That’s a great question! Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the entire world, second only to water!! (Coffee comes in at a very strong 3rd)
Tea is a term that is often used to mean any beverage that is made by pouring hot water over plant material (leaves, flowers, bark, stem, or root) and steeped for a time. This liquid is then drank for either medicinal benefits or just as a beverage to be enjoyed.
Well, that’s not exactly the definition. “TEA” actually comes from a very specific plant, the Tea Plant aka Camillia Sinensis. From this plant we get all the varieties of true tea – Green, Black, White, Dark, Pu’er, and Oolong. All of these different types of teas are created because the processing of the tea leaves are different. Because the processing of the teas are different, you get different colors, flavor profiles, and nutrient levels.
What is NOT tea?
Another great question! Tea is NOT any beverage made from any other plant, such as herbal “teas”. These herbal blends usually have no tea plant in them, so it is a mistake to call them tea. There actual name is “tisane”. Tisanes are made from plants like hibiscus, peppermint, chamomile, ginger, and so on.
What is In Tea?
The 3 main ingredients in the teas that we drink are
- Essential Oils – these naturally occurring oils are what gives teas their different and distinct aromas and tastes.
- Polyphenols – these are compounds that give tea its characteristic astringency. That slightly bitter or acid taste while giving you that mouth-smack feel. It is also the property that gives teas most of its health benefits.
- Caffeine – This is the component that gives you that “energy boost” when you drink tea. Caffeine is naturally occurring in tea, coffee, chocolate, and yerba mate.
What’s Your Favorite Tea?
What is your favorite type of tea to drink?