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Non-herbal teas are widely popular around the world, just as much as herbal teas are. A lot of people tend to think that all tea is the same and that there’s no difference between herbal and non-herbal teas. With all the varieties of tea in the world, it’s hard to know which ones are non-herbal teas.
What are Non-Herbal Teas?
You can easily distinguish non-herbal teas from herbal teas. Just know that non-herbal teas or true teas come from one single plant, and you can identify them by their unique colors and tastes.
Black, green, white, and Oolong tea are the four main types of non-herbal teas. They all come from the Camellia Sinensis plant people consider them real tea. Each non-herbal tea has a different process that gives them different characteristics as well as changing the flavor and color.
There are additional teas that come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. They also come from either of the four main teas mentioned above. A good way to understand what non-herbal teas are is to learn more about these four main types of tea.
What is Black Tea?
Black tea is a heavily oxidized tea famous for its strong flavor. It’s one of the four true teas that come from the tea plant or Camellia Sinensis. It’s popular in America because it goes great with milk and has a long shelf life.
You can hear some people calling it “red tea”, mostly in China, because of the color of the infusion. The leaves give off a red color the first few seconds when you steep this tea.
Black tea is one of the strongest teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant and has a high caffeine level. One cup of black tea usually contains roughly 50 to 90 mg. Some different varieties of black tea include:
These different types of black tea go through different processes that give them different flavors and characteristics.
What is Green Tea?
Unlike black tea, manufacturers preserve green tea quickly after picking. Green tea leaves don’t follow the same oxidation process black tea leaves do. Black tea leaves are left for a long time to oxidize, whereas they heat green tea leaves right away so they get less oxidation.
This different process creates a few variations of the tea. What time of the year they pick it, the way they grow it, the way they heated it, the shape of the leaves and whether they have been chemically altered or not. All this affects the resulting product. Some of these green tea variations are:
The caffeine content in green tea can vary depending on the type. If we are generally speaking about a regular green tea that hasn’t been altered through the traditional process, it contains about 24 to 40 mg per cup.
What is White Tea?
White tea has a very delicate flavor and color. It’s high in antioxidants and has the lowest caffeine content out of all the real teas. White tea leaves come from the buds or immature tea leaves of the tea plant. These are leaves that haven’t opened yet. Manufacturers pick these before they can fully mature.
White tea is popular for its light, fruity flavor. This makes them blend deliciously with fruit teas and flower petals. White teas can contain as little as 6 mg per cup. However, depending on the process it goes through, it can get up to 60 mg of caffeine per cup.
Some types of white tea include:
- Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle)
- Bai Mudan (White Peony)
- Darjeeling White Tea
- Ceylon White Tea
What is Oolong Tea?
Oolong tea is the strongest of the four main types of tea that come from the Camellia Sinensis plant, after black tea. Some people also call it “wulong” or “black dragon”. Oolong is a partly oxidized Chinese tea.
Due to the many ways of oxidation, Oolong tea has many different flavors associated with it. It typically has a roast or grassy taste. Most manufacturers roll the tea leaves after picking them and they can shape these in different forms.
Oolong tea is neither green nor black tea. Because of this, it’s its own type of tea and can taste different depending on the process.
Hopefully, you have a clearer idea of what non-herbal teas are. They’re simply four types of tea that come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. This unique plant sets non-herbal teas apart from the many distinct plants that make up herbal teas.
Scott is the founder of TeaMinded. He enjoys tasting and discovering teas from across the globe, with green teas and ceremonial matcha from Japan being among his favorites. He’s grateful to be immersed in the tea community, always learning and sharing along the journey.