One of the most common questions we receive is, “What are the differences between the types of tea?” It’s a great question, given that there are thousands of different types of tea.
But it’s not as complicated as you might think. There are essentially six main types of tea:
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Oolong tea
- Yellow tea
- Pu-erh tea
Each of these teas come from a variation of the tea plant (Camelia sinensis or Camelia Talensis). Their differences are often attributed to how they are harvested and prepared for consumption. You can also add in herbal tea to the mix, though herbal teas generally do not any material from the actual tea plant.
To help you better understand the differences, let’s take a closer look at the different types of tea we offer here at Cured Leaves Tea.
This is probably the most well-known type of tea, however, there is no one type of “black tea,” as the flavors can vary greatly depending on where the tea was grown. Generally speaking, though, black teas are bold and deep, getting their flavor from heavy oxidation achieved by allowing the leaves to wither.
Some more well-known black teas include:
- Lapsong souchong (China)
- Assam (India)
- Darjeeling (India)
- Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
Some of the reported health benefits that black teas offer include heart health and cancer prevention.
Green tea is very different from black tea, particularly in terms of oxidation. Where black teas are left out to dry for a long time, green tea leaves are heated almost as soon as they are harvested. As such, they tend to be lighter and more delicate in both flavor and color.
Like green teas, white teas are minimally processed. They’re often made from picking immature tea plant leaves and buds, making them even lighter in flavor than green teas. Typically, these teas have bright, fruity and/or herbaceous flavors, which makes blends like our White Hibiscus Passion a popular flavor.
From a health perspective, research suggests that white teas reduce cholesterol, prevent strokes, prevent cancer, and lower glucose levels in the blood, among other benefits.
Herbal teas, also often called herbal (tisanes) or infusions, are technically not teas at all, as they do no use material from the tea plants. Unlike teas made from the tea plant, herbal teas generally don’t have caffeine, though herbal teas like yerba mate do contain caffeine.
More common ingredients include chamomile, rooibos, orange zest, rose hips, and mint, though there are probably as many herbal teas as there are herbs. For example, we blend rooibos, lime, and ginger for a powerful, healthy, and tasty treat. Or for those who like big, bold flavors, there’s our Red Bush Chai, which uses cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, licorice, fennel seed, peppermint and other spices and herbs.