So before we launch into specific teas, its worth knowing what the different types of teas are
Basically if you alter the shape and composition of the leaves of the tea it produces different types of tea – different taste and flavours and physically looks different.
All the steps or processes used to make a tea are not used in all teas that are produced worldwide.
The basic steps to making a teas are:
- PLUCKING TEA LEAVES
- ALLOWING THE LEAVES TO WILT
- WRING OUT THE JUICES AND. ROLL
- OXIDATIONOR FERMENTATION
- FIRING OR DRYING
It has to be said. that the most important and influential part of making a tea is dependent on the amount of oxidation applied during the process. This is where the tea leaves enzymes react with the oxygen and the cell walls break down. it happens when the leaves are being decomposed, rolling, cutting and crushing.
The five main types of teas are:
- this is an unprocessed tea. It is made by using the newest buds on the tea plant – that is normally the unopened buds or young buds.
- The process of making a white tea is that the leaves are tucked and then allowed to wither dry. This is done naturally however, if the weather is wet, this can be done in a dryer.
- It takes a couple of days to dry the leaves as some oxidation may occur.
Colour of tea: Green or Yellow
Flavour: Delicate aromas and will review some white teas soon
Examples: Silver needle, Jasmine
- this tea is unoxidised
- It is plucked, rolled and withered
- The process it goes through stops the tea from being oxidised
- This happens by firing or steaming to prevent the oxidisation. i.e. the enzymes. from browning
- The leaves are also curled and shaped during this process which gives it different tastes
- The leaves are throughly dried as a final part of the process
Colour of tea: Pale Green or Yellow
Flavour: Varies depending upon the process but generally describes as grassy, vegetable taste or even toasty
Of course will review some green teas soon
- this takes a long time to make
- Every step of the tea making process is used
- This tea is between the black tea (fully quick processed tea 100% oxidised) and green tea (0%. oxidised).
- Oolong tea is produced with oxidisation anywhere between 8-80% and depending on the oxidisation this gives it different flavours and varieties
Flavour: The last is far more sophisticated than white or green teas. They are fruity or floral flavours
- This is made in a day
- Follows all the 5 basic steps of making a tea
Colour of tea: Dark brown. to deep red
Flavour: Astringent and made with milk and sugar. Also good as an iced tea
Of course will review some black teas soon
Examples: Loads of different ones that includes Earl Grey, Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling
- the process of making this tea is different ton all others
- it starts as a green tea
- then it is pressed and made into cakes or decorative shapes
- The leaves are allowed to age or ferment depending upon how long that takes will depend on the type of Pu’erh tea.
- This is left to age from a couple of months to a few years- a bit like a fine wine!
Flavour: rich and smooth ~. best described as woodsy, earthy or musty
Examples Seng Cha and Shu Cha