ISO 20715:2023— Classification Of Tea Types

Various leaves of green and black tea from the plant Camellia sinensis following the tea classification types in ISO 20715:2023.

The first recording of tea in China’s Shang Dynasty in the 3rd century AD described it as a medicinal beverage. Merchants helped its popularity spread quickly across continents. In the early 19th century, Great Britain popularized the concept of afternoon tea, a break from one’s routine in which tea is served alongside sandwiches and baked goods such as scones. Throughout centuries, tea has remained a staple in our diets and is the most common beverage consumed in the world after water with black tea being the most popular variety, followed by green, oolong, and white tea. ISO 20715:2023—Tea – Classification Of Tea Types outlines a classification of the six most commonly consumed tea types: black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, dark tea and yellow tea.

What Is Tea?

According to ISO 20715:2023 tea is defined asproducts processed by characteristic techniques exclusively using fresh tea leaves and known to be suitable for consumption.” Fresh tea leaves are the material plucked from the tender leaves, buds, and shoots of the varieties of the flowering evergreen plant Camellia sinensis Kuntze. Herbal teas are not made from the Camellia sinensis plant but from dried herbs, spices, flowers, fruit, seeds, roots, or leaves of other plants and do not typically contain caffeine.

Camellia sinensis is an important agricultural crop grown in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, namely China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Kenya. The origin of the tea plant impacts flavor characteristics while altitude, soil type, plant type and age are other influencing factors. The tender shoots and leaves of the tea plant are processed and used to prepare an aromatic infusion which is consumed globally as a beverage. In fact, tea is consumed by more than two-thirds of the world population.

What Is ISO 20715?

ISO 20715:2023 establishes a classification for the types of tea produced from the plant Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze. The standard is applicable to the production, scientific research, teaching, trade and inspection of tea. It outlines principles and a classification of six common tea types: black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, dark tea, and yellow tea. The classification of tea types in ISO 20715:2023 will allow consumers, world tea traders, and governments to have a clear understanding of the different types of tea through their processing techniques.

This standard does not apply to the infusions from herbs or fruits other than Camellia sinensis (L.) O. kuntze referred to as “tea”.

Are There Health Benefits Associated with Drinking Tea?

The leaves of the tea plant Camellia sinensis have been used for thousands of centuries for medicinal purposes. Studies show that tea is linked to boosting our immune system, fighting off inflammation, and warding off cancer and heart disease. Tea consumption has also been shown to be useful for prevention of many debilitating human diseases that include maintenance of cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Various studies also suggest also that polyphenolic compounds present in green and black tea are associated with beneficial effects in prevention of cardiovascular diseases, particularly of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Polyphenols may have health-promoting properties since they act antioxidants, which control the damaging effects of free radicals in the body. Free radicals may alter DNA by stealing its electrons, and this mutated DNA can increase LDL cholesterol or alter cell membrane traffic—both harmful to our health. In addition, tea consumption is linked to anti-aging and antidiabetic beneficial effects. Evidence is accumulating that catechins and theaflavins, which are the main polyphenolic compounds of green and black tea, are responsible for most of the physiological effects of tea.

ISO 20715:2023—Tea – Classification Of Tea Types is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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