All About Tea: The Types, Differences, Benefits, and Tips


tea types difference and tips

It can be hard to sum tea up with one general definition, since it comes in so many varieties. Some teas are steeped and some are iced, some are made with spices, others are made with herbs, some are mixed with milk, others are frothed and the list goes on. However, the general understanding is that tea is an aromatic drink that is made by pouring hot water over cured or fresh leaves. It’s kind of similar to coffee, only instead of being made from beans, it’s made from leaves.

However, if you wanted to get fancy with your terms, tea in the most authentic form possible refers to beverages made from the Camellia sinensis plant. Everything else, such as chamomile tea, rooibos and fruit teas would be, technically, herbal teas or tisane.

Now, teas processed traditionally are called orthodox tea. This means that the top two most tender leaves and an unopened leaf bud are handpicked and processed following a specific five-step process. The ‘unorthodox’ way of making tea consists of a much faster style of production and is the most common form enjoyed today. This method was originally created for black tea but has now become pretty mainstream, as it allows harvesters to ‘mow’ the top of the bushes to get new leaves.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying one or the other, but a true tea artisan might argue that the only way to enjoy a brew is the orthodox way.

Types of Tea

When I say there’s no shortage of tea varieties, I wasn’t kidding. It’s estimated that more than 3000 varieties of tea exist, with each offering its own individual characters and flavor. That’s quite amazing if you think about it – there’s no other beverage in this world that comes with so many different options.

With that said, we aren’t about to start listing over 3000 types of teas. Instead, let’s narrow in on the main types of tea, which are:

Some other popular varieties of tea you have likely heard of before including matcha tea, herbal tea, Ceylon tea, rooibos tea, and so on and so forth. Again, the options are endless.

Different Types of Nutrients Found in Teas

Just when you think choosing the perfect tea for you comes down to flavor (it is a major factor), you discover that different teas contain different nutrients which offer different benefits. For example, Oolong tea is high in L-theanine, which is an amino acid that studies have proven to have many benefits for your cognitive health, such as improved brain activity, increased sleep quality and reduced stress and anxiety.  And that’s only just one of the many nutrients that can be found in tea!

Here’s a crash course on the different types of benefits you can expect from the different nutrients in teas. Let’s categorize them based on the main types of tea mentioned above:

Fast Facts About Tea and Antioxidants in General

Polyphenols

You may have heard of terms like “flavonoids”, “catechins”, “tannins”, and so on. All of them are categorized under the polyphenols family, and tea is rich in them. These compounds have antioxidant properties that provide many health benefits, such as:

  • Lower blood sugar levels, reduce insulin resistance and lower the risk of diabetes
  • Lower blood cholesterol levels
  • Assist in breaking down triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood that affects the thickening of artery walls and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other heart diseases.
  • Reduce the risk of skin, lung, breast and prostate cancer
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Supports heart health
  • It may give oral health benefits such as preventing cavities and gum diseases.

Caffeine

The amount of caffeine in any tea is usually lower than what you will find in coffee. Caffeine provides many health benefits, such as:

L-Theanine

A stimulant and amino acid. L-theanine provides health benefits such as:

  • Increase dopamine and improve the production of alpha waves in the brain
  • It has synergistic effects when combined with caffeine, which provides many benefits to the brain
  • Improve your cognitive health, by improving brain activity, increasing sleep quality and reducing stress and anxiety
  • Can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Studies have found L-theanine is able to reduce blood pressure levels

Tips for Boosting the Benefits of Tea

Tea is exceptionally healthy as it is. In other words, you don’t have to add anything to your brew or make any changes to start harnessing the vast array of health benefits. However, there are some tricks that can certainly boost those benefits to give you the best of all worlds.

Tea isn’t just a delicious beverage to enjoy. It also offers a plethora of health benefits that can do everything from boosting your immune system and mental health to curbing cravings and reducing your risk of serious diseases, including cancer. And that’s only to name a few of the advantages you get every time you take a sip of this aromatic, therapeutic drink. So, grab some loose leaves or a tea bag, add a sprinkle of some herbs, spices or citrus fruit for an added boost, and start boiling some water because the tea benefits aren’t something you’ll want to miss out on.

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