Learn about some of the most consumed teas and their properties
Black tea is made with the fresh leaves of the plant, which after oxidizing change their green color to a dark brown tone.
All the teas that we find in the market come from the same plant: Camellia sinensis. The classification between the different types is based on their production process (mainly the degree of fermentation/oxidation). These are some of the most consumed:
It comes from the leaves of the plant that is dissolved in hot water and consumed together with it, unlike the typical infusion of tea where leaves and fragments of the stem are used that are then discarded after the infusion.
As the nutritionist explains, the fact that its consumption is complete, that is, the leaf is not discarded once it has been infused, makes its contribution of antioxidants greater than in normal tea.
Although, as he points out, “the amount eaten is not greater than 1 or 2 grams, so the impact is considerably less than if other plant foods such as fruits, vegetables or vegetables are eaten, where the contribution of antioxidants will be greater. ”.
It is a variety that is characterized by coming exclusively from the first leaves of the bud of the tea plant, which are dried and chopped without fermentation.
González points out that among its many benefits is the ability to contribute to weight loss, both in the form of an infusion and as a supplement. This is due to its caffeine content, as well as compounds with antioxidant capacity such as catechins.
“The caffeine in tea can speed up metabolism, increasing energy expenditure by 5 to 8%,” he says.
Although it warns that several quality studies show that its intake or that of its extracts exerts significant effects in adults who are overweight or obese.
“A small effect is observed on the decrease in the percentage of fat mass, but it is not clinically relevant”, he clarifies.
Black and red tea
Black tea is made with the fresh leaves of the plant, which after oxidation change their green color to a dark brown tone, although it does not lose its flavor or aroma over time. It is the most caffeinated tea of all.
For its part, red tea is originally from the Chinese province of Yunnan, and for a long time it was known as the emperors’ tea, because it was for its exclusive use.
“It is unusual in China and, unlike other teas that are usually drunk fresh after harvest, the fermentation process in bamboo barrels is very long, and can range from 2 to 60 years. The red tea is acquired in compact balls that crumble before its preparation, which results in a copper-colored infusion ”, she explains.
The rest of teas
The white is the buds of the plant still unopened, hence its delicate aroma and flavor, which are dried at a low temperature in sunlight, without allowing them to oxidize.
The aroma of yellow is sometimes confused with that of black tea, but its flavor is still similar to that of white and green tea.
And blue doesn’t have the sweet, pinkish aroma of black tea or the strong herbal notes that characterize green tea.
Caffeine or theine?
Teas, like coffee, although to a lesser extent, contain caffeine. Theine is the colloquial term with which it is named in the case of tea, as if it were a different substance, but the amount of caffeine that both contain depends on many factors such as water, pressure, temperature or time of use. contact, among others.
“When we brew a tea, the caffeine is quickly extracted into hot water. If we have it for longer, other components such as polyphenols continue to come out. These substances are what give the tea color and astringency ”, he points out.
The longer in contact with water, we will obtain a tea with more color and more astringency. Those polyphenols are the same as those found in black wine and in the harsh taste of green fruit.
“They are the so-called tannins, and they have the effect of retaining substances as they pass through the digestive tract, which can delay or decrease the absorption of caffeine. It also has irritating effects on the gastric mucosa. Tannins are antioxidant substances and are in a higher proportion than in coffee. This means that when we drink tea, the caffeine we absorb is less than that of a coffee ”, he adds.