Types of Tea
The least processed, and often considered some of the rarest in the world, the white teas use only the leaf buds from the first new growth in the spring (known as the first flush). Most estates will puck the down covered buds by hand, air dry them, and then fire or steam the buds to preserve the tea. Since there is no rolling or withering in the processing, white teas are relatively not oxidized, as other teas are. Whites will brew up into a light golden color liquor and will often have a sweet, vegetal flavor. It is often thought that the best white teas come from China’s Fujian province and Sri Lanka.
The most ancient of all teas, originally green teas were only grown in China, but now most come from Japan. It is said that it was green tea, specifically matcha, that Buddhist Monks brought from China to Japan while traveling to visit other monasteries. The uniquely prepared powdered tea was quickly adopted by the Japanese monks and was used originally for what became the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Like whites, green teas are not oxidized. Estate’s methods vary depending on the style of green tea that is being produced, but all focus on fixing the green color of the leaves. The liquor often brews to a light liquor, often with a greenish hue, and has a vegetal flavor.
Since both China and Japan create green teas, an easy way to recognize where a tea is grown is to look at the name. If it end in “cha”, it is from Japan, as cha is the Japanese word for tea.
Most come from Formosa (modern day Taiwan)
Semi-oxidized, neither green nor black, but somewhere in between. Often enjoyed by both black and green tea lovers.
First appeared 300 years ago in China’s Fujian province and later transplanted in Taiwan (Formosa). Repeated rollings brings the tea to the desired oxidation.
Often fragrant and light bodied with flavors of stone fruit and tropical flowers.
Most comes from India and Sri Lanka, which is known in the tea industry by its ancient name, Ceylon.
Can range from mellow (as from China) to full bodied (Assam, India)
Often enjoyed with cream and sugar, as the chemicals in the cream bind well to the liquor.
Withered for up to 24 hrs, rolled to crack the surface of the leaves to allow for faster oxidation, fully oxidized (causes the deep black color of the liquor), & fired in an oven. Process creates warm, toasty, & complex flavors. Often reminiscent of honey, malt, and cocoa.
Pu’er is a “dark tea” from a city be the same name in Yunnan Province in China. It has a distinct flavor and aroma bc it has been fermented and then aged for years or decades. Often sold in cakes or bars. Considered one of the highest quality teas.
Tea blends made with spices, flowers, or dried fruits. Flavors are very common bc they allow for a consistent flavor and product. Where pure teas are susceptible to inconsistent flavors based on environmental factors, the additions in blends help to cover up those inconsistencies.
TISANES, HERBALS, & REDS
Mot true teas as they are not made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Blends are often made from bark, flowers, leaves, and seeds. Also called botanicals or herbal infusions.