There is a saying, “Tea is always a good idea.” Whether hot, iced, green, or black, tea gives you a calming and relaxing effect. Plus, the chilly weather we’re experiencing now is the perfect backdrop for snuggling in bed with a good book and a warm cup of tea. Here, we give you a basic tea primer, so you can start getting to know your new feel-good brew.

Tea contains L-theanine
If you feel relaxed after taking a few sips, thank L-Theanine—the ingredient that is said to have both antioxidant and relaxant effects. It’s also credited to help in reducing stress and decreasing anxiety. This wonder element in tea could also help you with your mental alertness or arousal.

Some teas take longer to brew than others
Not all teas are created equal. Different types should be brewed at different temperatures for different lengths of time to bring out the best qualities of a given tea. If you steep a tea too long, chances are you’ll be scrunching your nose out of the drink’s bitterness instead of actually enjoying it.

There are four main types of tea: White, Green, Oolong, and Black
While there are many variations of tea, did you know that there are only four main types? White tea is made from a leaf that has the least oxidation which means it hold the most natural elements of the plant. Green is made from un-oxidized leaves and is one of the less processed types of tea (but white is the least). Oolong tea on the other hand, is produced through a unique process, including withering the plant under the strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. It’s been said that Oolong can help reduce cell damage and protect the body from cancer and other diseases. Meanwhile, black tea is more oxidized, giving it a stronger taste. According to Harvard Health Publications, people who consume green and black tea often slash their risk for heart diseases.

Tea vs. Herbal Tea: The Difference
Don’t be fooled, herbal tea is different from real tea. The latter comes from the plant Camellia Sinenses while the other is usually made from dried flowers, fruits, or herbs steeped in boiling water (no actual tea leaves are included). The different types of tisanes (beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water) are categorized by the plant they come from. So if you’re thinking of buying some tea, look at the label first and make sure that it’s actually “real tea” you’re buying.

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Photo: Flickr via Creative Commons ; Utility Journal

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