Tea originated in China as a medicinal drink and is now the second-most consumed beverage to water world-wide (though it is relatively less popular in the U.S.). Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, an evergreen shrub native to Asia. Technically, blends made from other plants or dried fruit are tisanes, not teas. It takes several years for a tea plant to bear leaves for harvest.
Teas by processing technique:
- White: Wilted and unoxidized
- Yellow: Unwilted and unoxidized, but allowed to yellow
- Green: Unwilted and unoxidized
- Oolong: Wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized
- Black: Wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized (called 'red tea' in China)
- Post-Fermented: Green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compost ('black tea' for the Chinese)
Tea by origin
Sri Lanka: Ceylon
India: Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri
Japan: Green tea, kelp tea, plum tea
Learn more about cultural tea traditions by origin here.
The United Kingdom is known to drink tea in high volume. However, a recent poll found that as consumers avoid biscuits, they also avoid tea.
Kombucha is a fermented tea. Check out these Kombucha cocktails.
Definitive guide to tea cocktails, by World of Tea