Know Your Tea
There are many different varieties of tea and knowing the difference between black, green, and herbal, as well as white and oolong, may help you choose a tea you will enjoy. Below are brief descriptions that we hope will help you on your tea journey.
Green tea leaves are harvested and then withered to reduce moisture content. The leaves are then pan fired or steamed at high temperatures to promote drying. During the drying process, the leaves are rolled into pearls or long twigs depending on the variety of green tea.
Green tea is made from unoxidized leaves and is one of the less processed types of tea. It therefore contains the most antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols.
Most green teas are light green or slightly yellow in color when brewed and have either a nutty or herbaceous flavor depending on whether the leaves have been roasted or steamed.
Black tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and is more oxidized than most other types of tea. After the tea leaves are harvested, they are allowed to wither, then they are rolled and fully oxidized before they are heated. This results in a range of colors, from dark brown to a reddish amber when brewed, and a bold full-bodied flavor.
Black tea has the highest caffeine content. There are several varieties of black tea, including Assam, Darjeeling, Ceylon, Keenum, and Yunnan.
White tea is the least processed of the tea varieties and tends to have the lowest caffeine content. When brewed, white teas are considered to be lighter in color and sweeter in flavor than other types of tea.
White tea leaves are harvested and then dried in natural light. There are two varieties of white tea; Silver Needle and White Peony. To blend White Peony, both the buds and the leaves are used; whereas only the leaves are used when blending Silver Needle.
When brewed, oolong tea has a deep amber or light green color and a medium-bodied floral flavor. Oolong tea is a semi-oxidized tea that is stronger than white tea, but milder than black tea.
The leaves are harvested and withered to remove moisture, rolled to begin the oxidation process, then dried.
An herbal "tea" is a made without using leaves from the Camellia sinensis or "tea plant." Instead, herbal blends are made by combining flowers, roots, spices, and dried fruits into flavorful infusions. All herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free.
Rooibos tea ( pronounced Roy Boss ) is produced from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant, sometimes referred to as the "red bush" and typically grows in mountainous regions in South Africa. The leaves are withered, rolled, oxidized, and dried, a process that turns them into a deep red color.
Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free, and when brewed, has a full bodied, nutty flavor.