives the edges of the leaves bruises.As a result, only a portion of the enzymes are exposed to the air allowing the leaves to only be partially oxidized.The leaves are then steamed to prevent any further oxidization.Because this is such a fine process, oolong teas can vary from being closer to black teas or closer to green teas.
Do you have a favorite type of tea? Please share below what flavors/brands you love the most.