Green tea, white tea, black tea… what’s the difference? The examination of the health benefits from tea consumption date back about 4700 years ago from emperor Shennong of China. A cup of tea has been known to heal, comfort and cross cultural barriers and has so much to offer. The benefits of drinking tea can be significant to your overall health, but we must first understand the different types of teas and the prosperity that each one has to offer.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is said to be first produced at Mr. Wu Yi Shan in Fujian Province towards the end of the Ming Dynasty about 400 years ago. Drinking Oolong tea is truly a work of art. In order to enjoy the flavor and its rich aroma, a tiny teapot and teacup are used. This presentation has been handed down one generation to the next. This type of tea contains a large quantity of polyphenol- an ingredient that generates the unique flavor and promotes good health. This tea is a great source of antioxidents, weight loss, and can provide an overall boost to your health.

Green Tea

Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis and originates from China. What sets green tea apart from the others is the way it’s processed. Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents a certain compound from being oxidized. In contrast, black and oblong tea leaves are made from fermented leaves. As a result of this process, the health benefits to you, the consumer, are significant. Recently, it has been all the rage and has become more widespread in the West. Green tea contains minerals and vitamins such as chromium, manganese, zinc, vitamin C, and certain phytochemical compounds. Studies suggest that green tea can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney stones, cancer, and can help lower cholesterol.

White Tea

Move over Green Tea, a new tea is in town. White Tea seems to be all the rage and is the latest and hottest new food trend in North America. Chinese tea drinkers have known since the Ming Dynasty about the benefits that White Tea can offer. White Tea is also made from the immature leaves of Camellia Sinensis, picked shortly after the buds have opened. White tea lacks the “grassy” aftertaste that Green Tea has, and offers a delightful, smooth and silky taste. White tea health benefits include: boosting your body’s immune system, fighting off viruses and infections, prevention of plaque buildup and tooth decay. With it’s widespread popularity, White Tea has made its presence known, and is here to stay.

Black Tea

Black Tea is a more oxidized tea than oolong, green and white teas. It is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine. Black tea is the most popular tea used in the U.S.  Black tea is often blended with other plants in a variety of mixtures to produce a unique flavor. Some of these blends include: Earl Grey and Masala Chai. Health benefits include cholesterol reduction due to a theaflavin derivative found in black tea, and is high in anti-oxidents. Black tea can be enjoyed alone, as a blend, or as a boost of energy in the morning, and may give you that jolt of energy you’ve been looking for to get you through the day.

There are lots of reasons to enjoy a nice cup of tea. I have only given you a short introduction to the different kinds of tea and some of the amazing benefits to your health that they can offer, and hope that I’ve inspired you to discover the wonderful world of tea on your own. Whether it be enjoying a nice cup of white tea with a loved one, such as my husband and I recently did in the Chinese Gardens of Portland, Oregon, or an ice-cold sweet tea on a hot, summer day- tea is here to stay!

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– Special thanks to Andrea Ledwell for her contribution of this introductory article with future articles on teas and recipes soon to follow.

* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.