December 7, 2023

I recall strolling into my first tea store and seeing all of the rows of teas tins and I felt so overwhelmed! Subsequently, on this submit, I wished to interrupt down the varieties of teas, so the following time you go tea procuring, you will have an concept of what to search for!

There are three key factors to recollect in relation to tea:

  • All tea comes from Camellia sinensis which is an evergreen plant that’s native to East Asia.
    • Bonus data: The Camellia sinensis has completely different varieties (the place the plant naturally originated from, reminiscent of China or India) after which cultivars (vegetation which were propagated for particular traits, reminiscent of being extra immune to the chilly or having a particular style). That is essential because it provides you with extra details about what the tea will style like;
  • Natural teas/tisanes (reminiscent of chamomile and peppermint) will not be technically tea as these herbs come from different vegetation; and,
  • The various kinds of teas are derived from how the tea leaves are processed. The primary element is oxidation. When the tea leaves come into contact with oxygen, the color of the leaves adjustments. Consider biting into an apple and it going brown!

There are six tea varieties:

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Inexperienced
  • Oolong (or wulong, which suggests black dragon)
  • Black (In China, Black tea is known as hong cha, that means crimson tea) and,
  • Fermented (In China, this is named hei cha, that means darkish tea. Pu’er is a kind of fermented tea.)

On this submit, I might be going via every tea sort, examples of every, and my brewing suggestions. Every tea featured on this submit is a tea from China to point out the breadth of the kind of teas from one nation alone, and even then I’m solely exhibiting a fraction of all of the teas produced in China!

With some fundamental details about tea out of the best way, let’s go!

White tea is usually product of tea buds (increased grade) or tea buds with one or two leaves (decrease grade). White tea undergoes the least quantity of processing and since it’s not rolled or formed it maintains the leaf’s pure form. The style of white tea ranges from grassy and hay to floral, bready, woody, nutty, and cocoa.

Yellow tea is rare because of the depart present process a novel step the place the moist leaves are wrapped, in a thick paper or fabric for instance. This maintains the heat and humidity which causes the leaves to alter from inexperienced to yellow-green. This step is named males huang, which interprets to sealed yellow. The style of yellow tea is just like that of inexperienced teas, however extra delicate, with a variety of vegetal, floral, citrus notes, and likewise flavours of nuts and seashore.

Inexperienced teas keep its inexperienced color for the reason that plucked younger leaves (1 bud and a pair of leaves) are steamed or heated (ie. with a wok) which halts the oxidation. This step is named fixing and can be known as kill-green. The leaves are then, relying on the tea, rolled and formed, and dried. Because it undergoes little processing (compared to different teas), the inexperienced tea flavour will depend on the precise tea leaves, in addition to how the tea was mounted. The flavour can vary from vegetal, floral, citrus, and seashore notes, to nutty, roasted and toasted (Dragonwell) because of the fixing technique or extra processing.

Whereas white tea and inexperienced teas are typically younger tea leaves, leaves for oolong tea are plucked after the buds are open and as much as 3 to five leaves are plucked. What makes oolong distinctive is the bruising step, the place the leaves are tossed, tumbled, or frivolously rolled which begins the oxidation. The bruising and oxidation course of is repeated till the leaves hit the right oxidation (10 to 30% for mild oolong and 40% to 80% for darkish oolong). The leaves are then mounted, formed, and dried. Mild oolongs are typically extra comparable in style to inexperienced tea, with vegetal and floral notes, and darkish oolongs have a extra comparable style profile to black tea, reminiscent of roasted notes as a consequence of extended oxidation and drying.

Black teas are probably the most oxidated of all of the tea varieties. It’s usually processed utilizing two strategies: CTC (Minimize, Tear Curl – the leaves are macerated into small unified pellet shapes) or Orthodox (the place the leaves are rolled). Black teas are typically woody, floral, earthy, and nutty in flavour. In China, it’s known as hong cha which interprets to crimson tea because of the color of the liquor.

Fermented teas are teas which might be fermented by microorganisms in the course of the processing of the tea. One of the crucial fashionable varieties is pu’er or pu-erh which originates from Yunnan, China. There are two varieties of pu’ers: uncooked (sheng) and ripe/cooked (shu). Uncooked pu’er is the place the tea is fermented naturally by the microorganisms and ripe/cooked pu’er is when the leaves are positioned into a big pile and the microorganisms are added on to the pile. Because of the fermentation step, there’s a vast range of flavours for pu’ers, starting from mushroom, musty, earthy, floral, woody, nutty, and fruity.

Ultimate Ideas

I hope this submit was helpful! I wished to maintain this brief and to the purpose. Needless to say the suggestions will not be for aged teas (outdoors of pu-erh). If you wish to be taught extra, take a look at my different TEA 101 posts, the place I’ve talked extra about matcha (a inexperienced tea), Korean black tea, and pu-erh!

The books I used for this submit had been Tea: A Consumer’s Information to Tea by Tony Gebely and Tea: A Nerd’s Eye View by Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace!

The query of the submit: What’s your favorite tea sort and why?

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Picture of 6 types of teas

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