Types of Tea

 
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Tea & Health

White Tea
Green Tea
Oolong Tea
Pu-erh Tea
Scented Tea

 

White Tea

White tea is similar to green tea, in that it's undergone very little processing and no fermentation. But there is a noticable difference in taste. Most green teas have a distinctive 'grassy' taste to them, but white tea does not. The flavour is described as light, and sweet. You should steep white tea in water that is below the boiling point.

There is also considerably less caffeine in white tea than the other varieties (15mg per serving, compared to 40mg for black tea, and 20mg for green). Some studies have also shown that white tea contains more active cancer-fighting antioxidants than green tea.

As with all teas, there are many varieties of white tea, with poetic names such as: white peony, golden moon, silver needle and white cloud. White teas are produced mostly in China and Japan, but the Darjeeling region of India also produces some fine white teas.

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Green Tea

Green tea is nothing more than the leaves of the camellia sinensis that have been processed a certain way. Green teas, like white teas, are closer to tasting like fresh leaves or grass than the black or oolong. They are also lower in caffeine and have higher antioxidant properties.

Preparation

First, the green leaves are seen how much oxidation should take place before drying them out.Tea leaves have enzymes in their veins. When the leaf is broken, bruised, or crushed, the enzymes are exposed to oxygenresulting in oxidation. The amount of oxidation depends upon how much of the enzymes are exposed .

Processing of Green Tea

The processing of green tea is similar to that of white tea in that it does not oxidize. After the leaves are plucked, they are (sometimes) laid out to wither for about 8 to 24 hours. This lets most of the water evaporate. Then, in order to neutralize the enzymes thus preventing oxidation, the leaves are steamed or pan fried. Next the leaves are rolled up in various ways and tightness. After that, a final drying takes place. Since no oxidation took place, the tea has more of a green appearance. From there, it goes off to be sorted, graded, and packaged.

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Oolong Tea

Oolong teas are the most difficult of the four types of teas to process. The best way to describe oolong tea is that they are somewhere in between green and black tea. This is because they are only partially oxidized during the processing.

Oolong tea is gently rolled after picking allowing the essential oils to react with the air and slowly oxidize. This process turns the leaf darker with time and produces distinctive fragrances. When the leaf has reached the desired oxidation the leaf is heated, in a process called 'panning', to stop the process. It's then rolled to form the tea into its final shape. The resulting tea can be anywhere between a green and a black, depending on the processing method. This tea is handcrafted, undergoing a labor intensive process. The tea maker must carefully balance many elements in the critical few hours after the leaf is picked including weather conditions, quality of the leaf, and the time the leaf oxidizes. The finest Oolongs are often prepared and enjoyed Gung Fu style to savor their complex tastes and fragrances.

Processing

The processing of oolong tea requires only a partial oxidation of the leaves. After the leaves are plucked, they are laid out to wither for about 8 to 24 hours. This lets most of the water evaporate. Then the leaves are tossed in baskets in order to bruise the edges of the leaves. This bruising only causes the leaves to partially oxidize because only a portion of the enzymes are exposed to air. Next, the leaves steamed in order to neutralize the enzymes and stop any oxidation. Oolong tea can have varying degrees of oxidation. Some are closer to black teas, and some are closer to green.

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Black Tea

Black teas are the most consumed of the four types of teas. They are the highest in caffeine. Black tea is the most popular tea in the world. It is the tea most widely used in making iced tea and English tea. Since the process of making black tea consists of three main stages, ‘cut’, ‘torn’ and ‘curled’, it is also known as C.T.C tea. After cutting, the leaves are first spread on shelves called withering racks. Air is blown over the leaves to remove excess

moisture, leaving them soft and flexible. These withered leaves are then crushed between the rollers of a machine to release their flavoured juices. In the tearing process the cells of the leaves are exposed and the oxidation process begins. They are then taken to the fermenting room where under controlled temperature and humidity, they change into copper colour. Finally they are dried in ovens, where they are curled by heat and become brownish black.

It is made by steaming the leaves in large vats. The steaming prevents the leaves from changing its green colour, hence the name. The leaves are then crushed in a machine and dried in ovens. It is produced by using many of the same techniques that were practiced centuries ago.

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Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh teas come from the Yunnan province in China and have a strong earthy flavor. Pu-erh has been praised for generations for it's flavor and health benefits. It's processed according to an ancient technique (which used to be a state secret) that involves aging the leaves. It is often formed into bricks and is one of the few teas that ages well.
Pu-erh tea is moderate in taste, not as strong as black tea. It can cut grease, help digestion, warm stomach, help produce saliva and slake thirst, dispel the effects of alcohol and refresh one’s mind. Pu-erh tea has functions of lowering the triglyceride, cholesterol, hyperuricemia in the body.

Puer tea (also called pu-er or pu-erh) is an ancient and rare tea, much loved in China and the only tea for some 'hardened' tea drinkers. The processes that go into making the classic puers are closely guarded secrets. It is fermented, sometimes twice, and is often pressed into cakes or bricks. This makes puer especially easy to store and keep for long periods. Generally they are robust, earthy teas with a dark red or brown color and distinctive, mysterious aroma. Puer is widely known in China to have major health benefits, especially in reducing cholesterol and as an aid to digestion, which makes it the ideal after dinner tea.

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Scented Tea

Scented or Flower tea is either green or white tea that has been infused with certain flowers, which impart a delicate and interesting taste, and of course a wonderful aroma. As with black tea and milk or sugar, flowers were added to green tea originally to disguise a less than favorable taste in the poorer varieties. This is still the case with many commercially produced flower teas, which hide the taste of very cheap tea behind a strong flowery presence. Flower teas, in particular the delicious jasmine, have gained such a following both in Asia and the Wetsern world, that many people only drink this variety. The Seven Cups jasmine teas combine really fine quality green and white teas with a subtle but distinct jasmine flavour, and are a real treat, especially for dedicated jasmine fans. They are the best jasmine teas we've ever tasted.

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