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Tea: Which, what & why?

Last Updated: 12 December 2018

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Tea: Which, what & why?

Black tea, Fruit tea, Green tea… which one to go for? Tea is a fond favourite worldwide. The Chinese drink tea during meals and give tea as gifts; in India, the tea is spicy and rich; the Americans like their tea iced;  and the British, partial to a chocolate biscuit, enjoy tea in the mornings, evenings… and all hours in between.

With all the teas available to us, it is easy to get overwhelmed and prepare ourselves for a tea overload, hoping to feel relaxed, rejuvenated and revitalised all at once… but what benefits do all these different teas have, and what can we really expect from them?


Tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Any drink that is not derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant is technically not tea, for example, chamomile and fruit ‘tea’. Some of the most popular Camellia Sinensis teas include Black tea, Green tea, White tea and Oolong tea. These teas vary in colour, potency and flavour due to their different processing.

 

So, how is tea made? The typical cycle goes as follows:

 

Withering – the leaves are dried to reduce their water content.

 

Rolling – the leaves are rolled and twisted to break up their cellular structure, which releases the juices and oils which give tea its unique flavour.

 

Oxidation – the leaves are fermented, oxygen is absorbed (the leaves are exposed to air) and they turn a bright, copper colour. It is now determined which type of tea is produced. Black tea is the ‘most oxidised’ tea and green tea is the ‘least oxidised’ tea.

 

Firing – firing the leaves stops the oxidation process and there you have it…fired up, fully processed, fresh tea leaves!

 

So, now you know how the infamous drink is made, let’s tell you a bit about what you’re actually drinking!

 

 

What kind of tea?

What does it taste like?

What is the caffeine content per 240 ml cup?

What are the health benefits?

Black tea

Sharp, Full, Robust

40 mg

Flavanoids and compounds reduce clots, Detoxifies cholestrol, Inhibits cancer growth

Green tea

Grassy, Bittersweet, Herbal

20 mg

Raises metabolism, Speeds up weight loss, Contains a powerful amount of antioxidants

Oolong tea

Earthy, Deep, Woody

30 mg

Stimulates the immune system, Strengthens the body, Protects tooth decay, Promotes a healthy body

White tea

Creamy, Delicate, Sweet

10 mg

Thins the blood, Lowers blood pressure, Improves artery function, Fights off viruses

Chamomile tea

Flowery, Fruity, Light

0 mg

Contains relaxing properties, Acts as a sleep aid, Soothes stomach, Aids digestion problems

Lemon and Ginger tea

Lemony, Gingery, Fresh

0 mg

Contains Vitamin C, Boosts immune system, Fights colds, Reduces inflammation

All teas made from the Camillea Sinesis plant contain antioxidants. Antioxidants challenge free radicals which lead to ageing and serious health problems such as cancer and heart disease. So, tea is good for the skin, body, mind…and taste buds. Keep calm and drink tea!

 

 

Written by Dr. Noel Duncan

Categories:
Nutrition
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