Where Does Tea Come From?


From black, green and white to oolong and rooibos, tea comes in many varieties and flavors, originating from plants, herbs, fruit and flowers. Explore where it comes from, popular varieties and flavor profiles. From there, you can choose which is best for you to create the perfect cup for your “me time” moment.

The Origins of Tea

types of teaBlack, green and oolong tea all actually come from the same plant – Camellia sinensis. The leaves from the small shrub are used to create the tea. Once harvested, they dry the leaves and bundle them up into the little bags we’re all familiar with. What sets them apart from each other is the amount of oxygen exposure in the drying and rolling process. The oxidization affects the flavor profile.

From there, you can make loose leaf tea into a concentrate. Concentrate is a great solution if you’re too busy to craft a cup or if you want to make large batches for cocktails or future use. You can make a concentrate by simply doubling or tripling the amount of tea you would use. Then you can dilute that that very strong tea with either milk or water when you’re ready to drink it. Oregon Chai concentrates are an even simpler solution, as they’re ready to use right out of pack.

Varieties to Explore

Black Tea – Made from fully oxidized or almost fully oxidized Camellia sinensis plants, it carries malty and earthy flavor notes. Popular varieties include Darjeeling, Earl Grey, English breakfast and of course, chai. Consumers associate it as a natural means of energy support.

Green Tea – Made from unoxidized Camellia sinensis plants, it provides grassy and nutty notes. Popular varieties include Matcha and sencha. It’s known as a “superfood” among consumers, and they associate it with a variety of functional benefits like energy support, beauty and weight management.

Oolong Tea – Made from partially oxidized Camellia sinensis plants. Depending on the oxidization level, flavor notes vary from floral to sweet to grassy. Popular varieties include Ti Kuan Yin and Dan Cong.

White Tea – Made from slightly oxidized new growth buds of the Camellia sinensis plant. It carries sweet, floral and delicate flavor notes. Popular varieties include silver needle and white peony.

Herbal Varieties

There are also other varieties that don’t come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Here are a few popular ones that you’ve probably seen before:

Herbal Tea – Herbal tea is a bit different from those mentioned above. It’s made from infused dried herbs, fruits and flowers. Flavor notes can obviously vary, depending on the ingredients. People often associate functional benefits with herbal varieties, such as chamomile with sleep support and peppermint with digestion and energy support.

Rooibos Tea – Rooibos is another herbal variety, made from partially oxidized dried rooibos plants. It provides a nutty, sweet taste and the longer you brew it, woody notes can also appear. There’s red rooibos and green rooibos, with red being more full-bodied and green being more delicate.

Different varieties are associated with different functional benefits. From energy and sleep support to weight management, added functionality in tea resonates with consumers.

Now that you know more about the different kinds of tea, you can find the perfect one to create your next me time moment. Cuddle up with a book and sip a mug of chamomile to wind down for the day. Enjoy some chai during your next work break. For more me time moment inspiration, visit the Oregon Chai blog or make one our chai-inspired recipes.

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