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Tea: Who Invented It and How It Is Made Semrushtools

Like all the online fights between Real Madrid and Barcelona fans, dog and cat people, there seems to be a dispute between those who love tea and those who vowed to stay loyal to coffee forever.

Though lots of people prefer coffee, when it comes to which of the two beverages has more historical value, a more significant number of varieties, the flexibility to be mixed with other ingredients, or the need to write an article about profound inventions humans came up with; tea definitely wins.

The word ‘tea’ in and of itself holds so much weight, metaphorically speaking. There are just so many things to mention, from where and when it originated, how long it has been consumed, what civilisation it is attached to, and how it spread to the rest of the world.


Basic, Herbal, or Blended?

So basic tea, discussed in this article, refers to the beverage made from the tea plant. This is known as plain or unblended, for it is not mixed with other ingredients. It also has five basic types.

On the other hand, herbal tea refers to any herb or spice infused in hot water. Though the resultant beverage does not have any actual tea powder in it, for some reason, it is still called by this name in the West. Thanks to the incredibly large number of spices and herbs, thousands of herbal tea varieties exist.

The third one is blended tea. This is a natural tea beverage blended with other ingredients. A famous type of it is Earl Grey. It mixes black tea with bergamot oil.

The Process

One might wonder, why are we processing tea and turning it into tiny pellets? Would infusing its fresh leaves into the water not be better in terms of taste and benefits? Not exactly.

In fact, the opposite is true. Tea processing intensifies its taste, aroma, and colour. This leads to a more enjoyable drinking experience. It was also found that making little changes to the stages of the process produces a new variety. Five primary types of unblended tea will be discussed in a bit.

So, how is it made?

Well, the process is pretty straightforward. The leaves are harvested, dried, crushed, boiled, and voila la, you have a cup of tea. When manufacturing it on much larger scales, each stage gets a bit complex.

The core idea of that process is fermentation or oxidation, which is done gradually over several steps. Oxidation changes the leaves’ chemical composition and intensifies their taste, colour, texture, and aroma. That is why the final pellets are dark brown, not green, and have a sweet, not bitter, taste.


If you remember from the third-grade science lesson, chlorophyll is a pigment in the leaves which gives them a green colour. So, when the leaves are plucked and exposed to the air, the chlorophyll enzymes combine with oxygen, and the green pigment starts to break down. As a result, the leaves gradually turn brown. The taste of the leaves also changes as they lose all the water inside them, that bitter juice, and therefore dry out.

Primary Types of Tea


All these types are different in aroma, taste, and colour. They are produced by making changes in the manufacturing process. It all boils down to how much the leaves are oxidised. This is mainly controlled by how long the withering, disruption, and fixation steps are applied. The longer the leaves are oxidised, the darker they will get and the stronger the flavour of the drink and vice versa.

Black Tea

This is one of the most popular and most consumed types in the world, as it is the darkest and the sweetest of them all. Black tea is 100% oxidised. That means it is withered, disrupted, and dried for longer than any other type.


Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is almost exclusively popular in China and Taiwan. It is partially oxidised, so it still looks dark and tastes strong but less than its black brother. It has different oxidation degrees, ranging between 8% and 80%.


As a result, oolong tea comes out in different tastes and levels of darkness. The 80% oxidised type is much darker than that with 8% oxidation, having more of a light golden colour.

Yellow Tea

As you can tell from the name, yellow tea is actually yellow. That means it has a low oxidation degree achieved by a short withering before it is dried and fixed. What makes this type distinct is that the leaves are wrapped and steamed for a short time before they are thoroughly dried.


Wrapping and steaming encourage oxidation but at a much slower rate. This gives the drink more of a creamy, smooth flavour as well as its yellow colour. The extra step is what usually takes a lot of effort. Some people consider yellow tea a better version of green tea thanks to its smooth taste compared to the latter’s grassy taste.

Green Tea

Like its yellow brother, green tea has a low oxidation level and a lighter colour than black and Oolong teas. But unlike its brother, green tea is famous worldwide though it originated in China too.

Over the past few decades, this type has been widely promoted as a magical beverage that improves metabolism and helps with weight loss.


Green tea is less oxidised than the yellow type. After harvesting, the leaves only go through a short period of air withering and are heated to stop oxidation. As a result, they preserve most of their antioxidants and chlorophyll. That is why it is green.

Again, the manufacturing process may differ from one place to another, which, in return, produces different tasting and smelling varieties.

Though green tea has been marketed as having many health benefits related to weight loss, scientists report no clinical evidence of these benefits. That said, the antioxidants and the anti-inflammatory content of it might ‘help’

White Tea

We first discussed the difference between unblended, blended, herbal teas, and chai. After that, we learnt how it was coincidentally invented around 2737 BC.


Then, we have dived into the tea-making process and how changing each step’s duration can result in a different type. Finally, we learnt a little about each of those types, along with their health benefits.

Since unsweetened tea has no calories, it can be consumed during intermittent fasting. And if you are not sure what that is, have only heard briefly of it, or would like to learn everything about intermittent fasting, make sure you check our article about it here.



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