All tea (white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh) comes from the identical plant — Camellia sinensis. All teas begin out as contemporary inexperienced leaves earlier than being processed into a selected tea kind. It is the cultivated and processed leaves of this plant that create the second most consumed beverage within the world.
Camellia sinensis is a subtropical/tropical evergreen plant native to Asia, although commercially grown all around the world. It takes between 5–7 years earlier than the plant has matured sufficient for use within the making of tea, and will be cultivated for greater than 100 years. In each pound of completed tea, there are 4.5 kilos of freshly plucked tea leaves, which equates to about 2–three thousand shoots.
There are 5 main tea sorts produced — white, inexperienced, oolong, black and pu-erh. It is the processing of the tea at origin that determines which kind of tea the freshly plucked leaf will develop into. During processing, the leaf’s enzymes are uncovered to oxygen. This chemical response, or oxidation, can rework the inexperienced leaf into the numerous shades of inexperienced to brown to black. Oxidation is the processing step that has the best influence when figuring out the tea kind. Oxidation is typically incorrectly known as fermentation. An apple’s flesh turning brown after being reduce and the leaves on bushes turning colours in fall are each examples of oxidation.
White teas are so named as a result of white down that covers the brand new leaf buds. Traditionally, white teas got here solely from the Fujian province of China. However, immediately, any tea that follows the white processing technique is taken into account white tea. White tea is closest to the pure tea plant. Processing strategies of white tea do nothing to encourage or cease oxidation. The pure bruising of the leaf throughout harvesting and transportation permits oxidation to start out on a part of the leaves. This produces refined aromatics, taste and shade.
Green teas historically got here from China and Japan; nevertheless, the processing strategies of every are radically completely different and produce fully completely different tea aromatics and taste. Today, inexperienced tea comes from most tea producing nations on account of its reputation, however continues to be outlined by which processing technique was used. Green teas must maintain their contemporary inexperienced shade, for this to occur, oxidation have to be restricted. Heat is utilized to the leaf to arrest oxidation. In China, the warmth supply that’s utilized is known as pan firing. Due to this, Chinese inexperienced teas are likely to have a nutty, smoky vegetal taste. In Japan, steam is used as the warmth supply, thus, Japanese inexperienced teas have a brighter emerald leaf shade with a extra seaweed, contemporary taste.
Oolong teas, generally known as wulong or blue tea by some inventive entrepreneurs, is the massive bridge between inexperienced and black teas. Oolong teas will be as inexperienced as inexperienced teas and as black as black teas. Oolongs are sub-categorized by the quantity of oxidation and leaf form. Traditionally, oolongs come from China and Taiwan (Formosa), and nonetheless immediately are the most important producers of those teas. Oolongs are prized for his or her advanced aromatics and taste, in addition to their potential to be steeped a number of occasions. Greener, much less oxidized oolongs are likely to have extra floral notes; mid-oxidized oolongs are likely to have extra stone fruit notes; and darker oolongs are likely to have extra nutty, woody notes.
Black teas are essentially the most consumed tea within the US. Though over 60% of the black tea within the US comes from Argentina, traditionally black tea was a product of China, India, and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). In some nations black tea is known as brown or crimson tea. (It is vital to notice that immediately the time period crimson tea is mostly used to consult with rooibos tea, which is an natural tea not constructed from Camellia sinensis.) Black teas are thought-about totally oxidized and produce a full bodied, sturdy, and earthy cup of tea. Black tea is powerful sufficient to face as much as milk and spices; therefore why it’s utilized in Breakfast teas and Masala Chai’s. (Chai is a Hindi phrase for tea, although mostly used to consult with a spiced tea within the US.)
Pu-erh teas traditionally come from the Pu-erh area of China — although different areas of China produce an identical fashion tea. Many tea corporations consult with this class of tea as darkish tea on account of its wealthy and darkish brew. Dark teas are aged teas which subjectively develop into higher with age and can fetch a better worth the older they develop into. Oxidation isn’t totally arrested so the teas develop into darker over time. Traditional pu-erh teas can take as much as 5 years earlier than they’re palatable, with many customers wanting 10–15 year-old teas. These teas are known as raw teas. To pace up the method some producers add microbes to the tea in order that in 1–2 years the tea tastes prefer it has aged longer. These are known as cooked teas. The taste distinction between these 2 types of tea is vastly completely different. Cooked teas are usually extra earthy, moist farm, and musty in taste; whereas raw teas are usually extra earthy, spicy and easy in taste.
No matter which tea kind is your private favourite, all teas begin out as a contemporary inexperienced leaf of the Camellia sinensis plant. The processing and management of oxidation determines which flavors and tastes are developed so that you can get pleasure from.