The World’s Most Popular Drink—Wellness Wednesdays with Dr. Maloof, ND

The World’s Most Popular Drink—Wellness Wednesdays with Dr. Maloof, ND

What is the number one beverage, besides water of course, worldwide? Tea! American’s drink more coffee than any other country, but tea is the most popular beverage worldwide. People having been drinking tea throughout Asia since at least 3000 B.C.

What exactly is tea?

Tea is made from drying and fermenting the leaves of a plant called camellia sinensis, followed by steeping in warm water. When discussing true “tea” it must be made from the leaves of this specific plant.

What are the types of tea?

There are many varieties of tea including: puerh, black, green, matcha, white, and oolong. Each type is produced in different ways using the same leaves. Puerh and black teas are fermented the longest amount of time and white teas are fermented to the least amount. Matcha is unique in that it is a powdered form of green tea leaves.

Each variety of tea and the location the tea was grown give each tea a “fingerprint” of flavor and scents. Experimenting with tasting different ones can be a great way to discover a new favorite drink. My personal favorite teas are oolongs that have been grown at high altitudes (above 5,000ft elevation).

What about herbal “teas”?

You may be thinking to yourself what about other “teas” like peppermint. A tisane by definition is an herb or botanical steeped or brewed like tea, but made from a plant that is not camellia sinensis, such as chamomile, spearmint, hibiscus and many more.

Why is tea so popular?

There are many theories about this, and I, as a self-proclaimed tea-lover, venture to guess tea became so popular because of a few reasons:

  1. It tastes delicious.
  2. Health benefits, more on this in a moment.
  3. Availability, especially throughout Asia.  Also, tea is lightweight and therefore easier to ship than coffee.

Is tea good for your health?

Tea has many beautiful health properties. Tea, especially green tea, has high levels of polyphenols and flavonoids which are excellent antioxidants, protecting cells from damage. It also has minerals and nutrients. If you are sensitive to or trying to avoid caffeine, tea should be avoided as well since it contains caffeine along with one other compound that acts similar to caffeine in the body: theophylline.

Loose leaf or bags?

Tea can be purchased as loose leaf or in pre-portioned bags. I personally prefer loose leaf and find the ritual of steeping tea properly to be a meditation. Bags of tea can be very convenient and easy because they travel and are stored simply in your purse or desk drawer at work.  Either way you can make a great cuppa tea!

What is the best way to steep your tea?

Each type of tea should be steeped at a specific water temperature and for specific amount of time to optimize flavor and health benefits of that tea. Here is a general guideline for water temperature and steeping time for each variety:

  • Puerh, black, and most tisanes: 200 °F for 3-5 minutes
  • Oolongs: 175-190°F for 1-3 minutes
  • White and green: 175°F for 2-3 minutes
  • Matcha: 175°F (no time limit as the powder dissolves into the water)
  • Delicate varieties and some tisanes: 160 °F 1-3 minutes

Whether you are trying tea for the first time, steeping a cup in quiet meditation, or sharing the fun flavors with a friend, I hope you enjoy the flavorful world of tea.

**Note: Please consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice regarding any medical condition and before taking any medication, over-the-counter drug, supplement or herbs. This article is not a substitute for medical advice and is intended for educational purposes only.


About Dr. Alison R Maloof, ND
Dr. Maloof is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing at Atlas Naturopathic Health Center, a family healthcare practice in Rockport.  Dr. Maloof believes in treating her patients with a holistic approach, mapping a unique treatment plan based on your needs. She utilizes both modern and traditional therapies. Some of her featured services include: personalized nutrition, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and professional-grade supplements. Dr. Maloof treats many conditions including: menopause, skin conditions, tick-borne diseases, autoimmune disorders, GI disorders, anxiety/depression, chronic conditions, men & women’s health, and more.

Dr. Maloof is accepting new patients at Atlas Naturopathic Health Center. She offers complimentary 15-minute phone consults to see if naturopathic medicine is the right fit for your needs.

For more information please visit or call 207-466-9079.

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