It’s that time of day – you have a hankering for a snack or tasty treat, but can’t decide what will do the trick. Why not grab a cup of tea? Tea is the second most consumed beverage worldwide after water, and luckily for your tastebuds it is available in many different varieties and flavors. All caffeinated tea is produced from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, but differences in processing result in unique types of tea. In addition, herbal infusions, tisanes, and rooibos can stand in handily for your non-caffinated drinking pleasure. Here are a few pointers that will help with your afternoon beverage dilemma.
Made from fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content in the tea spectrum and can help to combat bad breath! Black tea is the most commonly drank type of tye and comes in a variety of flavors, ranging from standard ‘Earl Gray’ or English Breakfast to creative and delightful flavors like ‘Buttered Rum’ and ‘Caramelissimo’.
Oolong tea is partially oxidized and fermented. You can think of it as a mid-way spot in the total spectrum between a black and a green tea in both processing and flavor. Oolong is well suited for after meal enjoyment as traditionally it has been used to help with digestion.
Made from steamed tea leaves, green tea is full of antioxidant compounds such as polyphenols, and flavonoids that fight free radicals helping to ward off cellular damage. It does contain caffeine, but the impact of the caffeine is offset by the compound L-theanine, associated with a slow steady release of energy lasting several hours. L-theanine can help improve focus and concentration and calm nerves, without causing jitters.1
Uncured and unfermented, white tea is Camellia Sinensis in its gentlest form. Other types of tea (black and green for example) are cured, which means they are essentially cooked to soften the flavor and make them less bitter. Because white tea is made from young tender leaves, it has a smoother flavor naturally and does not need to be cured or fermented. White tea is significantly lower in caffeine than black and green teas. Like green tea, it also contains plentiful antioxidants.
Technically and infusion, rooibos tea is not made from Camellia leaves, but instead is made from oxidized leaves of the rooibos plant. These naturally caffeine-free leaves pack a mean punch of the best sort, as they’re loaded with antioxidants that can help to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.2 Drink it daily or even used topically as a wash or mask!
Herbal teas and fruit tisanes are a magical thing. They’re naturally caffeine-free, and there’s an herbal tea available for pretty much any need or occasion. These fantastic teas can be made from herbs, different spices and dried fruit combinations. The flavor combinations available are endless here – options ranging from amaretto and strawberry-lemonade to chamomile can satisfy any mood.
Go for Loose Leaf
Loose leaf tea is becoming more popular, likely because once steeped the flavor is much stronger than its bagged counterparts. Loose leaf tea is not constrained by the bag allowing the leaves room to open up and release more flavor. Many loose leaf teas are now infused with dried fruits and spices for optimal flavor. Go get yourself a cup of something delicious and enjoy!
Andrea Gnys (FitnessLeash.com) is inspired by the positive impact small changes in diet and lifestyle can have on overall longevity and wellness, one-step at a time. She is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer, committed to educating others about the benefits of plant-based nutrition and active living. Andrea is also a tea guru and lover of rescue animals.