Types of Tea

Types of Tea

Posted by Ashley Davis on

Types of Tea: Ultimate Guide to Benefits, Prep, and More

The Tea Associates of the USA reports that tea is the most highly consumed beverage worldwide next to water.

Over 159 million Americans drink tea every day, and tea appears in 80% of American households.

If you are one of the millions currently enjoying tea or you're new to the club but want to learn more, we’ve put together this guide of 16 types of tea for you to explore.

16 Types of Tea and How To Enjoy Them

Out of all the types of tea, black tea is the most widely consumed and recognized. It's delicious, nutritious, budget-friendly, and incredibly versatile. Let’s look at its history, benefits, and how to enjoy the best cup possible.

Black tea

Black tea is the most oxidized of all tea types. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that happens when tea leaves mingle with air. The flavor and aroma change as the tea leaves darken, giving black tea its customary flavor.

The history of black tea dates back to ancient China. During the 17th century, it gained popularity as Europe established trade routes with India and China. Today, black tea production happens all over the world, including regions in India, Sri Lanka, China, Kenya, and Nepal.

The Health Benefits of Black Tea

Black tea has many health benefits including:

Antioxidants: Black tea is rich in antioxidants like theaflavins, thearubigins, and catechins, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Heart Health: Studies by UCLA Health have discovered that the more tea study participants drank, the lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Alertness: Due to its caffeine content, black tea can help increase alertness and concentration, making it a popular choice for morning beverages.

Digestive Health: Black tea contains tannins that can have a beneficial impact on digestion and gut health, making it easier on the tummy than a more acidic beverage like coffee.

How to Prepare Black Tea

Use high-quality tea leaves - Magic Hour offers many blends of rich black tea, including the delectable Chocolate-Raspberry-Rose blend, Vanilla Earl Grey, and Bohemian Breakfast Black Tea.

Image source: Magic Hour Vanilla Earl Grey tea blend in a black bag and a black bottle

Steep at the right temperature - typically black tea brews at 200–212°F (93–100°C). Use fresh, filtered water for the best results.

Don’t oversteep - the perfect steep time is subjective to personal taste, though the rule of thumb is 3-5 minutes. The longer the brew, the stronger the taste. Leave your leaves steeping for too long, and your black tea will become bitter.

Shop Black Tea

Oolong tea

Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea. Its oxidation is between black and green tea, making it a variety all its own.

Its chemical makeup includes catechins, which are strong antioxidants, making it a great (and delicious) part of your health routine.

When preparing Oolong tea, allow your water to boil and then cool to 85°F (30°C).

Adding milk isn't recommended for Oolong, as it can disrupt the delicate flavors of the tea.

Magic Hour offers many cognitive-enhancing Oolong blends, including Carmel Apple, Mango Jasmine, and Blueberry Cheesecake.

A gold teapot is positioned beside a full, ornate teacup filled with Ti Quan Yin Oolong: Tea of Patient Compassion. In the center, a glass bowl contains loose Ti Quan Yin Oolong: Tea of Patient Compassion leaves with a spoon resting inside. Some loose leaves are scattered around the bowl on the white surface, hinting at their wellness benefits.

Shop Oolong Tea

Pu-erh tea

Pu-erh is a rich and dark fermented tea. Its flavor can be divisive, especially among new tea drinkers. But many enjoy its robust, earthy aroma and taste.

Originating in SouthWest China, Pu-erh is commonly crafted into bricks or tea cakes and wrapped in paper.

It also comes as a loose-leaf tea, such as Magic Hour’s Sin Eraser blend, crafted with a dark chocolate flavor, in addition to Peppermint Bark and Lemon Meringue Pu-erh teas.

When preparing, use 1 teaspoon of tea for every 8 ounces of water.

Image source: glass jar of Magic Hour’s “Sin Eraser” Pu-erh tea blend

A wooden tray holds a bowl filled with loose leaf Sin Eraser™: Puerh Tea by Magic Hour and a spoon resting on top. Beside the bowl is a glass cup filled with brewed tea, casting a shadow on the tray. The scene suggests a tea preparation setup with warm, inviting aromas and rich health benefits.

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Green tea

Unlike its black tea counterparts. Green tea isn't oxidized. This makes it one of the least processed types of tea.

Green tea is older than black tea. Its origins trace back to 2737 BC. For thousands of years, all tea was green tea.

It’s made by steeping fresh leaves from the Camellia sinensis bush without any oxidation. Because of this, green tea is amongst the freshest and most refreshing of all tea types.

In addition to the antioxidants, heart health, and cognitive benefits of other teas, green tea also positively influences metabolism and aids in burning fat.

Enjoy a wide selection of green teas from the Magic Hour Shop.

A white ceramic teacup filled with light Sencha Kyoto Green Tea rests on a uniquely shaped white saucer. Loose green tea leaves, rich in antioxidants and known to boost metabolism, are scattered around the saucer and teacup on a soft pink background. The image is well-lit, highlighting the texture of the leaves and the tea's color.

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White tea

Like green tea, white tea undergoes minimal processing. White tea earns its name from the young flower buds covered in fine white hairs.

White tea is often described as being “delicate” including more floral and fruity notes than green or black teas.

Generally, white tea is more forgiving when it comes to steep times. Still, the 3–5 minute rule of thumb applies if you want to be careful not to attain a bitter flavor.

The Honeysuckle Moon white tea blend by Magic Hour is an especially refreshing blend. It also offers immune-boosting, inflammation-soothing, and skin-beautifying ingredients.

A glass cup of clear liquid sits on a polished pink stone slab with metallic gold edges. Dried Club Magic Hour Silver Moon White Tea leaves are scattered on the surface of the slab and the surrounding area. Shadows of the cup and tea leaves fall on the light pink background.

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Purple tea

There are three unique variants of purple tea, Ye Sheng, Zi Cha, and Zi Juan.

Ye Sheng is quite bitter when the leaves are young. However, it ages into a more robust and complex flavor.

Zi Cha is the rarest of the blends. It grows all over the Yunnan province of China but accounts for less than 1% of cultivated tea in that region.

Zi Juan is a human-made variety developed in the late 90s. Purple tea leaf cuttings from the Wu Yi area combined with local Yunnan Assamica plants to create a wholly new and unique variety.

It also has all of the same health benefits as its counterparts, including anti-inflammation properties and metabolism support.

Matcha

Matcha is a green tea ground into a fine powder. The powder is then whisked into hot water or milk.

Matcha is vibrant green and strong in taste.

Because the entire tea leaf is in the Matcha (as opposed to steeped in a bag and then thrown out) you absorb more of the antioxidant and metabolism-boosting effects.

You prepare matcha a little differently than other teas.

Preparing Matcha Tea

  1. Gently sift 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder into a cup or bowl. Matcha clumps very easily, so this avoids unwanted lumps
  2. Don't use boiling water. It can scorch your matcha. Instead, heat to about 160–175°F or 70-80°C
  3. Pour a small amount into your cup, about 2 ounces
  4. Whisk vigorously from side to side until the powder has dissolved and a smooth foam has formed.
  5. Add more water or steamed milk for your desired consistency

The strong umami taste may take some adjusting for some. You can sweeten your matcha with maple syrup or honey to taste. Choose from Magic Hour’s array of pristine matcha blends.

Shop Matcha & Matcha Accessories

Mate tea

Unlike the majority of teas that come from the Camellia sinensis plant, Mate comes from the leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis.

Mate has an earthy flavor and is on the sweeter side. It has slightly less caffeine than coffee but is good for helping you feel more alert and focused.

Mate brews much like Matcha. You don’t want to boil your water, but rather have it at a pleasant 160–175°F.

Traditionally, one drinks mate (also called yerba mate) through a metal straw called a bombilla.

However you’re enjoying your mate, you can’t go wrong with Magic Hour’s Green Grape Yerba mate.

Designed to serve cold, this blend will delight and rejuvenate with its nourishing symphony of flavors.

A decorative gold tray holds a dark green bottle of organic tea labeled "Green Grape Yerba Mate: Cosmic Garden Iced Tea" by Magic Hour, with images of flowers, herbs, and fruits. The tray also has a small wooden bowl filled with loose tea leaves and a gold spoon resting beside it.

Sip Green Grape Yerba Mate 

Image source: dark bottle of mate tea blend from Magic Hour

Herbal tea

As the name suggests, herbal teas contain herbs, spices, fruits, and other plant materials. Seldom do they contain any “true” tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. This also means that they don't contain caffeine, and therefore have a more calming effect than black or green teas.

Historically, herbal teas treated everything from pregnancy to headaches and are still studied for their medicinal properties.

Below are some of the most popular herbal teas and their benefits.

  • Rooibos - Rooibos is best for promoting heart health. Daily intake of this tea shows a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and reduced blood pressure.

  • Peppermint - Peppermint tea calms and soothes, particularly in the digestive tract. This makes it ideal for stomach upsets and menstrual cramps.

  • Hibiscus - Hibiscus tea is high in vitamins, minerals, and chemical compounds that help prevent disease.

  • Ginger root - Ginger root is wonderful for soothing nausea. It can also aid in digestion.

  • Chamomile - Chamomile improves sleep, reduces anxiety, and has an overall calming effect.

  • Cinnamon - When cinnamon is in an herbal blend, it reduces inflammation, stabilizes blood sugar, and improves heart health.

  • Rosehips - Rosehips are a great immune system booster. It also reduces joint pain and promotes skin health.

Magic Hour offers dozens of caffeine-free herbal delights for you to choose from. Expand your collection or try something new!

Tea FAQs

"Does tea expire?"

Tea doesn't expire like perishable foods do. However, tea will lose freshness and flavor over time.

"How to store tea?"

Store tea in air-tight containers away from heat and light to preserve freshness for 1–2 years.

"How is the tea fermented?"

Tea fermentation is also called oxidation. It's the process of allowing the enzymes in the tea leaves to react with the oxygen in the air. This process changes the chemical compounds in the tea leaves.

Enjoy a Cup

There are so many delicious varieties of tea to choose from! We hope you enjoyed exploring this list.

Choose a tea based on your favorite flavor profile or desired health benefits. Prepare with fresh, filtered water and steep to your desired strength before enjoying

If you can’t choose, take the Magic Hour Tea Quiz to find the specific tea blends curated just for you!

 

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