It may surprise you to learn that there are many different types of tea and some that you thought were tea are not. Take rooibos, for instance, it comes from the South African Redbush plant and is actually a tisane not a tea. To be a tea it must come from the tea plant - or theCamellia Sinensis to be precise. All tea - black, green, white, oolong, puerh and matcha all come from this same species. It's where it grows and how it's prepared that differs and what creates the different types of tea that we love so, so much.
|Tea Type||Caffeine?||What is it?||Origin of our teas|
Fully dried and oxidised tea leaves.
A British favourite!
|India, China, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Indonesia and some more...|
Dried tea leaves not left to oxidise.
The world’s most popular!
|India, China, Japan, Kenya.|
Tea leaves not left to dry too long or oxidise.
Only the best 2 leaves and a bud make it to be white tea!
Dried but only partially oxidised tea leaves.
Sitting on the fence between black and green tea!
Aged dried and oxidised tea leaves – malty and woody taste.
Can be infused many times!
Powdered green tea leaves.
All the leaves and therefore all the goodness are consumed rather than just the infusion.
|Herbal – Rooibos||None||
Comes from the South African redbush plant and is not technically a tea.
Naturally caffeine free and some great flavoured varieties are available!
|Herbal – Honeybush||None||
Also from South Africa and gets the name due to the smell of the leaves being honey-like.
Has a very similar taste to Rooibos, but that wee bit sweeter!
|Herbal – Fruit||None||
Dried fruit pieces and herbs blended.
Great for iced tea!
|Herbal – Mate||Yes||
A South American tradition!
Chopped leaves from the Yerba Mate plant provide a stimulating treat!
The table below shows the approximate brewing/infusing times for the different tea types.
It assumes around a 2.5 to 3g serving but it is not an exact science so experiment to find the perfect brew time to suit you.
It is best to use freshly boiled water - so if you've got some water left in your kettle from before - pour it out and start again!
|Tea Type||Approx Brewing Time (mins)||Water Temperature|
If you don't have a fancy kettle which heats the water to different temperatures then a tip to for brewing green & white teas is to put the boiling water into the teapot or mug first and then add the tea. It will have cooled down a bit just by touching the cold teapot. That's what I do anyway...