Updated: Dec 15, 2022
Tea is an aromatic beverage produced by steeping in freshly boiled water the young leaves and leaf buds of the Camellia Sinensis, also referred to as the tea plant (1). All types of tea—green, black, oolong, and white—are produced from the Camellia Sinensis plant using different methods. These methods are used to extract various components, including polyphenols, alkaloids (caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine), amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, chlorophyll, volatile organic compounds (chemicals that readily produce vapors and contribute to the aroma of tea), minerals, and trace elements for their particular health benefits (2). Camellia Sinensis Assamica is a larger-leafed varietal of the tea plant typically used to produce black tea. Camellia Sinensis Assamica originated from the Assam district of India. It grows in warm, moist climates and is prolific in sub-tropical forests. The Camellia Sinensis is a smaller-leafed variety native to China typically used to make green and white teas. It evolved as a shrub growing in sunny regions with drier, cooler climates. It thrives in mountainous areas because it has a high tolerance for cold (3).
Tea is typically processed in two ways--orthodox or non-orthodox, often referred to as Crush-Tear-Curl or CTC. Each processing method produces a very different final tea product.
The orthodox method has four sub-methods depending on the intended final product. The orthodox processing method creates various styles of loose-leaf tea, including white, green, oolong, and black. The whole leaf method uses a process that preserves the integrity and flavor of the entire tea leaf throughout all stages of production. The Rolled & Shaped for Loose Leaf Tea Method is when whole tea leaves are rolled or shaped into different sizes and styles depending on the tea cultivated. The Artisan Method is oxidized and dried during the production process. It can significantly vary the result of a tea’s final appearance, aroma, and flavor by how the tea leaf is shaped. The Complex Flavor Method takes longer but results in an attractive whole-leaf tea with complex flavor and aroma (4).
On the contrary, the non-orthodox method, also known as Crush-Tear-Curl, or CTC, also has four sub-methods. The non-orthodox way is mainly a black tea production process because oxidation starts quickly as the leaves are shredded. The Shredded Leaf Method yields small, intentionally shredded pieces of tea leaf shaped into granular pellets. The Made for Commercial Tea Bags Method was initially designed to produce a substantial, full-bodied black tea packaged in traditional tea bags and stand up to the added milk and sugar in a brewed cup. The Machine Method was created to eliminate some of the labor-intensive steps of the orthodox artisan method to speed up time to market for black tea production. The One-Dimensional Flavor Method cannot produce a wide range of teas and tea flavors. Some green teas can be made in this method, but white and oolong teas cannot. These processed leaves are highly oxidized, and they start losing their essential oils immediately. Therefore, subtle nuances in aroma and flavor cannot be controlled, creating a final tea product with a one-dimensional profile (4).
Despite dozens of tea varieties found in the store and even online, many can't differentiate the many types and their medicinal purposes. Some people consume tea because they like the taste, while others consume it for the therapeutic properties they retain. Unfortunately, too much can be detrimental to your kidneys. Tea, especially black tea, is full of oxalic acid, which is a compound found naturally in many foods and, when taken in excess, can deposit into your kidneys and interfere with the process of removing waste from the blood, even resulting in kidney stones (5).
Types of Teas & Their Benefits
Peppermint Tea (order here)
Peppermint, also known as Mentha piperita, is a part of the mint family known as Lamiaceae and is a hybrid between Watermint (Mentha aquatica) and Spearmint (Mentha spicita) (6). Peppermint can grow up to three feet tall and two feet wide at maturity, typically with smooth, red stems with broad and oval tooth-like leaves that may be hairy (7). This aromatic perennial herb has a strong, sweet odor and a warm, pungent taste with a cooling aftertaste. The peppermint plant's fresh leaves are often used in culinary, while the flowers are dried and used to flavor foods. Peppermint is also widely known for its many medicinal properties, primarily in the form of oil. To learn more regarding the Benefits of Peppermint, click here.
Peppermint Tea is typically made from the dried leaves of the peppermint plant and added to Black, Green, or White Tea. It's an aromatic tea that can magically heat you up on a cold day or cool you down when it's warm. Just the aroma of Peppermint Tea can relieve headaches and colds as well as many other benefits (8).
Consuming Peppermint Tea is said to have attainable benefits such as:
Relieving tension headaches
Reducing nasal congestion
Lessening painful menstrual cramps
Improving energy levels
Antibacterial properties (9)
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Order organic Peppermint Tea bags here.
Black Tea (order here)
When people typically talk of tea in Western culture, they often refer to Black Tea. Sun tea, sweet tea, iced tea, and afternoon tea are all well-known tea categories typically made using Black Tea. Even the favorite English Breakfast and Earl Grey blends are made from Black Tea leaves, which just so happens to originate from the same plant—Camellia sinensis. This tea is typically processed in two methods--orthodox or non-orthodox, often referred to as Crush-Tear-Curl or CTC. Generally, Black tea is more robust, bolder, and more prosperous than Green Tea. A brewed Black Tea can range in color from amber to red to dark brown, and its flavor profile can vary from savory to sweet, depending on how long it was oxidized and how it was heat processed (10).
Consuming Black Tea is said to have attainable benefits such as:
Heart health benefits
Reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol
Improving gut health
Reducing blood pressure
Reducing the risk of stroke
Decreasing blood sugar levels
Reducing the risk of cancer
Antioxidant properties (11)
Order organic loose leaf Black Tea here.
Order organic Black Tea bags here.
Green Tea (order here)
Green tea and its components, such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), have been studied for their many medicinal properties (12). Again, they originate from the same plant as black tea, Camellia Sinensis; how the tea leaves are processed defines how the tea becomes green. A brewed green tea is typically green, yellow, or light brown, and its flavor profile can range from grass-like and toasted (pan-fired) to vegetal, sweet, and seaweed-like (steamed). Most Green Tea should be pretty light in color and only mildly astringent if brewed correctly. Some standard features used to describe the overall flavor profile of the green tea category include vegetal, grassy, earthy, sweet, buttery, nutty, toasty, seaweed-like, broth-like, lush, green, and herbaceous (13).
Green Tea can be consumed as a beverage or even dietary supplement, such as Earthley's Greens Powder, which can be purchased here.
According to an article published called A Review of the Role of Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection and Autophagy, they said:
The phytochemicals present in green tea are known to stimulate the central nervous system and maintain overall health in humans (14).
Consuming Green Tea is said to have attainable benefits such as:
Improving brain function
Increasing fat burning
Protecting against cancer, especially breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer
Lowering the risk of heart disease
Protecting the brain from aging
Reducing bad breath
Helping prevent type 2 diabetes (15)
Order organic loose-leaf Green Tea here.
Order organic Green Tea bags here.
Chai Tea (order here)
It's said that the origin of Chai Tea dates back more than 5,000 years when a king in what is now India ordered a medicinal spiced beverage for healing properties to be created for use in Ayurveda. Ayurveda is one of the oldest holistic medicinal practices that focus on whole-body healing based on the belief that health and wellness hinge on a fragile balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Ayurveda practices use herbs and spices to promote health are obtain healing (16).
No recipe represents Chai since traditional Chai beverages can differ from town-to-town and family to family. But Chai Tea generally consists of Assam and Darjeeling black teas native to India, a sweetener such as honey, white or brown sugar, and buffalo milk in India. Still, there are also milk alternatives, and of course, spices such as cardamom, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and black peppercorns as dominant Chai spices but some people also use vanilla, nutmeg, mace, star anise, or fennel. The massive variation of Chai Tea recipes means the beverage can take on many different flavor directions depending on the ingredients used. Chai Tea heavy on the ginger and black peppercorns spices can leave a fire-like bite, while other recipes containing more vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg may leave behind a sweeter note. Those with saffron or cacao may impart some earthy bitterness. And those using fennel or cumin may have a more savory note (17).
Consuming Chai Tea is said to have attainable benefits such as:
Improving heart health
Reducing blood sugar levels
Assisting in weight loss (18)
Order organic loose-leaf Chai Tea here.
Order organic Chai Tea bags here.
Hibiscus Tea (order here)
Hibiscus Tea is known across the globe by dozens of names. The hibiscus flower seizes our attention with its magnificence and entices our taste buds when brewed into a zesty, tea-like beverage. Countries worldwide steep dried hibiscus flowers into an herbal infusion that can be served hot and cold. The resulting tea is known by different names depending on where in the world it’s brewed, such as Rosella, Sorrel, Karkadé, Soobolo, Gudhal, Arhul Ka Phool, Chai Torsh, Chai Kujarat, Carcadè, Agua de Jamaica, Rosa de Jamaica, Gumamela, Bissap, Tsoborodo, Wonjo, or Roselle. Hibiscus is steeped and appreciated all over the globe. The Hibiscus flower is infused in hot water, creating a beautiful ruby red liquid characterized as tart-like lemon and tangy like cranberry or pomegranate. Hibiscus can be slightly bitter, so the brewed beverage is often sweetened with sugar or honey to cut down on the bitterness. Hibiscus can also be combined with fruit or citrus juices, such as fresh ginger or mint, and even dried spices like cinnamon and cloves. Some even enjoy hibiscus with alcoholic beverages such as vodka, rum, or beer to enrich, enhance, or complement its distinctive flavor profile (19).
Consuming Hibiscus Tea is said to have attainable benefits such as:
Lowering blood pressure
Lowering blood fat levels
Boosting liver health
Promoting weight loss
Preventing cancer (20)
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Ginger Tea (order here)
Ginger is the rhizome or the underground stem of the Zingiber officinale. Ginger thrives best in humid conditions. The plant resembles bamboo and grows clusters of white and pink flower buds into stunning yellow flowers. Traditionally, Ginger is harvested when the plant’s stalk begins to wilt. The root is immediately cleaned and scraped to kill it and prevent sprouting. Ginger is often consumed on its own as a culinary delicacy or used as a pungent spice in cooking an assortment of dishes, from savory to sweet. Ginger is historically known as a medicinal plant for its many potential health benefits.
"Ginger has been used as a healing herb in Ayurveda for thousands of years. Ayurveda is a traditional Hindu system of medicine that uses diet, herbal treatments and yogic breathing as part of a holistic approach to healing. Ayervedic practitioners recommend ginger to treat a variety of ailments, including nausea, rheumatism and arthritis (21)."
Consuming Ginger Tea is said to have attainable benefits such as:
Helping calm motion sickness
Lowering blood pressure
Protecting against heart disease
Controlling blood sugar levels
Anti-cancer properties (22)
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White Tea (order here)
White tea is one of the most delicate tea varieties from Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle), Bai Mudan (White Peony), Monkey Picked White Tea, or Darjeeling White Tea. White Tea is gathered before the tea plant’s leaves fully open when fine white hairs cover the young buds. White Tea is minimally processed, so less oxidation occurs. When the buds are harvested, they wither and air dry in the sun or a precisely controlled indoor or indoor environment. Some buds are steamed or exposed to low heat to help dry quicker and stop oxidation. Minimal oxidation transpires as the buds are typically dried naturally. Still, White Tea has a much more delicate and soothing flavor profile than Green or Black Tea since oxidation is not encouraged manually (23).
Consuming White Tea is said to have attainable benefits such as:
Reducing the risk of heart disease
Assisting in weight loss
Protecting your teeth from bacteria
Lowering the risk of insulin resistance
Protecting against osteoporosis
Helping combat skin aging
Protecting against Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease (24)
Order organic loose-leaf White Tea here.
Order organic White Tea bags here.
Matcha Tea (order here)
Matcha is a high-grade Green Tea that's typically ground into powder form. Instead of steeping, the Green Tea powder is whisked into hot water to form a frothy drink. The deliberative act of preparing, presenting, and sipping matcha is the backbone of the Japanese tea ceremony. While matcha's origins are primarily ceremonial, the Green Tea powder is favored worldwide in beverages like tea lattes or boba tea and as a cooking ingredient in everything from ice cream to salad dressing. All Matcha is created from shade-grown tea leaves, which is a labor-intensive technique where tea bushes are shielded from the sun, and light is filtered to the bushes in a very imperturbable manner to encourage chlorophyll production to create that gorgeous green color acquainted with Green Tea (25).
Consuming Matcha Tea is said to have attainable benefits such as:
Protecting liver health