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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

40 / 100
Picture of Oolong Tea

Oolong Tea from Wei-Chuan

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: China
Jul. 11th, 2018

The standard tea bags are filled with chopped up tea. The heavily-roasted aroma is quite strong.

Oddly, the brewed tea isn't as aromatic as the dry tea bags. It's nice, but there's no complexity. It smells like tea that has already been steeped once.

The tea definitely tastes roasted. It's smooth and easy to dri...

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90 / 100

Edglets Loose Leaf Tea from Edglets Tea

Style: Black Tea – Region: ?????
Jul. 10th, 2018

This tea is a full bodied tea with an excellent taste. Not as cheap as some and not as expensive as others especially when stocks of it got lower and lower.

I have drunk this tea since I was little and once it was no longer in the shops I was able to get it direct from Bell Tea, however it seems like they have run ...

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70 / 100
Picture of Republic Darjeeling

The tea is made up of large, but broken pieces of leaf. The description says that the tea is graded TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe), though, which should be mostly whole leaves. There is a reasonable proportion of tips, so it is decent quality tea, but not as good as I expected from the description or the pri...

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90 / 100
Picture of Organic Silken Pu-erh

Organic Silken Pu-erh from DAVIDsTEA

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: Yunnan, China
Jul. 8th, 2018

I was in the area, so I decided to check out a David's Tea shop. In all honesty, it looked more like a candy store than a tea shop. It had all these colorful spoons and containers and most of their "teas" looked more like trail mix or confetti than tea (some of them had the ingredients to trail mix in them). I'd writte...

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53 / 100
Picture of Kokeicha (g)

Kokeicha (g) from De Theefabriek

Style: Kokeicha – Region: Japan
Jul. 3rd, 2018

I have no idea if I'm doing this right; I may update my review if there are any developments.

The loose tea is visually very interesting. Small dark green "sprinkles" that I believe I'm supposed to put directly into the cup and add hot water. They partly dissolve, making the liquid a lovely murky swamp green.
I am ...

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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
25
28 Ratings
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PG Tips Pyramid bags

Brand:PG Tips
Style:Black Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
60
24 Ratings
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Irish Breakfast

Brand:Twinings
Style:Irish Breakfast
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
36
22 Ratings
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English Breakfast

Brand:Twinings
Style:English Breakfast
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
15
17 Ratings
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Assam

Brand:Two Leaves Tea
Style:Assam
Region:Assam, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Sachet
46
15 Ratings

Top-Rated Pure Tea

Picture of Hu-Kwa Tea

Hu-Kwa Tea

Brand:Mark T. Wendell
Style:Lapsang Souchong
Region:Taiwan / Formosa
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
100
3 Ratings
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Honey Black Tea

Brand:Health & Tea
Style:Black Tea
Region:Taiwan / Formosa
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
99
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
Picture of Wild Snow Sprout Tea

Wild Snow Sprout Tea

Brand:Wild Tea Qi
Style:Green Tea
Region:Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
99
3 Ratings
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English Breakfast

Brand:Harney and Sons
Style:English Breakfast
Region:China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
99
4 Ratings

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

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