Tea Varieties and their Unique Nutritious Characteristics

Camellia sinensis
, an exotic sounding name for a botanical plant that is very commonly used daily worldwide. It can be green, black, or white. It can be consumed hot or iced. Some like it sweet, some like it bitter. It can even be infused with many different types of flowers and herbs….Any guesses? If you guessed TEA, you are correct! Just like the grapes that are used to produce distinctive fine wines, the flavors and types of teas are dependent on weather conditions in the regions to which the Camellia sinensis plant is native. Other factors influencing the pedigrees of tea flavors are varying soil types, the geographic location of tea plantations and even the processing of the tea itself. However, there are 4 inherently different tea types, each with their own distinct health benefits:


1) Black tea is the most popular tea in the West, accounting for about 70% of the world’s tea consumption. Black tea is the result of a 6 hour oxidation process of the Camellia sinensis leaves. On its  own, it is calorie, carbohydrate and fat-free, making it a healthy alternative to water. It also contains the highest caffeine percentage of all the tea types, though less than a cup of coffee. In many cultures, black tea is consumed with the addition of a slice of lemon, or even with milk and sugar.


2) Green tea has maintained its popularity in China, Japan, and Korea for centuries; however, due to the attention it has gotten recently for all its health benefits, green tea has also quickly gained popularity in the West. Unlike black tea, green tea is not oxidized or fermented but lightly dried. The processing of green tea involves only the rolling and heating of the freshly harvested leaves. Green tea is believed to have medicinal properties such as lowing cholesterol, preventing cancer, and increasing metabolism, thus promoting weight loss. Culturally, it is typically served without milk or sugar. *FUN TIP: because green tea has a slightly bitter taste, it should be brewed in lower temperature than the boiling point of water.


3) White tea is perhaps the most exclusive of all the teas- as it is rarer and more expensive. It originates from the Fujian province of China and is produced from young Camellia sinensis leaves. The leaves are harvested when the buds are still covered by white hair (thus the name “white tea”) and then the leaves go through a lengthy process of steaming. White tea has a natural sweet taste and the smallest amount of caffeine of all the teas.


4) Oolong Tea is the least popular of all the tea types, accounting for just about 3% of the world’s tea consumption. However, due to its fruity and flowery aroma and delicate taste, oolong tea has been dubbed the “champagne of teas” by tea connoisseurs. The processing of oolong tea requires the drying of leaves, lightly oxidizing them, then cooling and drying. The flavors achieved are therefore lighter than black tea, stronger than green tea, with the caffeine content falling somewhere between the two as well.

Whether you prefer the robust and deep flavors of black tea or the earthy flavor of green tea with all its health benefits, there is certainly a tea flavor for everyone!

Shop Hyleys assorted tea flavors: Hyleys Nature’s HarmonyHyleys Slim Tea to get a taste for all of the delicious flavors and their nutritious benefits and determine what flavor is truly YOUR cup of tea!

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