Introduction to Tea
There are five main types of tea: black, green, white, oolong, and pu-erh. These teas are infusions made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and vary widely in flavor, aroma, and appearance.
Black tea leaves are fully oxidized and is the most processed of the main tea varieties. It undergoes a process of withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying. The lengthy production process produces a tea that is full-bodied and bold in flavor and deep in color.
Green tea leaves are not oxidized, but are hand harvested and the teas leaves are spread out on large bamboo or cloth mats where they are withered. Once the leaves are limp, they are blasted with heat to prevent oxidation. Green tea has a grassy and herbaceous flavor and is typically light green or pale yellow in color.
White tea is the least processed tea. It undergoes the simplest production process, which is designed to maintain its natural look and flavor. Tea leaves are plucked by hand and then immediately dried outdoors in natural sunlight. Only the youngest leaves of the tea plant are used to make white tea. White tea overall has a subtle flavor profile that is delicate and naturally sweet. White tea is typically light yellow in appearance.
Oolong tea is a semi-oxidized tea. The tea leaves are allowed to oxidize, but only for a short period of time. The flavor and color of oolong tea are stronger than green tea, but more mellow than black tea.
Pu-erh teas are post-oxidized. The leaves are hand harvested, withered, and then subjected to heat to prevent oxidation. The flavor and aroma of pu-erh tea are most similar to green and black teas, depending on the variety.
Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of a bush belonging to the Papilionace family in Africa, rather than from the Camellia Sinensis leaves. The flavor is typically earthy, slightly sweet, and creamy.
Herbal teas, or Herbal tisanes, similar to rooibos teas, do not contain any leaves from the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. These tisanes are made by infusing spices, herbs, and flowers.
Grace & Gratitude carries a collection of black, green, rooibos, and herbal teas.
What is your favorite type of tea? What additional teas would you like us to add to our collection? Feel free to leave a comment below.