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Pure Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Wikipedia: Tea 
Last Updated: Aug. 8, 2017 

About Pure Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Growing tea shoots, showing new leaves and buds, with blurry forested backgroundTea Leaves and Shoots, Hawaii, © Forest and Kim Starr, CC BY 2.0.

What is tea?

Tea (Chinese 茶) is a beverage made from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The words for tea in many languages come from the root cha or chai. RateTea classifies teas in this category that are made exclusively from the tea plant; such teas are often called pure teas, unflavored teas, or, less commonly, straight teas, in contrast to flavored teas, which contain tea together with other ingredients.

Tea is usually classified based on how it is processed, which loosely corresponds to its level of oxidation--a process that darkens the tea and changes the color. Fully oxidized tea is called black tea, and unoxidized tea is called green tea (white tea is also mostly unoxidized). Oolong tea is a partially-oxidized tea that is often also roasted. Another class of tea, Pu-erh, is usually considered as a category of its own. Oxidation is sometimes called "fermentation", and black tea is described as "fermented", but this is misleading as there is no proper fermentation process happening as with vinegar or alcoholic drinks.

Woman picking tea in a tea field on a gentle slopeMost tea is made out of young leaves and buds, like this woman in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka is picking. Photo © Kosala Bandara, CC BY 2.0.
Most tea is made primarily out of leaves and leaf buds, although some teas are made out of only mature leaves and others are made only out of buds. A few teas, such as Kukicha, are made from twigs and stems, and some teas include a few bits of stem as well. Tea is also a flowering plant, and rarely, tea flowers are used to make a tea.

When the word "tea" is used by itself it usually refers to the tea plant. However, the word "tea" is also used together with other terms to describe other drinks made from steeping other plants in water. Teas that do not come from the Camellia sinsensis plant are usually referred to as "herbal teas", "herb teas", or "tisanes".

Traditionally, in most parts of the world, nearly all tea consumed and produced was black tea. Outside of Southeast Asia, the term tea is often assumed to mean black tea. However, the tea industry is changing rapidly, and green, white, and oolong teas are becoming more popular both among tea drinkers in black-tea-loving countries, and tea growers in areas that historically only produced black tea are also beginning to produce more of these other styles of tea.

Recent Pure Tea Reviews — RSS rss icon

70 / 100
Picture of Baker Street Afternoon Blend

I have ordered this tea many times over the years, and am surprised I did not rate it yet. In the past it has been a well-priced and full-flavored tea experience, and a go-to when I wanted something malty and smoky, with a little milk and no sugar. My most recent purchase of it was less enjoyable. This time a harsh,...

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84 / 100
Picture of

Thanks Dewey for sharing this with me! This was a smooth, mellow, mild green tea that was easy to brew and enjoy.

The leaf of this smells very fresh, a sort of sweet fragrance, almost floral, typical of high-quality, tippy Chinese green teas. It's pleasant but also hard to anticipate how it is going to taste, so I w...

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94 / 100
Picture of Yunnan

This tea is really good! It’s aromatic and bready smelling which I like. The taste is really smooth and it has a complex flavor with slight bitterness but in a good way! This is a really enjoyable tea!

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91 / 100
Picture of Editors' Blend Tea Bags

Murchie's carries so many different tea blends that it takes a long time—years, at a normal tea-drinking pace—to get around to trying most of them. I wish this one had landed on my porch sooner! This may be the richest, smoothest, fullest-bodied all-black tea blend of theirs, or anybody's for that matter, that I'...

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87 / 100
Picture of Jinggu

This tea is pretty smooth and easy to drink, however it is a bit boring and doesn’t have a super strong aroma. I’m still giving it a highish score just because it is a comforting tea to drink and it doesn’t have any outwardly negative qualities like being too harsh or astringent.

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Review 91 teas to get on this list!

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Most-Rated Pure Tea

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Black Tea

Brand:Lipton Tea
Style:Black Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
4
31 Ratings
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PG Tips Pyramid bags

Brand:PG Tips
Style:Black Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
25
24 Ratings
No image of this tea

Irish Breakfast

Brand:Twinings
Style:Irish Breakfast
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
38
23 Ratings
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English Breakfast

Brand:Twinings
Style:English Breakfast
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
14
20 Ratings
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Assam

Brand:Two Leaves and a Bud
Style:Assam
Region:Assam, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Sachet
55
15 Ratings

Top-Rated Pure Tea

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Bao Zhong Oolong Tea

Brand:Rishi Tea
Style:Pouchong Tea
Region:Taiwan / Formosa
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
100
3 Ratings
Picture of Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe

Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe

Brand:Verdant Tea
Style:Da Hong Pao
Region:Wuyi, Fujian, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
99
3 Ratings
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Honey Black Tea

Brand:Health & Tea
Style:Black Tea
Region:Taiwan / Formosa
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
98
3 Ratings
Picture of Wild Snow Sprout Tea

Wild Snow Sprout Tea

Brand:Wild Tea Qi
Style:Green Tea
Region:Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
98
3 Ratings
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Formosa Amber Oolong Select

Brand:Upton Tea Imports
Style:Amber Oolong
Region:Taiwan / Formosa
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
98
3 Ratings

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Pure Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Browse All Pure Tea (Camellia sinensis) (3942)Brands of Pure Tea (Camellia sinensis)

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