Type of Teas, and their active ingredients

There are different type of Teas. Tea is an infusion made from the leaves and sprouts of plants.  The word “tea” comes from China, and has several pronunciations according to the dialect used.

teaType of Teas: Flower teaActive ingredients in tea

Tea contains mineral salts such as sodium, potassium and nickel.  It also contains copper and iron, silicon, aluminium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, although some of these loose their solubility as the leaves age.  Fluoride is an important element is tea, and is known to protect the teeth.  Tea’s distilled essential oil is yellow in color and has a strong odor, which is what gives tea its fragrance.

The most known effect of tea is, of course, theine or caffeine.  Tea has minimal vitamins, but it does contain a certain amount of vitamins A, B, C and E, which enrich the drink.

Green tea is considered to be the tea with the greatest amount of highly beneficial active ingredients for humans.  It contains potent antioxidants which increase the body’s defenses and neutralize the effect of free-radicals, which cause cellular oxidation and at times, and prevents cancer.

Several types of tea exist, according to which leaf, bush or flower is used during production.  They are as follows:

White tea

This tea is made from young leaves (new tree blossoms) that haven’t oxidized yet.  These blossoms could have been protected by the  sun to prevent chlorophyll from forming.

Green tea (non-oxidized)

This tea is a favorite in Asia and is named such because the leaves quickly dry and break up soon after being picked.  It is prepared by heating the leaves, whether in hot dishes or steam.  They are then rolled out by a rolling pin and are reheated and rolled out again, in order to achieve its desired quality.  The tea made with these leaves is mild and and has a fresher taste than most other types of tea. This is why green tea is not served with milk, sugar or honey.  A few types of greens tea are: Gunpowder, Sencha, and Gyokuro, a Japanese tea also known as pearl tea.

Black tea (substantial oxidation)

Brown, red and dark colored when added to hot water.  Black tea production begins with a “drying” process for the leaves, whether naturally or with hot air.  After being dried, the leaves are ran through a roller to squeeze out the juices and to break up the leaves.  Afterwards, they are sifted through and fermented in order to produce the final product.  Then, the fermented product must be dried, measured and sorted for packaging.  After choosing the leaves they are sun-dried.  This tea is highly processed and spiced.  The size of the leaves determines just how black the tea is.  Some common varieties of black tea include Ceylon, Assam and Darjeeling, which is considered by many to be the finest of all black teas.

Red tea

Also known as Pu-erh, this is a subclass of black tea with a red color.  This is an unusual product, as it is frequently shelved away for as long as 50 years.  It is considered medicinal in China.

Kukicha or twig tea

This tea is defined by its process of production, by toasting old leaves over a flame.  This is a popular macrobiotic product in Japan.

Oolong tea

This tea has characteristics of both black and green tea.  Its leaves are fermented in roughly half the time as black tea.  A great deal of the tea produced around the world is oolong tea.  It comes from the province Fukien in China, where it was created.  Formosa tea is considered by many to be the finest of oolong teas.

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