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There are several types of tea, which all come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis). They vary in the way they're grown and processed after harvest:

  • Black tea is allowed to wilt and fully oxidize before drying. It is typically prepared in boiling water.
  • Green tea is dried before it can wilt or oxidize. It is typically prepared with substantially cooler water, as low as 140°F/60°C.
  • Oolong tea is allowed to wilt and partially oxidize. It is typically prepared with slightly below boiling water.
  • White tea is allowed to wilt but not oxidize. It is typically prepared in approximately 180°F/82°C water.

All types of tea are often combined with herbs and other flavorings to make beverages like mint tea or chai. Often milk, honey, or sugar are added to the tea after steeping.

There are also steeped beverages from plants other than Camellia sinensis:

  • Tisanes, also known as herbal teas, include mint, hibiscus, anise, lemon grass, rooibos, etc.
  • Coffee, made from the beans of several plants in the genus Coffea.
  • A traditional South American beverage made from the plant Ilex paraguariensis.
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