Facts about the Four Basic Types of Tea
Article by Om P.
True tea from the Camellia Sinensis plant can be categorized into four basic types: white, green, oolong and black tea. There is no such thing as a “tree” or an “oolong tea plant.” All four types of tea are from the same plant. It is the preparation process that makes them different from one another.
White tea is made from tea leaves that are so young they still have little white hair on the buds. After the “baby” leaves are harvested, they are simply cleaned and allowed to dry without undergoing any oxidation. Containing less caffeine than all the other teas, white tea is renowned for its natural sweet flavor and high antioxidant content.
Green tea smells slightly grassy and contains a faintly bitter aftertaste. Like white tea, it is low in caffeine and rich in antioxidant. Green tea leaves normally undergo a minimal amount of oxidation. After the leaves are dried, they will be steamed or heated in a wok in order to prevent any fermentation, then rolled, cut and ground into fine powder. However, one famous type of green tea called “gunpowder” is actually not sold in the powder form, but as whole leaves rolled into little pellets.
Oolong is a semi-oxidized whole-leaf tea. It is stronger than white and green tea, yet not as astringent as black tea. Most tea experts agree that oolong tea has a well-balanced taste and aroma. Some even call it “the Champagne of tea.” After the leaves are harvested and cleaned, they will be dried in large bamboo containers, then rolled and fermented until reaching a dark bluish color. The last process is placing the rolled-up leaves into a hot wok in order to stop the fermentaion and intensify the aroma.
Black tea has a very deep and rich flavor. Although it is pretty high in caffeine compared to the other teas, it still contains much less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee served in most coffee shops. The process of making black tea is very similar to oolong tea, except that the leaves are cut and the fermentation preocess is much longer. Some famous types of black tea include Darjeeling, English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey and Chai.
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Om is a versatile freelance writer, feng shui practitioner and yoga junkie. Recently, she just opened a new online yoga store called Downdog!