Historically, the term “tea” has served as an umbrella definition covering only the products of Camellia sinensis; those being the leaf tea on the bush; black, green, white, dark and oolong tea after processing; and the beverage itself after extraction. It is the position of the Tea Association that the use of the term tea be restricted to mean leaf and extracted beverage of the shrub Camellia sinensis. NO other beverages merit the use of this term.

A key component of Camellia sinensis is caffeine and by definition, such tea may not be called caffeine-free. For products that have undergone a process that removes caffeine from the tea leaf, the term decaffeinated may be used, providing that the resulting level of caffeine falls within acceptable guidelines as established by the Tea Association.

One may call tisanes tea only in conjunction with a modifying description, such as Herbal Tea, Lemon Mint Herbal Tea, and Rooibos Tea. Since many of the tisanes do not contain caffeine, the term caffeine-free may be appropriately applied to these, (e.g., Caffeine-free Herbal Tea and Caffeine-free Rooibos Herbal Tea).

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