Black, green, herbal, iced… or with a bubble? There really are countless ways for tea lovers to enjoy a cuppa. Let’s explore our favourite drink’s many different flavours, and health benefits – and its special ability to help us connect with people from anywhere and everywhere.
It’s all in the leaves
Black, oolong, green and white teas are all made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, a plant grown in tropical and subtropical regions. But not all teas are the same.
The difference between green and black tea
Both green and black teas owe their special properties to the same ingredients – all-natural substances with scientific sounding names like flavonoids, theanine, caffeine and fluoride. Each variety combines them in different amounts, but the differences don’t end there. How the leaves are handled and dried has a big impact on their colour and taste.
Green teas are heated and dried straight after harvesting. They’ve got high amounts of flavonoids called catechins, which give them their distinctive colour. Black teas, on the other hand, are rich in flavonoids called thearubigins and theaflavins. (Flavonoids are natural plant compounds that are associated with health benefits – we’ll come back to these later.) After harvesting, the leaves are crushed, exposed to the air and dried. The appropriately named oxidation process brings a darker colour and richer flavour to the leaves.
Herbal teas: a flavour infusion
Camellia sinensis isn’t the only delicious leaf out there. Herbal teas, known as infusions or ‘tisanes’, are made from fresh or dried flowers, fruit, herbs and plants. Each is grown differently and has distinct properties – which produce a near endless variety of flavours. Unlike tea, they’re almost all naturally caffeine-free.
You can brew herbal teas for up to 15 minutes, depending how strong you like them, to release the most amount of flavours and active compounds. Some of the most popular varieties include chamomile, echinacea, ginger, hibiscus and turmeric.
Losing just 1-2% of bodily fluids can have a real impact on mood and mental performance. Drinking tea is a simple, tasty way to get your recommended fluid intake of 2-2.5 litres a day. In fact, official health guidelines in places like China, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US recommend calorie-free, unsweetened tea as a great way to stay hydrated.
Tea has a unique combination of caffeine and L-theanine, a naturally occurring amino acid. Both compounds have been shown to improve concentration and alertness.
Tea also contains plant pigments called flavonoids which are found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and chocolate. Diets rich in flavonoids are linked to some key health benefits, especially heart health. People living in the West often get most of their essential flavonoids from drinking tea. The humble cuppa is far more than meets the eye.
The health and wellbeing benefits of our tea
Our brands are constantly evolving to help tea drinkers enhance both body and mind. Lipton’s Good for Me range is a big hit with health-conscious millennials. Best sellers include: Do the Detox – a herbal tea with nettle and rosemary for when your stomach needs a pick-me-up, and Time to Relax – a chamomile-based creation for unwinding at night. We’ve recently launched our new Lipton’s Immune Support, which offers a simple black or green tea base boosted with vitamin C and nicely flavoured with ginger and turmeric to kick-off your day in the right way. PG tips Plus range is fortified with vitamins B6, C and B12 to help reduce tiredness and support normal immune and metabolic function. And Pukka’s range of almost 50 certified organic herbal teas combine ancient herbal wisdom and the latest plant science and research to improve sleep, energy and immunity. A particular favourite is Night Time, expertly blended with chamomile, lavender and valerian.
Connecting people with tea
As well as its many wellbeing benefits, tea also has the special quality to unite people as they share a moment over their favourite cuppa.
Lipton’s purpose, to awaken the world to quality connections, is brought to life in campaigns like Time to listen, time to connect . This 7-day programme was launched alongside World Mental Health Day 2021, encouraging consumers to take out 15 minutes a day for a moment of genuine connection with a friend, colleague or family member. Lipton also partnered with non-profit organisation Peace One Day to reach over three billion people with ‘Tea Time. Peace Time’, its powerful message of global unity.
Brooke Bond's purpose is to help people find common ground over tea and contribute to making society more inclusive. And they’ve launched a series of social campaigns aimed at spreading the message of inclusivity and challenging stereotypes. After all, a tasty cup of tea can go a long way towards dissipating tensions and bringing people together.
TAZO® believes life’s richest experiences happen when we break free of our comfort zones and veer off the beaten path. TAZO’s founder, Steven Smith, set off on a journey to bring bold, unique brews to tea lovers. His trek around the world introduced him to some incredible flavours that cultures and communities have cultivated, perfected, and brewed for centuries. But challenging the status quo doesn’t end with teas; TAZO® is taking real, measurable action to protect the planet and its people for generations to come.
And in 2020, PG tips teamed up with emotional support charity The Samaritans to help reduce loneliness in the UK. The “Share a Cuppa” campaign encouraged people to chat with someone in need of human connection. Before this, PG tips gave over 300,000 “Cuppas Together” samples to Samaritan volunteers, who handed them out at 150 train stations across the UK. Another partnership with mental health charity Time to Change saw 6000 tea coupons sent out to schools, offices and centres. Delivered in special “Chatterboxes”, the venture encouraged people to chat with a colleague and make people more willing to talk about loneliness.