With a rich history of thousands of years, today tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Since its discovery, different varieties of tea have evolved and grown with time in different places of the world. Although there are countless types of tea available in the world, but surprisingly all of them come from the same plant known as “Camellia sinensis”. Any similar leaf that comes from a different plant is considered as herbal tea or tisane, and they are technically not tea. The wide dof different appearances, tastes, and aromas of tea are part of the same spectrum of flavors. Today we’ll discuss different types of tea and their characteristics.
The vast array of different varieties of tea can be summarized in five main categories:
White tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, Black tea and Pu’er tea. These categories basically refer to the level of fermentation or oxidation of the tea. Oxidation begins after the leaf has been plucked from the plant, followed by a process of drying, withering, rolling, and heat treating. Less oxidized leaves are lighter in both taste and aroma while heavily oxidized leaves yield a dark, rich, reddish-brown infusion. So in the spectrum of tea, darker color represents more oxidized and brighter color represents less oxidized tea.
White teas take place at the far left side of the spectrum. They are subtle in flavor, mild and elegant in taste. White teas are light, bright and often have a little sweetness. You’ll often find pleasant floral aspects in white tea, along with flavors in the sweet realm of the taste spectrum.
White teas go through minimal processing. Traditionally cultivated in China, these teas are harvested by hand only a few days in a year. They are hand-processed using the youngest shoots of the tea plant, with no oxidation.
White teas are usually brewed at lower temperature with a short steeping time. White teas have numerous health benefits along with a very low amount of caffeine.
Green tea is known as one of the healthiest beverages in the world. With so many available varieties, the flavors of green tea cover a wide spectrum from buttery and grassy to smoky.
Green tea is heated immediately after being picked, preventing the oxidation of the leaves. Bypassing of oxidation allows green tea to retain most of its natural, healthy properties and it also helps green tea to keep its caffeine content at minimum level. Therefore, Green tea is known as the perfect meditative aid. It acts as a mild stimulant, without causing insomnia or nervousness. Like its wide range of varieties, there are many available qualities of Green tea in the market. But you should always choose a high quality Green tea like Jade Allure, to ensure the best experience.
Oolong tea holds the middle ground in the realm of tea between green and black teas. There are many available varieties of Oolong tea, and the flavor of different oolong teas can differ significantly. But in general you expect a complex roundness complemented with notes ranging from sweet and misty honey to a milky creaminess and bold roasted flavors.
Oolong is a semi-oxidized tea, and one of the most complex type of tea to produce. The best oolongs come from both Taiwan and China. Regular consumption of Oolong Tea is good for reduction of cholesterol, and the lowering of blood sugar.
Black tea is the most popular and perhaps most common category of tea around the world. Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon, and Keemun are some of the popular varieties of black tea. The earthy, deep tones of many black teas often fall under the wood and mineral categories of the flavor.
Black teas are heavily oxidized and brew up strong, bold and often malty. They are divided into two categories: broken-leaf and full-leaf. Broken leaves tend to be more brisk, and they produce higher amounts of caffeine, which make them an excellent choice for morning tea. Full-leaf teas, on the other hand, tend to be more refined and gentler on the palate.
Pu’er tea can be placed at the end of the dark shades of the spectrum, right after black teas. Pu’er is an extraordinary breed of tea. Unlike other teas, Pu’er gets better in taste and flavor with time. Pu’er has a strong, deep and rich flavor, without bitterness.
Pu’er is a naturally fermented tea and according to the processes of fermentation, Pu’ers can be divided into two categories: Raw and Ripe Pu’er.
Raw Pu-erh tea does not go through the piling process. It is harvested and stored naturally. It retains a fresh scent and astringency, with a sweet aftertaste. Raw Dazzle is one of the best quality raw Pu’er teas available in the market.
Ripe Pu-erh tea goes through a piling process which makes it bold in flavor. With a strong earthy smell and thick texture, Ripe Pu’er carries a richer characteristic. Teaspec’s Ripe Marvel is one of the most popular high quality ripe Pu’er teas in the world.
Diverse varieties of tea from each of the above mentioned categories are available in the market. Beside the regular teas, numerous scented variations of them are also popular to the consumers. Jasmine Green tea is one of the most prominent scented teas in the world.