A perfect steaming cuppa

By A. Jafri
Tue, 05, 22

On the occasion of International Tea Day, celebrated annually on May 21st, this week You! takes a look at different types of teas and their health benefits...

A perfect steaming cuppa

world tea day

For most of us, our day doesn’t begin unless we’ve had our steaming cup of tea. Tea isn’t merely a drink; it represents so much more. Tea is a culture on its own. It is a way to express love and have a heart-to-heart with friends and family. It is a hug in a cup when it’s too cold outside and a cure for your tired bones and a throbbing headache.

Along with health benefits, tea represents togetherness in countries around the world. Whether it’s a karak doodhpati, a nice Ceylon tea or a refreshing ginger tea, there is a tea for everyone.

Every year, The United Nations celebrates International Tea Day on May 21st. On the occasion, this week You! takes a look at different types of teas tand why are they so loved across the world...

A perfect steaming cuppa

Black Tea

Many people new to the world of tea are most familiar with black tea. Black tea is one amongst the variety of teas, this type of tea is extracted from the plant, Camellia Sinensis. From white teas, black teas to green teas all forms of tea are extracted from this plant’s leaves. The leaves of the plant turn black due to a process called oxidation. Apparently, black tea is stronger than any other type of tea, as it has decent caffeine content. Black tea commonly yields a hearty, amber-coloured brew. Some of the most popular types of black teas are bold breakfast teas (e.g. English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast) and Darjeelings.

Black tea contains a combination of polyphenols such as catechins, theaflavins, and thearubigins, which are the main sources of antioxidants in it and therefore promote overall health. Consuming black tea can help eliminate and decrease damage in the body. This eventually may help lower the risk of chronic diseases.

Green Tea

Green tea is another type of tea made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Green tea production endeavours to avoid the oxidation of the tea leaves, in order to retain its natural green colour and fresh flavour. In Japan, the leaves are steamed, while other countries will pan-fire or dry it through other methods. This type of tea has a more delicate flavour than black tea and often brews up pale green or golden in colour. They contain about half as much caffeine as black tea (about a quarter of a cup of coffee.) Popular green teas include Gunpowder, Jasmine Yin Cloud, and Moroccan Mint.

Touted to be one of the healthiest beverages, Green tea are loaded with many health benefits, which may include: improved brain function, fat loss, protecting against cancer, lowering the risk of heart disease. To help you feel better, lose weight, and lower your risk of chronic diseases, you may want to consider making green tea a regular part of your life.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is produced mainly in China and Taiwan and is only partially oxidised. This type of tea can range from tasting similar to a fresh green tea. The flavour can vary widely, depending on where the tea leaves are grown and how the tea is made. Depending on the type of oolong, they may be oxidised for only a short period of time, or may undergo more thorough oxidation almost to the level of a black tea. Some oolong teas are then shaped by hand into small, tightly rolled balls before being dried and packaged. This tea can brew up anywhere from a pale yellow to a rich amber cup of tea. Many oolongs can be re-infused many times, with subtle differences and nuances of flavour in each successive cup.

Oolong tea is one of the most popular weight-loss teas. Moreover, studies have also shown that this tea can potentially reduce risk of blood pressure, improve sleep, help with digestion, inflammation in the gut and reduce cholesterol levels.

White Tea

Originally from China, white tea is simply withered and dried, causing a very light oxidation. Its flavour is most similar to that of green tea, but is usually more creamy, soft and sweet.

White tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant just like black tea, green tea and oolong tea. It is one of the five tea types that are called true teas. Before the white tea leaves open, the buds are harvested for the production of white tea. And since it is the least processed, it makes it a delicate tea that packs a punch when it comes to health benefits. White tea benefits include preventing tooth decay, promoting healthy skin and hair and increased energy and alertness. Drinking a cup a day can help prevent things like the common cold and eliminate free radicals that can cause an array of ailments from acne to cancer.

Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh (also spelled pu’er) comes exclusively from China and is famous for its distinctively earthy flavour. Pu-erh is a tea that has been fermented, often stored underground for several years. Traditionally, pu-erh is compressed into round cakes and can be very expensive. Pu-erh teas brew up an inky brown-black color and have a full body with a rich, earthy, and deeply satisfying taste. Pu-erh teas are fairly high in caffeine, containing about the same amount as black tea (half that of a cup of coffee.)

Drinking a cup of this tea day can help to increase your energy levels and focus. This tea also uses its oxidative properties to deliver increased levels of oxygen, which enhances circulation and blood flow. By delivering more oxygen to the brain, pu-erh tea can help combat headaches and migraines and reduces free radicals that can cause serious illnesses.

Purple Tea

Purple tea is a relatively new kind of tea, and has only been commercially available for a few years. The tea is produced from a rare purple-leaved tea plant found growing wild in the Assam region of India. Today, purple teas are primarily produced in Kenya, Africa. They have a light body and mellow flavour, and are extremely low in caffeine and high in antioxidants and anthocyanins. The leaves are harvested, wilted, and undergo partial oxidation before being shaped and dried. Purple tea brews up a light reddish-purple, thanks to the unique colour of its leaves.

Besides being refreshing and delicious, purple tea has numerous benefits for our brain and body health. It is helpful in improving and maintaining cardiovascular health by helping to relax and dilate blood vessels. This increases blood circulation and lessens stress on the heart. It also boosts cognitive function, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory function. Being high in antioxidants, you can feel good about your daily habits by managing your weight and your chronic disease risks reduce when you add purple tea to your diet.