The various types of Tea

Tea is a very old beverage supposed to be born in China, 5000 years ago. Tea is produced from tea bush, Camelia sinensis, belonging to theaceae botanical family. Endemic in far east regions, it’s a species close to camellia found in our gardens. Today, it’s the second most drunk beverage in the world, just after water. 36000 cups are consumed each second.

There are various types of teas and similar beverages. These variations are due to plant origin and process. (Picture from “Le comptoir Irlandais” website, https://www.comptoir-irlandais.com)


White tea: made with tea buds, very short harvesting period, just dried. Rare Tea with a very fine taste.

Green tea:  heated after harvesting to stop fermentation process.

Black tea: fermented after harvesting. Fermentation provide a particular taste. This black teas is often used for flavored tea.

Blac tea  Pu-er : Chines tea with long fermentation and oxydation process.

Oolong tea: halfway between green tea and black tea. Light flavor. Often drunk with sugar.

Smoked tea: A tea smoked with wood fire. Very particular

Flavored teas: made with flowers (jasmine tea), spices, or essential oils. All types of teas can be used as base, but black teas is very commonly used.

Rooibos tea: (or red tea) : Not made from tea bush, but from a South African plant with yellow flowers belonging to Fabaceae family (broom, beans). It can be green or fermented and consumed cold or hot. Rooibos teas has no thein and can be drunk at night.

Honeybush: Another plant traditionally consumed in South Africa for cold and hot drinks (honey flavor). This plant with yellow flowers is also from Fabaceae family.

Mate: traditional beverage in Argentina and in whole South America. Made from roasted and dried grass. Yerba Mate contains caffeine. This plant is close to holly (botanical genus : Ilex)

Chai tea:  Indian tea (Chaai means tea in Hindi, like Cha means tea in Chinese). Flavored with spices (ginger, etc.)

Hybiscus Brew: From Africa, used for Karkade fabrication Karkade is a beverage made with dried leaves and flowers).

Orzo brew:  Traditional beverage made with Barley (Barley Coffee)

Red tea from American Indians: Made from Monarda (Monarde dydima) also called red plant, or American Mint, Golden Melissa.  This plant is from the lamiaceae family, like mint, lavender, sage. Coming from North America, this plant was used by first settlers to replace tea. This plant was already used by native people. This beverage is also called Oswego tea. The flavor is like bergamot.


All these teas and beverages can be consumed hot or hot and associated with various ingredients providing aromas and other benefits.

Did you know?

The real tea bush has nothing to do with tea tree found in Australia. The tea tree can grow up to 4 to 7 meters and is used for essential oils production. The tea tree belongs to Melaleuca alternifolia species. Tea tree name is supposed to come from captain Cook travel around the world, when in 1770, he reached Australia. The sailors prepared tea with this tree leaves.