True teas vs. Herbal teas, what's the difference?

When you think about it, what comes to mind when you hear the word tea? Usually, black tea or green tea is the most prominent conversation topic, and typically the most popular too. But did you know that not all teas are created equal... or not really teas at all? True tea refers to the steepings of the leaves of the plant Camellia Sinensis. Whenever the leaves of Camellia Sinensis is present you can think of them as teas. Everything outside of that will fall under the name Tisane which is a hot water infusion of herbs, spices, fruits, and other parts of different plants (not Camellia Sinensis).

Despite their large impact in traditional healing methods and overall self-care, Tisane (herbal teas) are actually not considered true teas such as our flowers which would fall under Tisane (herbal teas). To understand why first you should know the background behind both.

True (or “real”) tea as mentioned above is made from the leaves of the tea plant Camellia Sinensis. The teas in this category consist of all the ones you usually know by color (with a few outliers). These are white, green, yellow, red, black, and oolong teas, and they are considered to be true teas and they are all naturally caffeinated. 

Herbal teas, on the other hand, are produced solely by herbs or any combination of herbs. And are naturally caffeine-free. Unlike true tea, herbal teas are steeped from entire plants like stems, leaves, roots, flowers, bark, or rhizomes, while true tea is only brewed from tea leaves. There is also a much wider variety of these teas over the other as true teas have a more limited selection.

Below are some examples of the two, as it can even be hard telling them apart.

real teas and herbal teas like oolong tea, green tea, white tea, chai tea, jasmine tea, and more

Overall, the only real difference between true teas (real teas) and herbal teas are the adjectives used to describe them. That's it! Generally, they are still universally known as, simply, tea, and no one will judge you for not knowing the difference. Just enjoy the deliciousness and know which to use and when! You can read up on teas for your mood here.

 

* All images credited to rightful owners. 

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