I had never heard of “Tea-M-Z”, but they believe they’ve uncovered a tea types scandal. Their cameras followed me around all week and finally confronted me with their accusation.

“Did you say you liked black better than white”? they probed. These celebrity tabloid TV shows are always looking for the next big scoop, even if they have to create one themselves. I told them that I prefer black tea in the morning and white tea in the evening, that there is nothing scandalous about that.

I’m a big fan of tea, and the health benefits and the variety of subtle to robust flavors it provides. I find the exploration of different tea types to be similar to a wine hobby. Tea and wine are very similar. There are great regions to grow grapes, and outstanding regions to grow tea. The region from which it is grown will always dictate the nuances in aroma and flavor.

Some wines are further fermented and aged. Other wines are “nouveau”, or young wines. The same is true for types of tea. Black teas are processed and sometimes aged. Green teas are young.

Here’s a quick primer on major tea types, their usage and benefits:

1) Black Tea – Black tea leaves are fully processed using oxidation or fermentation of the leaves. After being picked, the leaves are laid out to dry for up to 24 hours. Their then rolled to crack the surface so that oxygen will react with the enzymes in the tea and begin the oxidation process. This is where the leaves turn a deep black color.

Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains about half the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. Black tea may lower “bad” cholesterol, and slow the spread of prostate cancer.

Brew black tea with water that is just below the boiling point, about 205F or 98C. Using 1 Tablespoon of tea per 8 ounces of water, it’s placed in a wire basket so that the hot water can be poured OVER the tea. Steep for 4-5 minutes for a perfect cup.

2) Green Tea – is processed much less than black teas. It isn’t fermented or oxidized, so it’s closer to the natural state when picked.

Green tea has a long list of suspected health benefits including weight loss using the EGCG complex found in this type. It’s believed to help in cancer prevention, regulates blood sugar, detoxifys the body, promotes healthy teeth and bones, plus can boost the immune system.

This immature tea needs to be brewed at a lower temperature, about 175F or 70C, and for less time, only about 1-2 minutes. Green tea that is steeped in boiling water for a longer period of time will taste like you’re drinking grass. This is why many people avoid green teas, they don’t make it correctly.

3) White Tea – is the purest and least processed of all teas. It has very little caffeine and brews a light color and flavor. White tea has such a subtle aroma and taste that make it a less popular tea type, but undeservingly so.

White tea is believed to have the highest antioxidant level of any other tea shich aids in cleansing or detoxifying the body. White tea is thought to fight cancer and help increase your metabolism. It’s also credited with improving your skin and complexion.

However, white tea is tricky to brew correctly. It’s also brewed at a lower temperature, 175F or 74C, and steeped for 10 minutes or more to achieve full flavor.

4) Oolong tea – is recognized by most people as the characteristic flavor of tea served with Chinese food. This tea type is full bodied and very fragrant. It’s semi-fermented, putting it somewhere between black and green teas, giving it about 15% of the caffeine of a cup of coffee.

Oolong teas are said to boost your metabolism rate and aid in digestion by breaking down oils and fats. Perhaps this is why it’s associated with Chinese foods that can include a lot of oil and deep frying.

Because Oolong tea is fermented less than black tea, and more than green tea, it’s also brewed in the same fashion. Water at 195F or 91C is just below black tea and just above the temperature of green tea. The steeping time of 3 minutes makes a great cup, as over steeping can cause bitter flavors in Oolong tea.

The tea types I choose to associate myself with is no scandal. It has to do with the time of day and my state of mind. The full flavor of black tea helps start my morning. Green or Oolong tea are perfect with meals because they help digestion, and the subtle flavor of White teas in the evening help to calm and unwind my mind after a long day.

There are so many great teas grown all over the world, just like great grapes and wines. However, you don’t need a complete cellar to store your tea. I keep a few metal canisters of different tea types in my kitchen and follow the different guidelines for brewing each so that I can enjoy them all equally.

See the undercover video that exposes Chef Todd’s favorite tea types .

Author's Bio: 

Chef Todd Mohr is a classically trained chef, entrepreneur, cooking educator and founder of WebCookingClasses. You CAN learn to cook without written recipes by taking his FREE cooking class that will change the way you think about cooking forever!