Tea 101

Tea 101

Tea is one of the oldest herbal remedies in existence, dating back more than 4700 years when infusions of the plant Camellia Sinensis were first brewed in China. Although modern medicine has diminished tea’s credibility as a cure-all solution, the benefits of tea still remain relevant today.


It's important to understand exactly what qualifies a beverage as "tea". When scientists use the word tea, they’re typically referring to organic black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea or pu-erh tea. The common link between these five categories is that they are each made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Herbal "teas" aren't actually scientifically considered teas at all, though they may be commonly referred to as such. These kinds of teas include those like chamomile and peppermint, which are made using a variety of different plants with varying nutritional values.


What makes these five types of teas distinct from one another? The preparation and maturity of tea leaves determine both the flavor and the nutritional content of each beverage. The leaves used to make black tea are both wilted and fully oxidized, meaning that they are dried and modified through prolonged exposure to air. Green tea goes through the wilting process, but not oxidization, while oolong tea leaves are wilted and oxidized, but not to the prolonged extent of black tea leaves. White tea is the young tea bud, and is neither wilted nor oxidized. Finally, Pu-erh tea leaves are fermented.