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Do You Know Your Tea? Find Out With Our Guide!

By Krista Elliott

As the weather cools down a bit, it's nice to slow down and relax. And what better way to relax than with a nice cup of tea? 

Tea has made a major resurgence in popularity over the last 20 years, with a demand for high-quality teas taking the nation by storm and leaving your Granny's orange pekoe far behind. Now, Californians of all ages are enjoying the flavors and health benefits of a wide variety of teas, both at home and in tea rooms sprouting up across the state. 

With all of that variety though, it can be tricky to tell your teas apart. What kinds of teas are there? What about caffeine? And are there any health concerns with tea? 

We Spill the Tea ... On Tea

First of all, you may be surprised to know that all tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, which is native to Asia. So how can they derive so many different types of teas from one plant? Well, as it turns out, the differences are caused by three things: How the leaves are processed, their growing conditions, and geography. 

So what are the different types of tea? (We're excluding herbal tea here, as it can be made of most anything, from herbs and flowers to roots and berries.) Despite the wall full of canisters at your local tea house, tea really falls into five different categories:

Black Tea: With black tea, the leaves are fully oxidized, resulting in a dark, strong brew with plenty of caffeine. Black tea also has plenty of antioxidants, however, and can significantly cut your risk of stroke. 

Oolong Tea: For oolong, the tea leaves are partially oxidized, resulting in a tea that has less caffeine than black, but more than green tea. The floral, aromatic flavor of oolong tea is prized among connoisseurs, while its power to reduce the triglycerides in your blood makes it prized among health experts. 

Green Tea: With leaves that are barely allowed to wither before the oxidation process is stopped, green tea has an herbal and fresh scent and flavor. It also shows strong potential as a cancer-fighter and heart-helper. 

White Tea: Delicate and fresh, white tea comes from the youngest shoots of the plant that aren't allowed to oxidize at all. White tea, like green, has very little caffeine, especially if brewed at lower temperatures and for short periods of time. White tea is also renowned for its role in fighting cardiovascular disease and preventing recurrences of cancer. 

Pu-erh Tea: Hotly sought-after by purists, real pu-erh tea comes solely from the Yunnan Province in China, where it is meticulously aged and fermented. Besides its complex, varied tastes (no two batches are exactly alike), pu-erh also contains cholesterol-lowering compounds. 

As long as you don't have a caffeine sensitivity, none of these teas have side effects or contraindications that you need to watch for. So put the kettle on and have a drink that's not just good, but good for you! 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.


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