How is it made?
Tea is made by soaking the dried leaves or flowers of the plant Camellia sinensis in hot water although some teas can have other herbs, spices, or fruit flavours and or lemon. However, all teas are made from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Types of teas
All types of tea—green, black, oolong, and white—are produced from the Camellia sinensis plant using different methods. Tea is usually brewed and drunk as a beverage, but green tea extracts are also sold in capsules and sometimes used in skin products. (Herbal teas are made from plants other than Camellia sinensis.)
Use in herbal medicine
Tea contains various components, including polyphenols, alkaloids (caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine), amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, chlorophyll, volatile organic compounds (chemicals that readily produce vapors and contribute to the aroma of tea), fluoride, aluminum, minerals, and trace elements. The polyphenols are thought to be responsible for the health benefits that have traditionally been attributed to tea, especially green tea.
Green tea is often promoted for improving mental alertness, relieving digestive symptoms and headaches, and stimulating weight loss. Also, green tea and its extracts have been studied for their possible protective effects against heart disease and cancer.
- Although tea and/or tea polyphenols have been found in animal studies to inhibit the growth of tumors in different parts of the body, the results of human studies—both epidemiologic and clinical studies—have been inconclusive.
- Green tea has not been shown to be effective for weight loss.
- Very few long-term studies have looked at the effects of tea on heart disease risk. However, the limited evidence currently available suggests that both green and black tea might have beneficial effects on some heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure and cholesterol.
Types of tea
To make black tea, workers take the leaves and spread them out on shelves where they can dry. Next they are rolled and broken into pieces and put into a room where they absorb oxygen. Chemical reactions change the taste and style of the tea. Finally the leaves are dried with hot air until they turn brown or black. Most black tea comes from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and eastern Africa. When black tea leaves are brewed in boiling water, the tea made from them looks deep dark red, so another name used for black tea, especially in China, is red tea.
Green tea is made by putting freshly picked leaves into a steamer. This keeps them green. Then they are crushed and dried in ovens. India is the biggest maker and user of green tea.
The word tea can also be used as another word for an afternoon meal (mostly in the Commonwealth countries), as in "I am having tea in a short while." The word also applies to "afternoon tea", a small snack meal served sometimes, usually featuring sandwiches, cakes and tea. This small snack meal is also called "tea time".
Green tea must steep for 2–3 minutes in water at 175 °F (79 °C). Black tea must steep for 3–5 minutes in boiling water.
- Earl Grey is black tea with bergamot oil.
- English breakfast is a full-bodied, robust blend that is made to go well with milk and sugar.
- English afternoon tea is medium-bodied, bright and refreshing. Strong Assamese and Kenyan teas are blended with Ceylonese teas which adds a light, brisk quality to the blend.
Shizuoka is Japan's top producer of tea. Japan has many kinds of tea.
Indian tea (chai)
In India, tea is often served mixed with milk, and sugar that is called by it's Hindi name chai.