A Bit about Camellia Sinensis and Caffeine

by TeaLady on February 7, 2012

Chinese tea fields

If you have been curious about white tea but were not sure what it is, here I intend to clarify this once and for all. White tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, orange pekoe and black tea are all derived from the same plant. Camellia Sinensis. There are many different strains of this plant and from different countries or different geographical areas of the same countries the plants will be very different to the taste. Even from the same location, the tea’s are grown differently to produce different effect. Harvesting times, and methods such as covering the plants to simulate a shade effect creates a million different subtle flavours to choose from. The Green tea is all the different types of leaf that have not necessarily been aged or fermented although sometimes they are slightly, they remain green. The black teas are dried and treated and aged in many different ways; too many to put into a blog post. But as the name suggests, they are no longer green. White tea is very special because only the young and new tops of the tea plant are harvested. That characteristic white “downy fur” on the leaves are common to many plants when they are very young and tender. This precious freshness is what makes the white tea so special and delicate to taste.

It is said that black teas have the most caffeine and green teas have less, and white teas have even less caffeine. While this is a loosely true guideline, it is impossible to predict the exact amount of caffeine which a tea will contain as there are too many variables. Season (what was the weather like when it was growing?), harvesting time, soil conditions, how long that product was on the shelf before you purchased it, exact ratio of tea to water, water temp and steeping time. Don’t get caught up in numbers or measurement of caffeine. Use your judgement, be moderate and listen to your body. If caffeine is an issue, keep in mind that the second and third infusion contains a dramatic drop in caffeine levels. Tests have shown that the levels of caffeine become barely negligible by the third infusion actually. Most of the caffeine then is highly soluble and the best jumpstart comes from your first steeping. I have heard from some worldly TCT customers who have encountered asian green tea drinkers who “pour off” the first infusion anyways; so this is an option if you love green tea but find that caffeine causes your body stress. Because this is a plant, there are so many healthful constituents to it and so many advantages of choosing to drink tea instead of coffees, colas, or sugary juices.

The benefits and pleasure derived from imbibing this wonderful, age-old, healthy beverage makes Camellia Sinensis the number one drink in the world.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

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