What is in your Cuppa Tea
The three primary components of brewed tea (also called the "liquor") are:
- Essential Oils
- these provide tea's delicious aromas and flavors.
- these provide the "briskness" or astringency in the mouth and are the components that also carry most of the health benefits of tea.
- found naturally in coffee, chocolate, tea and Yerba Mate, caffeine provides tea's natural energy boost.
An often-surprising fact to tea novices is that all teas (Black, Green, Oolong, White and Pu'erh) come from the same plant. The scientific name of this versatile plant is Camellia sinensis (it's actually related to the lovely camellia flowers seen in botanical gardens and landscapes). Camellia sinensis is a sub-tropical evergreen plant native to Asia but now grown around the world. The tea plant grows best in loose, deep soil, at high altitudes, and in sub-tropical climates. So, in short, "tea" is anything derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. Anything else, while sometimes called "tea", is more accurately referred to as an herbal tea or tisane. Tisanes include chamomile, rooibos and fruit teas.
All tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The styles of tea are produced by altering the shape and chemistry of the leaf, unromantically called 'processing' or 'manufacture'.