Confused about all the different types of Tea?
Don't worry--It's really not that hard.

Does thinking about all the different types of teas out there, make you break out into a cold sweat? Or leave your brain reeling? When all you really want is just a good cup of tea?

Don't panic, I'm going to show you the different types of teas, give you a couple of examples of each tea type, and finally, make some suggestions that will aid you in choosing the right one for you and the occasion. Nothing too complicated or snobbish.

Tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, prepared and cured by various methods. Many people don't know the fact that, after water, tea is the most widely-consumed beverage in the world!

picture of Camellia Sinensis plant

The 4 different types of Teas:

  • Black Tea is perhaps the most commonly known of all tea types. Usually blended with other teas and flavors. One of my personal favorites is Peach/Apricot Ceylon tea. It is lovely served iced or hot.

  • Oolong Tea is lesser known, and is a cross between black and green tea in color and taste.

  • Green Tea is the next most commonly known tea. There are all types of benefits tied to drinking green tea. Green teas are always taken plain, and are a wonderful accompaniment to Oriental foods. They can be bitter and for some people, are an acquired taste. ;-)

  • White Tea is the rarest, and highly prized. White tea is the least processed of all four teas. All white teas are made from tips of the leaves. The tea is generally a pale golden color and slightly sweet.

What about "Herbal Teas"?

Okay, so now that we've covered the basic 4 types of Tea, you may be asking your self, what about:

  • Herbal Tea The term, "herbal tea" usually refers to an infusion or tisane of leaves, flowers, fruit, herbs or other plant material that contains no Camellia Sinensis (or actual tea). So while it is called "Tea", it isn't really. Confused? Don't be. Herbal Teas normally don't contain caffeine, so they make a great bed-time drink. Think Chamomile Herb Tea, and you'll be falling off to sleep in no time.

The Many Benefits of Tea

You may be surprised to discover that all four types of teas are beneficial to your health, in varying degrees. Most people know about the benefits of Green Tea, but not about the other types of tea.

There are many different studies that point to Tea's health benefits, claiming to help with everything from cardiovascular disease to bad breath! A recent article from the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) suggests that drinking three cups of tea a day could help prevent the risk of stroke and death from stroke by 21 percent, compared to non tea drinkers.

Dr Catherine Hood, a doctor on the advisory council for TAP noted that there are 3 possible mechanism by which tea may protect against stroke;

  • 1) Tea has been shown to reduce blood pressure in stroke-prone rats, and blood pressure control is the key strategy to reduce risk of strokes in humans,

  • 2) The catechins in tea can improve blood vessel function, and

  • 3) The effects of theanine in tea have a protective effect on brain function and may reduce blood vessel damage in the brain.

The polyphenols in tea help to inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath. These phytochemicals from tea are the reason that tea has such great health benefits. Despite whatever other positive benefits from tea that may be discovered, tea makes a great choice of a drink!

According to Dr. Blumberg, Ph.D., a Tufts University professor of nutrition, in an article on the nutritional benefits of tea at, "I tell people...if you don't drink tea, try it. Have a cup. I find it an aromatic and delicious drink. If you already drink a cup a day, consider having two. So if you drink it frequently and consistently, that's where the benefits are seen."

So you heard the doctors, drink up!

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