Types of Tea
All tea comes from one plant, the Camellia Sinensis.
There are six main categories of tea:
White tea, Yellow tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, Black tea and Fermented or dark tea.
There are some common terms used to describe tea which are handy to know.
The colour of steeped tea is called the 'liquor.'
The smell of the tea is called the 'aroma.'
The 'body' describes the way the liquor feels in the mouth. A tea can be described as having light, medium of a full body. Very similar to wine!!
Full bodied teas have fullness and strength and are the opposite of being thin. A tea's body will change according to the region in which it is grown.
White tea is the least processed tea and it is usually only harvested once a year in spring and is predominantly from China. White tea is made from very young leaves or buds which are often covered with a fine silvery down (fine hairs). White tea is withered and then dried, preventing oxidisation and giving the tea a light, delicate taste.
Green tea is mostly consumed in Asia. Leaves are immediately steamed or pan fired after being plucked to stop enzymes from beginning to oxidise. There are many types of green tea, many of which are hand made. Green tea often has a light grassy flavour and usually has light coloured liquor with a seaweed type (vegetal) aroma.
Yellow tea is rare and delicate, yellow tea is processed similar to green tea but with more of an emphasis on sweetness. There is a nice lightness to the tea and a less vegetal aroma than the green tea. During the processing of this tea, the tea is smothered with a light cloth or paper which promotes a mellow sweet flavour profile.
Oolong tea is partially oxidised and has similar characteristics to green and black tea. Oolong teas are more full bodied than green teas and often have a light, floral aroma. The liquor is often pale yellow, green, amber or golden in colour. In France, this type of tea is also known as 'blue' tea, because the rolled leave can have a blue-green colour.
Black tea is the most fully oxidised and heavily processed tea. It is the most popular tea in the western world. Black tea accounts for about 90% of all tea consumed and is often the base for iced teas. Different countries are famous for their black teas, such as India for 'Darjeeling', China for 'Keemun' and Sri Lanka for 'Uva' or 'Kenilworth.' Black tea blends are black tea leaves blended with natural flavours or ingredients, for example Earl Grey which uses Bergamot to flavour the tea.
Fermented tea goes through a completely different manufacturing process. The most famous fermented tea is Puerh, which traditionally comes from the Yunnan province in China. Puerh traditionally comes in either Shou (ripe) or Sheng (raw) tea form. The difference is raw (Sheng) Puerh is steamed and usually pressed into cakes called a bing and allowed to ferment and mature through time, while ripe (Shou) Puerh is made from raw (Sheng) and allowed to ferment by applying water and covering. The air is kept warm and the natural enzymes and bacteria which occur in the leaf slowly start the fermentation process. This process gives the tea a earthy, sweet and musky aroma. Puerh is a full bodied tea and improves with age like a good red wine. The Chinese believe that Puerh has good health properties and that it can lower cholesterol, aid in digestion and assist with weight management.
Tea-Cherie tea blends use both black and white tea varieties to create our dessert tea blends.