What’s tea …and what’s not ?


It seems that nowadays we call everything tea, even when there’s no tea in it !

Ok, I know I am a little inflexible sometimes but to me, if it’s not leaves from the Camellia Sinensis tea bush, then it’s not tea !

You see tea has always been made from the leaves of the Camelia Sinensis tea bush, which loves being grown in hot, humid climates. These leaves will taste a little different depending on whether the Camellia is grown in India, China, Kenya or wherever. The soil, altitude and temperature very much influencing its taste and flavour.

This amazing shrub can grow ( flush ) new leaves every 7 to 10 days for most of the year, and is happy to do this for over 100 years !

It’s not that I have anything against Peppermint, Camomile or Rooibos, they are herbs that do some very clever things, like lifting you up, calming you down, cleansing and refreshing you. It’s just that they are not ( strictly speaking ) teas, rather herbal infusions or tisanes…if you want to be posh !

Thanks for listening,  I feel better now.


3 Responses to “What’s tea …and what’s not ?”

  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for keeping me straight Ross!

  2. Tomas says:

    Dear Ross, very well said. However e.g. in my country (Czech Republic) there is a majority of people paying no attention to it. We call almost everything tea what either tastes or looks like that way. The best thought to put it well might be like this : “You can distinguish a real tea when understanding what is tea and what is not.” To me these Peppermint, Camimile or Rooibos teas are rather herbal stimulants than teas. Expecially Rooibos is kind of grass if I am not mistaken. So from that perspective it doesn’t have too much with the real tea in common. If we admitted that tea is almost every herb we might get some essences from we would be wrong. Yours, Tomas

  3. Tom Rae says:

    It took us a while before we discovered Punjana tea then everyone in our family wanted to drink it. At the time we lived in York England and everytime we visited family in Europe we would have to take a supply of tea, Punjana of course. This year in August we moved to the Netherlands to be near our family who live in three countries, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. We of course took what we thought was enough tea, Punjana, to last us through until next May when we will be visiting York to buy Punjana tea, but sadly our family realised we had a stock and raided our cupboards, so what were we going to do now, then as I was drinking a lovely cup of Punjana tea a thought came into my head look in the internet. I found the web site for Thompson Family Tree and have ordered what we hope is enough til next May and we have not told our family. Yes in answer to your blog what is tea, Rooibos is the bush but not the leaves and I am led to believe bird droppings mixed and passed off as tea.


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