While teas do have distinct differences, black, white, green and oolong teas all come from a warm-weather evergreen tree called Camellia sinensis. The difference comes from the processing. As tea leaves are processed, they become darker, which means that white and green teas are less processed and therefore have lower levels of caffeine. Darker teas, by contrast, are dried, crushed and fermented.
Matcha is a powdered green tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. It is also used as an ingredient to flavor certain foods, like green tea ice cream or mochi, which is a traditional Japanese dish made from sticky rice. Matcha has become a popular drink because of its nutritional benefits—it is said to be high in a class of antioxidants known as cathechins, which are only found in green tea, and it is also a good source of chlorophyll as well as a natural mood enhancer.
These days, I occasionally start my day with a cup of Indian chai made from black tea, along with a squirt of a wonderful liquid chai spice mix that I found recently, a spoonful of honey or maple syrup and some warmed hemp milk or soy silk creamer (the hazelnut or vanilla Silk creamer is quite a delicious treat in tea).
If I'm having my chai later in the day, in order to avoid the 10 to 20 percent caffeine found in black tea, I'll use a Rooibos tea instead. Rooibos, also known as African Redbush tea, has become very popular recently. It was traditionally used in Africa to treat various health problems, including infant colic, digestive problems, asthma and allergies. It is also said to be high in antioxidants, and it is completely caffeine-free, so it can be enjoyed at any time of day.
Yerba Mate Tea
Yerba Mate, a tea native to the rainforests of Brazil and Argentina, is another tea that has gained popularity recently, again because of its high antioxidant properties and other nutritional benefits. I enjoy its smoky flavor and find it a wonderful tea to offer people who want to cut back on drinking coffee, as Yerba Mate has a stimulating effect from its naturally occurring caffeine, but without irritating the nervous system as coffee can.
Kukicha tea, also known as Bancha tea, is a staple in the macrobiotic diet. It is often referred to as "three-year tea" because it is made from the tea tree's twigs, stems and coarse leaves that have matured for up to three years in paper bags. Kukicha tea is said to be highly alkalizing, which is beneficial, as the majority of people tend to consume a diet rich in acid-forming foods such as meat, sugar, dairy products and refined carbohydrates. It is also a good source of calcium, zinc, selenium, copper and magnesium and is high in antioxidants.
Throughout my day, I enjoy a range of teas for their therapeutic benefits. These days, I'm drinking an Ayurvedic concoction made from a range of spices, to which I add fresh ginger. In Ayurveda, herbal blends are used therapeutically to balance the constitution and treat various conditions.
Learn which healing herbs and spices help treat health conditions