There are many varieties of tea. The four main types of tea are White, Green, Oolong, and Black. All of these varieties come from the same Camellia Sinensis. The difference between them lies in the amount of time each leaf is left to oxidize before being steamed or dried to end the fermentation process.
White tea is the least processed of all of the teas. This allows for the most significant amount of healthful benefits to remain in the leaves, infusing each cup with a medicine cabinet full of antioxidants to be enjoyed in each cup. White tea is deceiving as each cup is very light, and delicately flavoured even as it packs the largest punch in terms of the number of health benefits.
Green tea is fermented slightly longer by allowing the leaves to dry slightly in the sun encouraging a slight oxidation process to take place. The leaves are them steamed or dried in a hot pan similar to a large wok, thus ensuring the end of the fermentation process while sealing in many of the same health benefits of the white tea. Green tea offers a slightly more vegetal, or even fruity flavor than a white tea, and can range from very pale green to a light coppery color depending on how long the leaves were left to ferment.
While black tea is steeped for the longest period of time, resulting in the most pungent of all the teas, there is a very little know Oolong. It is left to oxidize longer than green tea, but not quite as long as black. The result is a very unique vegetal tasting brew that also resembles the slightly pungent aroma of a black tea. This little gem has recently been touted as a fantastic weight loss aid due to its metabolism enhancing effects.
There are many health benefits associated with drinking any of these teas. These will be explored in later articles with associated links.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that many hot beverages commonly thought of as tea are not truly teas because their leaves are not plucked from the Camellia Sinensis. This would include fruit teas where a selection of dried fruits are steeped in boiling water, and often called tea. perhaps it is poured over ice and drank as an iced tea.