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Well and Good: Tea Time

Did you know that tea is the second-most popular beverage in the world? Every day, the world consumes over 165 million cups of tea! That’s great, you say, but what tea should I drink? What’s the healthiest? We’re glad you asked!

Tea contains some of the most powerful antioxidants in the world. That’s important because antioxidants fight against the damage we do to our bodies by living everyday life. Studies have shown that from cancer to cholesterol to immunity, drinking tea can seriously reduce risk of disease. You might be surprised to hear that all tea is not created equal, and all tea is not really tea. Interested?

The word “tea” refers to leaves that come from a warm-weather evergreen tree known as Camellia sinensis. The longer the leaves are processed, the darker they get. That’s why we have black, green, white and oolong varieties. Green and white teas are barely processed; they’re only steamed. Black tea is the most processed, being dried, crushed and fermented. But, no matter the amount of processing, all tea still contains those all-important antioxidants.

But, what tea isn’t really tea? Herbal “tea” doesn’t come from the same plant as tea does. Created from an infusion of spices, flowers and herbs, this concoction, sometimes called red tea, contains no caffeine, and while beneficial, doesn’t seem to provide the benefits that tea does. So, what benefits does each tea have to offer?

Black Tea
The longer processing and fermenting time required to make black tea contributes to its strong, slightly bitter taste. Black tea has the highest caffeine levels of any tea. The polyphenols (an antioxidant) in black tea are considered to be at levels eight times higher than fruits and vegetables! So, if you can’t stand broccoli, a black chai tea latte might be the way to go.

Green Tea
Possibly the most well-known tea of all, green tea is packed with polyphenols and flavonoids. The reduced processing time and lack of fermentation required contributes to a milder, less bitter flavor. Green tea is said to have more antioxidant power than any other tea.

White Tea
White tea comes from young leaves of the Camellia plant. These leaves contain no color compounds, hence the name, white tea. This tea has the mildest flavor of any other tea, but don’t be fooled! It’s thought that white tea has greater cancer-fighting properties than any other tea. It also has less caffeine than any other tea.

Next time you’re at FRESH, check out our extensive bulk tea selection! Don’t be intimidated by the number of varieties. Choose one and try it out! And, as always, if you have questions or want to learn more, just ask. We’re here to help and share the wonders of tea (and food) with you.