Taste the difference

Taste the difference

Therapeutic Beverage

A hot steaming cuppa is enough to make your day and add vitality to your health.

All types of tea come from the same plant camellia sinensis. They vary on the basis of their leaves after they are harvested from the tea bush, processed for consumption and their therapeutic qualities.

There are more than 10 types of tea including common ones like green tea, black tea, white tea and oolong tea.

These names describe the tea leaves of the same plant after their processing in different ways. Besides, there are subtypes of all these tea. Belgium-based tea connoisseur Neetu Sarin, who recently held a tea tasting and brewing session at Gallery Art Positive, feels that green and white teas have the least oxidation and they are good for health.

“Just like all wines are made from grapes, all types of tea come from the same plant camelia sinensis. Different varieties of the same plant have developed in different geographic locations. Processing tea in different way creates different kinds of tea,” she says.

Oxidisation is a chemical reaction that takes place when tea leaves are picked and begin to wither and die. Green tea is good for health as it is not allowed to oxidise and is quickly dried and pan-fried to dehydrate the leaves for storage. This process keeps the health benefits of the tea intact.

Nutrition and dietitian Mona Goel says that green tea, for which small leaves are plucked, is rich in poly-phenols and phyto-nutrients which is required by the body. “Green tea contains anti-oxidants which is needed by the body. It helps the digestive system and in reducing weight,” Mona says.

White tea is very similar to green tea in the way it is processed, but differs in taste. According to studies, white tea has cancer fighting anti-oxidants.

“As green and white tea have the least oxidation, they are good for health. They are also lower in caffeine. White tea is also less oxidised and is less on caffeine just like green tea, but its consumption is limited in India,” she says.

Unlike green, white tea and oolong tea, black tea is allowed to oxidise which makes it stronger in flavour and higher in caffeine. “Black tea has components which interfere with absorption of nutrients. So, it should be avoided immediately before or after the meal,” says the dietitian.

Oolong tea leaves are oxidised lesser than black tea leaves but more than green and white tea leaves. This makes it fall between the category of black tea and green and white tea in terms of processing. Their leaves are laid out to wither for about 8 to 24 hours after which it goes through a long process before coming in ready to use form. Oolong tea is said to help in reducing cholesterol and stress.

“Types of tea and their health benefits also differ on the way in which it can be made. For instance green tea or white when scented with the infusion of rose petals, jasmine flowers and chamomile flowers will give three separate flavours,” Neetu says.

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