Ready To Drink Tea

Ready-to-drink tea (RTD) is one of the world's most culturally significant beverages, and still enjoys widespread popularity today. After water, tea is the world's most widely consumed beverage with a per capita consumption of approximately four fluid ounces per day.

Tea is one of the most underdeveloped beverages in the United States. The potential is enormous, as tea barely compares in market size to beverage categories such as carbonated soft drinks, coffee and water. Moreover, numerous variables are in place to help drive the growth of tea sales.

Different types of tea are popular in different regions of the world. Tea is the agricultural product of the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of the Camellia sinensis plant, prepared and cured by various methods. There are at least six varieties of tea: white, yellow, green, oolong, black and pu-erh, of which the most commonly marketed, are the white, green, oolong and black varieties. All teas are of the same species of plant. Different varieties and numerous processes generate tastes. Fine white tea, however, is grown differently.

How the fresh leaves of the tea plant are processed and their level of contact with oxygen determines resulting types of tea. During oxidation, tea leaves undergo natural chemical reactions that result in distinctive color and taste characteristics. Black tea oxidizes for two to four hours. Green tea remains unoxidized. Oolong tea falls somewhere between green and black teas, in that the leaves are only partially oxidized. There are now health benefits that are being associated with some teas.