What's your favorite kind of tea? Do you drink tea?
For non-tea people, here's a short primer...
Tea is made from leaves, roots, and flowers steeped on hot water. The most common "tea" is made from the tea plant and will have varying amounts of caffeine and antioxidants depending on how the tea is processed, where it is grown, and how old it is amongst other things. It can even vary from year to year with plants grown in the same soil! Luckily, blending comes to the rescue to assure a fairly even flavor every time, regardless of what year it is.
Different brands naturally taste different due to blending and plant sources. For example, Bigelow's green tea is earthy with a thick heavy flavor. In contrast Prince of Peace's green tea is light and a little sweet. Both are the same kind of tea, but they don't taste alike.
This tea has been dried and aged (sometimes fermented) until it turns a dark brown, almost black color. The darker it is, the more caffeine it tends to have.
Made from: tea plant
Great for: iced tea, coffee replacement
Common brands: Lipton, Bigelow, Tetley
A few example kinds: Early Grey, Oolong (Chinese black tea), Orange Pekoe, Chai (black tea + spices and steamed milk)
This tea is steamed, then dried. If left alone for too long, it becomes black tea, so drink it up!It tends to be higher in antioxidants than black tea is. Sometimes other things are mixed in to give the tea a different flavor. White tea is green tea made from very young buds.
Made from: tea plant
Great for: health benefits (4+ cups a day are great for the heart), used in assorted cookies, cakes and frozen treats
Common brands: Prince of Peace, Tazo, Yamamotoyama
A few example kinds: Jasmine Green (Jasmine flowers added), Genmaicha (toasted rice added), Gunpowder (tea rolled into tiny balls before drying for longer-lasting fresh flavor).
These teas are made out of anything but the tea plant. This includes fruits, leaves, roots, and blossoms from plants all over the world! The properties can vary wildly, but generally there is little or no caffeine.
Made from: Anything but the tea plant. Contains no tea plant at all.
Great for: wide variety of flavors, very kid/elder friendly, sometimes medicinal.
Common brands: Celestial Seasonings, Teavana
A few example kinds: Rooibos ("red tea" made from an African bush), Chamomile (pale yellow tea from a daisy-like flower), peppermint tea (green colored tea made from a plant that lives near freshwater streams).