Tea is one of most popular beverages in the world, second only to water. Its origins can be traced back to ancient China. It is estimated that tea was introduced into Western culture in the 16th century.
Types of tea
There are many tea variations, but they all fall into these five basic categories: Black, green, herbal, oolong, and a miscellaneous category where teas are prepared by unconventional methods.
• Black tea: Normally the strongest in flavor, black tea is overwhelmingly the popular type sold in the world.
• Green tea: Lightly flavored, the health effects of green tea have been well publicized. Although not categorically proven, green tea has been said to prevent cancer, and even be a weight loss aid.
• Herbal teas: This is a generic category that indicates types of teas that have been made with something other than tea leaves. Berries, dried flowers and seeds are some things that can be used to make herbal tea.
• Oolong tea: A product of the ancient Chinese Ming Dynasty, Oolong tea is stronger than green tea, but claims similar health benefits.
• Miscellaneous: These are teas that do not fall into a specific category. Iced teas, organic, decaffeinated are types that differ in preparation or are modified in some way. Pu-erh tea falls into this category, although some may consider it to be a category unto itself. It is aged for several years and can have a very strong flavor.
Tea has been around for centuries, and if its current popularity is any indicator will be around for centuries more. There is a type of tea for every preference, and that may be the secret to its longevity.