Guide: The best tea for you

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Almost all tea originates from the same plant, camellia sinesis. Tea varieties are created through different harvesting methods and growing regions. Here's a quick look at the major types of tea.


Unprocessed and mostly unoxidized camellia leaves. Expect the lightest colors and aromas when steeped.


Produced by extending the process of making green tea, leaves are repeatedly rolled then left to oxidize; the deeper the oxidization, the more floral or fruit characteristics.


The darkest type of tea is created by oxidizing camellia leaves longer than other styles. Expect reddish-brown colors when brewed. Black teas are most commonly enjoyed with milk and sugar and typically serve as a base for iced tea.


An herbal tea known as red or bush tea, rooibos is made from the leaves of the South African red bush. Expect toasty, grassy and fruity notes.


A South American herbal tea made from the yerba mate shrub, expect grassy and slightly astringent flavors similar to green tea.


Chai originates in India and references black tea mixed with spices. It's often served sweetened and with milk.


Like white tea, green tea is largely un-oxidized, but leaves are lightly heated (to dry them) and then rolled. The heat produces grassy flavors and aromas.