Enjoyed for centuries, tea is one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world, and the good news is the humble cuppa may provide more than just a hydrating pick-me-up.
Tea is the drink produced by steeping the young leaves and leaf buds of the Camellia sinensis plant in freshly boiled water.
The main types of tea include black, green, white and oolong. Each has its own unique flavour and characteristics dependent on the leaves’ origins and processing methods including whether they were fermented
Tea leaves go through some or all of the stages of withering, rolling, fermenting and drying, with the objective being to dry the leaf and allow the unique properties of the tea to come through.
The process of fermentation alters the polyphenols in the tea, making them more concentrated and complex; the greater the fermentation, the darker the colour and the deeper the flavour of the tea.
All teas from the Camellia sinensis plant naturally contain caffeine. The amount of caffeine varies depending on the degree of processing and the final brew time
white tea being lightly processed has the most caffeine in its dry state, however, because it is brewed for the shortest time it tends to contain the least in its brewed form.
Much of tea’s goodness lie in the plant compounds (polyphenols) it contains – the type of tea, the temperature of the water and the steeping time all influence the amount of these protective compounds in your cup.