Tea 101: Types of Tea
All true teas—black, green, oolong or white come from a single plant: Camellia Sinensis. How the fresh leaves are processed and their exposure to oxygen, determine the type of teas. All other botanical beverages not containing this leaf are called tisanes, herbal and rooibos infusions.
Black tea, or red tea as it is known in China, is a result of the complete oxidation of the leaf. First produced in China, the tea increased in popularity when the British cultivated the plant in India, Sri Lanka, and Africa. First the leaf is spread out and left to wither (wilt), losing some moisture, stiffness and much of its weight. Then it's rolled, exposing essential oils to the air and starting the oxidization process. When this is complete the leaf is heated to stop the process, graded for quality and packed. Black teas are known for their robust, full-bodied flavors of cocoa, earth, molasses, and honey. Click here to view our selection of black tea blends: PERSIAN ROSE, MARRY ME AGAIN, DUCHESS' FIRST LOVE.
Oolong tea is oxidized and often rolled after picking, allowing the essential oils to react with the air. This process turns the leaf darker and produces distinctive fragrances before heat is added to set the taste. The resulting tea can be anywhere between a green and a black tea, depending on the processing method. Oolongs can be recognized by their large leaves and a complexity of flavor that ranges from highly floral and intensely fruity to mildly roasted with honey nuances. The finest oolongs are often prepared and enjoyed Gong Fu Cha style to savor their complex tastes and fragrances. Click here to view our organic oolong blend: TWIGGY.
Green tea is picked and quickly heated by steaming or pan firing. The goodness of the leaf is sealed inside. The most well-known greens come from China and Japan. The flavors are grassy, vegetal, nutty, and sweet. Because the leaf is so delicate, the tea should be brewed in water that is well below boiling to prevent cooking the leaves and destroying the subtle notes of the tea. Click here to view out selection of green teas: KYOTO, BERBER, SABA, GREEN TEA BLOOMS.
White tea is minimally processed; it is generally only picked and air dried. The highest-quality white teas are picked early in the spring before the leaf buds have opened and while still covered with silky, white hair. The traditional varietals used for white tea have abundant downy hair on the young leaf shoots. These delicate teas have clear flavors that tend toward savory, nutty, and vegetal. Traditionally harvested in China, they are the focus of many studies on health benefits for their high levels of antioxidants.
Rooibos is a caffeine-free herb grown only in South Africa . It is rich in Super Oxide Dismustase (SOD), an outstanding anti-oxidant. It contains many minerals promoting calm & relaxation. It is known to alleviate insomnia, nervous tension, mild depression & nausea. Good for the digestion, Rooibos is smooth, mellow & marvellous. Click here to view our selection of Rooibos blends: BETTER THAN SEX, A DAY IN PROVENCE, TUK TUK CHAI, RAJ, KAAPSTAD, LOVERS.
Herbal infusions, or tisanes, are not teas. They are made from other plants and flowers, and they do not contain any caffeine. Common examples are lemon verbena, chamomile, lavender, and mint. Click here to view our selection of herbal teas: DREAM, MUSE.
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