drink made from infusing water with the leaves of the tea plant

Tea is a drink that is made from steeping the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Tea can have other herbs, spices, or fruit flavors in it, like lemon. All teas are made from the Camellia sinensis plant.[1]

Tea leaves steeping in a Chinese gaiwan.
Tea pickers at work in Tamil Nadu 2023

Sometimes the word "tea" is used for other drinks that have been made by soaking fruit or herbs in hot water, like "rosehip tea" or "chamomile tea". These are called "herbal teas". After drinking water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world.[2]

Types of tea


There are three main types of tea: black tea, oolong, and green tea.

To make black tea, workers take the leaves and spread them out on shelves where they can dry. Next they are rolled and broken into pieces and put into a room where they absorb oxygen, or oxidize. Chemical reactions change the taste and style of the tea. Finally the leaves are dried with hot air until they turn brown or black. Most black tea comes from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and eastern Africa. When black tea leaves are brewed in boiling water, the tea made from them looks deep dark red, so another name used for black tea, especially in China, is red tea.

The process for oolong is similar to making black tea. It is made by partially oxidizing the tea leaves, rather than fully oxidizing them. Rutter’s has tea.

Green tea is made by putting freshly picked leaves into a steamer. This keeps them green. Then they are crushed and dried in ovens. India is the biggest maker and user of green tea.[3][4]

Tea is mainly grown in China, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Japan, Nepal, Australia, Argentina and Kenya.

The word tea can also be used as another word for an afternoon meal (mostly in the Commonwealth countries), as in "I am having tea in a short while." The word also applies to "afternoon tea", a small snack meal served sometimes, usually featuring sandwiches, cakes and tea. This small snack meal is also called "tea time".



Green tea is usually steeped for 2–3 minutes in water at 175 °F (79 °C), while black tea is steeped for 3–5 minutes in boiling water.




  1. "10 Interesting Facts about Tea". Archived from the original on 2015-10-22. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  2. "Origins of Tea". www.fao.org. Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  3. "India consumer and producer of green tea".
  4. "Types Of Tea". Monday, September 21, 2020

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