Understanding Tea Types & Flavor Profiles
Maybe you’re making the switch from coffee to tea because you heard it has half of the caffeine content and you’re tired of the morning jitters. Or maybe you already love tea and you simply want to impress your friends with an encyclopedic knowledge of the world’s most popular beverage. In any case, you’ve come to the right blog for a breakdown of the different types of tea and the tea health benefits you can eagerly anticipate.
How Many Types of Tea Are There?
There are many! We sell five types of tea at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, which constitute the most commonly-produced types of tea. Other types of tea do exist, however — these include white tea, which is steadily becoming more popular in the United States, red tea, and even the rare yellow tea. All of these tea types (white, red, and yellow), interestingly, have low amounts of caffeine.
What Are the Varieties of Tea?
All types of tea have as their base leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant, but the way in which the leaves are cultivated and processed vary. Here’s a breakdown of the major tea types you can buy at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®:
Black Tea — The most common type of tea (at least in the West), black tea has a full and rich flavor because the leaves are fully oxidized. During oxidation, water evaporates from the tea leaves and they absorb oxygen. This process creates dark-colored tea leaves with robust and pronounced flavors like honey and cream. Black tea is so versatile that flavors like guava and passion fruit or cinnamon and cardamom are great compliments.
Green Tea — Green tea is a staple in many regions of China and Japan. Green teas are unoxidized and have subtle flavor profiles blending vegetal, sweet, and lemony tastes. Jasmine, peppermint, and cherry are common green teas with amazing aromas and flavors.
Oolong Tea — Also known as “wu long” tea, this type of tea is partially oxidized and falls somewhere between black and green tea. The intriguing tones and complex flavor profiles of oolong teas delight tea enthusiasts, as they are bolder than green teas but subtler than black teas. Oolong teas often have floral and fruity aromas.
Herbal Infusions — Herbal infusions aren’t technically tea because they don’t contain Camellia sinensis leaves. Instead, herbal teas, or tisanes, are made by steeping various herbs. Herbal infusions don’t have caffeine and often benefit your health in numerous ways. Herbal infusions can contain lemongrass and chamomile, ginseng and peppermint, or honeybush, which is made from rooibos, aka red bush.
Flavored Tea — Flavored and scented teas like Earl Grey have natural or synthetic flavors added to them during processing; these types of teas are not purely Camellia sinensis leaves. The variety of flavored teas available today is astounding, including anything from jasmine-scented green tea to rose black tea.