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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

55 / 100
Picture of English Afternoon

English Afternoon from Twinings

Style: Black Tea – Region: ?????
Jul. 15th, 2019

The box says that it's a blend of Keemun and Ceylon teas. There are notes of cocoa and dark bread crust and the flavor's quite complex for grocery store tea, but it's too bitter and astringent.

The tea gets better and mellows a bit as it cools. The cocoa becomes more pronounced and I can taste the sweetness from the...

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75 / 100
Picture of Xiaguan Te Ji Raw Pu-Erh Tuo

This is definitely a young sheng (raw) pu-erh and that's really about all I know about this tea. I'd yet to try sheng pu-erh (young or old), so when I saw it in an Asian, mom-and-pop grocery for $4, I had to try it. There's no date anywhere on the package, so I've no idea what year it's from, but it can't be very old b...

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93 / 100
Picture of China Black Special

China Black Special from TeaSource

Style: Black Tea – Region: Guangxi, China
Jun. 21st, 2019

TeaSource describes this tea as unusual, and I agree, and not just how it looks, and its origin (only my second tea I've ever tried from Guangxi) but also its flavor and aroma! I really loved this one and I found it easy to drink and enjoy.

The leaf is only lightly aromatic but the smell is very pleasant.

Upon st...

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81 / 100
Picture of Yunnan FOP

Yunnan FOP from TeaSource

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Yunnan, China
Jun. 19th, 2019

One of the most interesting teas I've tried in a while!

The dry leaf, which is quite aesthetic looking, smells very unusual and different. The aroma is strong, quite smoky and also herbaceous, with hints of malt and cocoa. It also reminds me a little bit of the smell of an ashtray though, and also of the "new car" s...

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91 / 100
Picture of Ceylon, Lumbini Estate, FBOP

This was an exceptional tea and without a doubt one of the best Ceylons I've sampled ever. I like Ceylons, but outside of the ones from teakruthi, it's rare I find ones that stand out. This is one of them!

The leaf looks very straightforward, made of large broken pieces of wiry leaf, uniform in texture and dark gray...

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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
3
29 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
26
18 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)

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