About Tea

Types of tea: discover all about them.

Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to Asia. After water, it is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.

The types of tea are as follows: It can be oxidised to create black teas, commonly drunk in the West. Alternatively, they may be non-oxidised to create green teas. These are particularly appreciated for their health benefits as they are high in antioxidants. Semi-oxidised teas, known as oolongs are more complex in taste. There are also white teas made from the very young buds, very slightly oxidised, and leaf and rarely produced yellow tea, close in character to green teas.

Some teas, like Darjeeling and Chinese greens, have a cooling, slightly bitter, and astringent flavour, while others have vastly different profiles that include sweet, nutty, floral, or grassy notes.

Tea originated in China as a medicinal drink. It came to the West via Portuguese priests and merchants, introduced to it there during the 16th century. Drinking tea became fashionable among Britons during the 17th century, who introduced the plant to their possessions in India to bypass a Chinese monopoly. There is a huge history to tea and here you will find links to this and a time-line for tea over the centuries.

The phrase herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs made without the tea plant, such as steeps of rosehip, chamomile, or rooibos. These are also known as tisanes or herbal infusions to distinguish them from “tea” as it is commonly construed.

Click on the links on this page to learn more about buying, making and enjoying the UK’s national beverage. You can find more information in our blog articles or on UK Tea and Infusions.

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