Tea is the common name of the shrub Camellia sinensis, which has been cultivated from antiquity in China. This shrub is now widely cultivated in Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and other countries. The word 'tea' also refers to the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of this plant, which have been prepared and cured for the market by several recognized methods. Furthermore, the word is used to refer to the aromatic beverage prepared from the cured leaves of the tea shrub by infusion with boiling water.
The term "herbal tea" usually refers to an infusion or tisane of fruit or herbs that contains no Camellia sinensis.
Tea is one of the most widely-consumed beverages in the world, second only to water. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavor. It has almost no carbohydrates, fat, or protein. Tea is a natural source of the amino acid theanine, methylxanthines such as caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, and polyphenolic antioxidant catechins (often referred to as tannins).
The word tea came into the English language from the Chinese word for tea (?), which is pronounced tÃ in the Min Nan spoken variant. The British English slang word "char" for "tea" arose from its Mandarin Chinese pronunciation "cha" with its spelling affected by British English arhotic dialect pronunciation.
Find out more about tea at Two Leaves and a Bud.