Both herbal and non-herbal teas are incredibly popular worldwide, but many people think there’s no difference between these two, so what tea is not herbal?
There are five main non-herbal teas — black tea, green tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea, and white tea. They all come from the Camellia sinensis plant, and they are all considered to be true tea. Each non-herbal tea undergoes a different process that gives them distinctive characteristics and alters the flavor and color.
On the other hand, herbal teas, also known as tisanes, are made from the infusion of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water. They do not contain tea leaves, which makes them naturally caffeine-free.
What Tea Is Not Herbal? 5 Main Types of Non-Herbal Teas
1. Black Tea
As with all true teas, black tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are crushed, curled, rolled, or torn and then allowed to oxidize before they are dried and sold.
Black tea has a strong and dark flavor profile since the tea leaves are fully oxidized. The oxidation process also slightly decreases the flavonoid content of black tea, but even so, this brew is still packed with many health benefits!
Black tea is the most common type of tea.
Here are some of the most common types of black tea:
- Assam black tea
- Ceylon black tea
- Earl Grey
- English Breakfast
- Flavored blends
- Irish Breakfast
- Keemun black tea
- Kenyan black tea
- Lapsang Souchong
- Masala Chai tea
- Yunnan black tea
We recommend Twinings of London English Breakfast Black Tea Bags.
You may also be interested in reading our English Breakfast tea vs. Earl Grey guide.
One box of 100 English Breakfast Black tea bags. Complex, full-bodied, lively cup of tea that is perfect any time of day. Steep for four minutes for the perfect cup of english breakfast tea.Made without artificial ingredients.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is also made from the Camellia sinensis plant that uses fresh or withered and lightly heated or steamed leaves of the tea plant.
Green tea has a light, fresh, and slightly grassy flavor profile since the tea leaves are not allowed to oxidize. In addition, keep in mind that the different types of green tea may also have slightly different flavors, which can be nutty, fruity, or even almost seaweed-like!
Here are some of the most common types of green tea:
- Longjing or Dragon Well
- Matcha tea
We recommend the 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Green Tea.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on the best green tea brands for tea connoisseurs.
- 365 by Whole Foods Market products give you that dance-down-the-aisles feeling, virtual aisles too! Our huge range of choices with premium ingredients at prices you can get down with makes grocery shopping so much more than tossing the basics in your cart.
3. Oolong Tea
Oolong tea, also known as wulong or black dragon tea, is always produced as a whole-leaf tea. It is semi-oxidized, and the oxidation level can range widely. The more oxidized the tea, the darker it is in color — likewise, the less oxidized, the lighter the color.
Here are some of the most common types of oolong tea:
- Bai Hao (aka White Tip)
- Baozhong or Pouchong
- Tie Guan Yin (aka Iron Goddess)
- Da Hong Pao (aka Red Robe)
- Feng Huang Dan Cong
- Tung Ting (aka Frozen Peak)
For your cup of oolong tea, we recommend the Twinings of London Pure Oolong Tea Bags.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on oolong tea vs. green tea.
4. Pu-erh Tea
Pu-erh tea is a type of fermented tea and usually costs more than other true teas. As with other true teas, it is made from Camellia sinensis’ stems and leaves. It is traditionally made in the Yunnan province of China and can be purchased as a brick, cake, or dried leaves.
The leaves are hand-tossed after harvesting in giant woks to stop the process of oxidation. Then, it goes through an additional process, leaving it to age in an environment that’s humid. This process aims to bring out the distinct flavor of the tea, which is described as rich, dark, and less acidic than other types of tea.
The flavor of pu-erh tea may vary slightly depending on how long it is aged. For instance:
- Young raw pu-erh must be aged for about two to three years. It has a fairly fresh and grassy flavor, similar to green tea. It can be sweeter or more bitter, depending on where it was grown.
- Aged raw pu-erh is darker compared to young raw pu-erh. It has a little hint of fruit, but is mostly woodsy and earthy.
- Ripe pu-erh is a creamy, earthy brew made by allowing dried pu-erh tea leaves to compost in piles for several months, which allows fermentation to move faster.
We recommend Uncle Lee’s Organic Pu-Erh Tea.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on pu-erh tea vs. black tea.
5. White Tea
White tea has the softest flavor profile of all the true teas since it is made from the young leaves and new buds of the Camellia sinensis plant. The silver hairs on the new buds are responsible for the whitish color of this tea. The buds and leaves are steamed or fried to stop oxidation and then dried after being harvested.
White tea has a light, fruity flavor. Compared to other true teas, it’s low in caffeine.
Here are some of the most common types of white tea:
- Bai Hao Yin Zhen (aka Silver Needle)
- Bai Mu Dan (aka White Peony)
- Gong Mei (aka Tribute Eyebrow)
- Darjeeling White tea
- Shou Mai (aka Long Life Eyebrow)
We recommend Uncle Lee’s Organic White Tea.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on how much caffeine is in white tea.
The Different Types Of Herbal Teas
1. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is a flowering plant that belongs to the daisy (Asteraceae) family that has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Today, it is a very popular tea, especially for people who want to relax before bed. Chamomile tea is a type of herbal tea made from the dried flower heads of the chamomile plant.
There are two main types of chamomile — the German chamomile and the Roman chamomile (also known as English chamomile). Although they grow differently and have slightly different appearances, these two are just different species of the same plant.
We recommend the Bigelow Cozy Chamomile Herbal Tea.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on how long to steep chamomile tea.
This herbal tea is made with whole chamomile flowers for a much sweeter rounder flavorful experience; The naturally soothing properties of chamomile come through both in the flavor and aroma for a relaxing experience
2. Ginger Tea
Ginger is a flowering plant that belongs to the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family that has been used not only as a medicine but also as a food flavoring. It has been traditionally used to treat cough, colds, nausea, and motion sickness. One of the most popular ways to consume it is to make ginger tea, which is made by boiling the peeled root.
We recommend Twinings Lemon & Ginger Herbal Tea Bags.
3. Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus tea is another herbal tea made from the dried crimson-colored calyces of the roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) flower. This plant is native to Africa and can also be found in tropical and subtropical regions all over the world.
Hibiscus tea has a complex flavor profile — it is best described as fruity and floral, with a hint of acidity and natural sweetness. This tea has a tart flavor similar to that of cranberries and can be consumed either hot or cold!
We recommend the Traditional Medicinals Organic Hibiscus Herbal Tea.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on what is hibiscus tea good for.
- Non-GMO Verified. All Ingredients Certified Organic. Kosher. Fair Trade Certified. Caffeine Free.
- Case of six boxes, each box containing 16 sealed tea bags (96 total tea bags).
4. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is one of the most popular herbal teas. This minty beverage is made from the peppermint plant leaves traditionally used to relieve an upset stomach. It has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for some digestive problems like nausea, gas, and bloating.
We recommend Twinings Pure Peppermint Tea Bags.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on how to make fresh mint tea.
5. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea, also known as red tea, is a type of herbal tea known not only for its red color but also for its rich, sweet, earthy, and slightly floral flavor. It is also sometimes referred to as “red bush” tea as it is made from the Aspalathus linearis shrub’s fermented leaves, a plant native to South Africa.
We recommend the Cederberg Tea Company’s Red Rooibos Tea.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on the best tea for non-tea drinkers.
- MORE IN THE BOX AND MORE IN THE BAG- Box contains 100 teabags (compared to 80) hand-picked at peak maturity and packed fresh in February 2022 at our farm in the Western Cape of South Africa. We pack 2.5 grams in each teabag (compared to 2g) to give you a bold and satisfying cup and a teabag you can use twice! Sealed in five foil pouches of twenty teabags each to keep them fresh.
- PURITY AND SAFETY- 100% Top Fine Cut Rooibos Needles with no stems. TEABAGS are made of biodegradable and compostable oxygen-whitened heat-sealed filter paper. Teabags are tagless, bleach-free and contains no plastic.
- DELIGHTFULLY CAFFEINE FREE AND KETO FRIENDLY- Looking for a satisfying alternative to coffee or black or green tea? A keto diet drink? A bold and flavorful herbal tisane? As the freshest Rooibos on the market, here's a naturally caffeine-free Organic Rooibos that brews a deep amber color with full-bodied flavor. Refresh and relax with this delightful tea any time of day or night.
- BOUTIQUE FARM WITH WORLD CLASS SAFETY AND QUALITY CONTROLS- Our Rooibos undergoes super heated steam sterilization to insure a product free of microbiology. Each batch is laboratory tested for bulk density and moisture levels and approved for export by the South African Perishables Product Control Board. Certified organic by CERES. Tea bags are oxygen whitened, recyclable for a fully natural experience.
- ANTIOXIDANT RICH- Rooibos is bursting with antioxidants, including quercetin and aspalathin. As Rooibos is low in tannins, it can be steeped for a long time with no bitterness.
- WINNER OF THE SILVER MEDAL at the GLOBAL TEA CHAMPIONSHPS for Rooibos Tea with the judges describing the tea as "Smooth, Well Conceived and Balanced"