You’ve probably heard many of the benefits of drinking tea already. Its high levels of antioxidants, its help as a cancer fighter, as well as it being calorie free if you drink it without milk or sugar. What better way to accompany your new workout regime? Give up the soda and drinks that are holding your progress back and learn what makes tea great. If you’ve yet to start, check out this course on the daily healthy practices that will lead you to a better life.
Tea is one of the most consumed drinks in the world, second only to water. It’s amazing because it all comes from the same basic plant. The name of the plant is Camellia Sinensis, and all of the varieties of tea come from this plant alone. Where the differences come arises from the processing methods, climate and growing conditions and geographic location. Using combinations of these, today there are over 3,000 varieties of tea – and it’s cultivated all over the world. There are five basic categories of tea, white, green, oolong, black, and puer which we cover today.
White tea is the least processed of all forms of tea, and is the purest. When you brew this loose leaf tea there is a light color in your drink, and it is appreciated best for the subtle flavors and natural sweetness. White tea is the most delicate tea, and are usually hand processed with only the youngest shoots of the plant being used without any oxidation as part of the process. If you brew a white tea correctly, at a low temperature and a short steeping time you’ll find that there is also only a low amount of caffeine produced – great for people who want to manage their intake. If you use hotter water and longer steeping time the tea will draw more caffeine from the leaves. A recent study shows that white tea has the most potent anti-cancer properties of all the processed teas. You can learn a little more in this course that runs through why food, the right food, can actually be the medicine you really need.
Green tea is the most consumed variety of tea, as it is the beverage of choice for most of Asia. It is quite common for additional flowers or fruits to be added to loose leaf green tea to create a wide variety of different scents and flavors. After the tea leaves are picked the green tea is allowed to wither only slightly, and the oxidation process is rapidly stopped by firing (heating) the leaves. When brewed at lower temperatures and for short periods of time green tea tends to have much less caffeine, typically between 10-30% of the amount found in a standard coffee. Tea connoisseurs treasure the subtle flavors and undertones that can be produced in green tea. For health benefits green tea has a high concentration of EGCG (an antioxidant) which may help against cancer, prevent clogging of your arteries, help you to burn fat, and reduce the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s while improving your cholesterol levels. It’s also a common drink as part of many detox programs, which you can read more about in this recent post. It’s also an ingredient you can use to make your own soap, so get natural and learn how to make your own eco-friendly soap in this course.
Oolong tea has a sweet aroma, and a fragrance that is full of flavor. Many people will recognize this kind of tea as what you are served when dining in a Chinese restaurant. It’s allowed to undergo a partial oxidation, and as a result has a caffeine content that lies between that of green and black tea. The flavor is not as strong as in a black tea, although much stronger than in green – with a fragrant and delightful taste that is reminiscent of fresh flowers, and fresh fruit. Studies have shown that antioxidants from oolong tea have helped lower bad cholesterol levels, and a specific variety of oolong called Wuyi is heavily promoted as a weight loss supplement though this has yet to be proven in clinical testing. You might be better off starting a workout program like the total home fitness workout here if you really want to drop the pounds!
Black tea is the form that most people are common with, as they grew up dipping tea bags into steaming mugs on cold winter nights, or enjoyed it in large pitchers full of ice during summer. Black tea follows a unique process, where it is allowed to wither before going into the oxidation stage. This lets moisture evaporate from the tea leaves, and absorb oxygen from the air. Normally black teas are allowed to go through a full oxidation, with the end result a characteristically black or dark brown tea leaf. They offer the most robust flavors of tea, and have a higher caffeine content than other kinds of tea – while averaging about 50-65% of the caffeine content of coffee, depending of course on the particular type of black tea and the brewing technique. There have been studies done that show black tea can help to protect your lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke, and it can also reduce the risk of stroke.
The final kind of tea is Puer, which is an aged black tea that is produced only in China. It’s praised for its earthy flavor, alongside its medicinal properties. Of all the kinds of tea, this style is perhaps the most mysterious. Before 1995 it was illegal to import this style of tea into the United States, and its production methods are a closely guarded state secret in China. You’ll find that Puer tea has an incredibly rich flavor, and is very strong without any bitterness. Studies have shown that this tea can help to control weight gain, and reduce LDL cholesterol.
These five basic kinds of tea form the foundation of the industry, but of course there are thousands of varieties that are specially blended, or processed to give unique flavors and tastes. All you really need to do is give each of them a try and drink the one you like!