Teatulia Tea Bar features only the finest, sustainably-sourced teas & herbs.
About Tea. Camelia Sinensis.
All tea (not herbal infusions) comes from the same plant – Camellia sinensis – which grows in tropical and subtropical climates. The traditional tea-growing countries are China, Japan, India and Sri Lanka. However, in recent years, new tea-producing countries have emerged, most notably Bangladesh, Vietnam and Kenya. Origin impacts the flavor characteristics while altitude, soil type, plant type and age of the tea plant are other influencing factors.
Each origin can produce any of the five types of tea, although certain regions are known for one type or another. For example, Japan is known for green tea. China is known for white tea and pu-erh. Sri Lanka for its black tea.
The differences between the five types of tea come from how they are processed:
- Black Tea — Processing involves full oxidation (or fermentation) of the leaves. After the leaves are plucked, they are laid out to wither for about 8 to 24 hours. This lets most of the water evaporate. Then the leaves are rolled in order to crack up the surface so that oxygen will react with the enzymes and begin the oxidation process. The leaves are left to completely oxidize, thus turning the leaves to a deep black color. After that, a final drying takes place. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor than its green and white counterparts and will maintain its flavor for several years.
- Oolong Tea — Oolong leaves are processed immediately after picking. Typically, the leaves are first laid out in the sun to dry and then placed into baskets and shaken, which “bruises” the leaves. The leaves are then spread out again under the sun to begin a partial oxidation process, however the process is halted after two hours or so the leaves may be fired in hot woks. Ultimately, an Oolong will have crisp, dry leaves.
- Green Tea — Processing does not involve oxidation. In order to neutralize enzymes and prevent oxidation, the leaves are typically steamed or pan fried. Next the leaves are rolled up in various ways and tightness. After that, a final drying takes place. Since no oxidation took place, the tea has more of a green appearance.
- White Tea — This tea starts with just the tightly rolled buds of the plant. White tea does not go through any oxidation at all. In order to prevent oxidation, white teas are immediately fired or steamed after letting them wither (air dry) for a period of time. There is no rolling, breaking, or bruising of any kind. White Tea is derived from the first flush* buds of the tea bush. The name refers to the silver-colored (white) hairs on the picked tea bud. White tea is the least processed of all teas. It isn’t rolled first but is immediately fired so there is no withering or fermentation/oxidation. Availability is limited and the cost high as a result of the limitations of the plucking standard. The liquor of White Tea is very pale yellow in color, and mild tasting in the cup. White tea should be prepared using water that is just off the boil. *The new growth on a tea plant consisting of a full complement of leaves. It takes about 40 days for a new bud to blossom into a flush.
- Pu-erh Tea — This tea has been fermented and typically aged for decades. It is often purchased in cakes or disks and is regarded and one of the highest quality teas on the market.
What are the health benefits associated with drinking tea?
Tea's health benefits are largely due to its high content of flavonoids — plant-derived compounds that are antioxidants. Green tea is the best food source of a group called catechins. In test tubes, catechins are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties. Catechins are unoxidized. When black tea is made, catechins oxidize to form more complex compounds called thearubigins and theaflavins. Between the two, only theaflavins contain significant antioxidant potential. Green tea contains about 30% catechins, whereas black tea contains only 4% of theaflavins. Both are powerful antioxidants. But green tea has far more in quantity, which explains why it is associated with more health benefits. Studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder.
The antioxidants in teas can help block the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, increase HDL (good) cholesterol and improve artery function. A Chinese study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed a 46%-65% reduction in hypertension risk in regular consumers of oolong or green tea, compared to non-consumers of tea.
Health Benefits from Drinking Tea Regularly May Include*:
- Reduced risk of heart disease, heart attacks and stroke
- Reduced risk of getting certain cancers
- Help in preventing blood clots
- Reduced cholesterol levels
- Reduced incidence of cavities and improved oral health
- Improved bone health and possible reduction in the risk of osteoporosis
- Strengthened immune system
- Decreased risk of developing kidney stones
*Source: “Tea & Health Research Summary”, Tea Association of the USA, Inc., TeaUSA.com
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Does Tea Contain Caffeine?
Yes. Processed and brewed teas contain caffeine. Black tea boasts approximately 50mg of caffeine per 6 fl oz, which is about half the amount as the same sized cup of coffee. Green tea contains slightly less at roughly 30mg per 6 fl oz. White teas will come in with a similar caffeine content as green tea which is roughly 2/3 less than the same sized cup of coffee.
What exactly is EGCG?
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a powerful antioxidant. Besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells (in-vitro), it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke. It is important to note that EGCG is found only in green teas. Additionally, overheating your green tea during steeping could result in degradation of this compound.