Tea: The World’s Most Beloved Drink

As the days cool off and the evening is met with a chill, there’s nothing like a hot drink to warm the bones–especially since ½ of our country is experiencing an artic chill! One of the most popular is a nice cuppa hot tea.  In fact, there’s been an explosion of growth in the world of tea in the U.S.  Tea drinking is popular with all age groups, and might be one of the reasons its popularity has grown so steadily at 32% annually since 2007.  But even without data, one just has to look at all the tea specialty shops popping up nationwide like David’s Tea, or Starbuck’s purchase of Teavana.  Another reason tea has become so popular is due to the purported health benefits.  The specialty tea industry growth is also connected to consumers who are both health conscious and interested in Eastern culture.  Tea becomes not just a drink but an experience, one that goes hand-in-hand with our modern culture of customization.

Health Blog created a beautiful infographic to help explain the various types of tea and their popularity and health benefits.  While some of those benefits have yet to stand the test of time, some are irrefutable like the high concentration of flavonoids.

All tea derives from an evergreen plant called Camellia sinensis, which is grown mostly in mountainous areas within countries such as China, Taiwan, India, Argentina and Kenya. As an aside, herbal “teas” such as chamomile are not actual teas because they don’t come from the Camellia sinensis plant.

You can see from below, the four types of tea are black, oolong, green and white--depending on how they are processed.  There is a fun legend in the tea world that Buddhist monks trained monkeys to harvest the youngest oolong leaves from the tops of wild tea trees.  Whether fact or fiction, it’s an interesting tid-bit the next time you are sipping a hot cup of oolong.

For more reading on tea, take a gander at this month’s infographic, or visit the links below it.