Tea is the most popular drink in the world. There is not one, but teas. Here are five varieties selected from those that are most commonly consumed.
Every day we need to drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water. A cup of tea can fill some of these contributions, while varying the pleasures. This drink comes from the cultivation of the plant Camelia sinensis. But the terrain, the environment and its method of preparation allow to define many varieties. Add to the four main (green tea, black tea, Oolong tea and white tea) from the same plant, a fifth, often called “red tea”, and from another plant.
It is the most consumed tea in France and England. Once picked, the tea leaves are dried, rolled and fermented. This last step releases the aromas and changes the color of the leaves, which are again dried and sorted. In infusion, it has a dark color. It is also marketed, flavored with dried fruits (orange), flowers (jasmine) or essential oils (bergamot).
The main difference between green tea and black tea is that for the first, the leaves do not undergo fermentation reactions. After harvest, they are steamed and dried. This heating inactivates enzymes, which prevents fermentation and maintains the green color of the leaves. After infusion, this tea has a light, rather yellow color. From the point of view of its health benefits, it is known to contain more polyphenols (especially catechins) than black tea and it would bring less caffeine. Green tea is often presented as a slimming asset because of its catechin content. But high consumption can also pose risks because of the fluorine and aluminum content.
For this tea, it is the white buds and the tips of the young leaves that are used. Rarer, it is usually more expensive to buy. It contains less fluoride than black tea, which is an advantage: indeed, the tea tree accumulates a lot, the young leaves therefore contain less.
Oolong, also called by the Chinese blue tea, is somehow intermediate between green tea and black tea because it is only partially fermented. Its taste is more reminiscent of black tea, so it is less bitter than green tea. It also has some health benefits: a 2011 study showed that people who drink alcohol have a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Red tea (or rooibos)
The term rooibos is an Afrikaans word (language spoken in South Africa) meaning “red bush”. Rooibos use plants from the Aspalathus group. Only the species Aspalathus linearis is cultivated. From South Africa, this tea is known to be rich in antioxidants. He is devoid of theine.
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