Tea, a mildly stimulating drink made from the leaves of the tea plant. (Similar drinks made from other kinds of plants are called herbal teas. The term is also applied to the processed leaves. More people drink tea than drink any other prepared beverage. Tea is the staple beverage in most parts of Asia, in parts of Africa, in eastern Europe, and in the United Kingdom; in the United States, it is second only to coffee in popularity. Tea is drunk hot or iced, with or without milk, cream, or sugar. Some tea drinkers add a slice of lemon, and for iced tea, a sprig of mint.
Tea leaves contain chemical compounds called polyphenols, which—with caffeine, alkaloids, and oils—give tea its characteristic flavor. The caffeine in tea also acts as a stimulant. A cup of tea without milk, cream, or sugar provides about four calories.