Tea is the most popular drink worldwide next to water. All of it comes from one of the two varieties of a plant called Camellia Sinensis. These two varieties are known as Camellia Sinensis var Sinensis and Camellia Sinensis var Assamica.
Var Sinensis tends to have smaller leaves and can grow up to 6 meters, while the Assamica variety has larger leaves and can grow up to 15 meters. Tea trees are very adaptable to their environment. Tea has been used medicinally in China and Japan for thousands of years.
There are 6 types of tea made from these varieties of Camellia Sinensis: Green, Black, Oolong, Puerh, and the lesser known White and Yellow types. 100’s of different teas all fall into one of those categories depending on how they are processed.
This type is plucked, cooled, roasted or pan fried, re-cooled, dried and then pre-sieved and final sieving.
With black types, the leaves are withered, rolled, then go through an oxidizing process and then dried.
White varieties are the least processed as they are only withered and dried after being harvested.
Oolong tea is mostly produced in China’s Fujian province and Taiwan.It is semi oxidized where is greens aren’t oxidized at all and black teas are fully oxidized.
Puerh, or Pu’er as may call it, is the only type of tea that is fermented. There are two main types of Puerh. Raw and cooked pu’er. Raw Puerh is aged naturally, while cooked puerh goes through a process that ferments the leaves more quickly. This type of Puerh is often sold in “cakes”or bricks from the tea becoming compressed. Most puer comes from the Yunnan province of China.
Considered a mature tea, yellow teas are smooth and aromatic with a sweet, clean, bright, floral taste and a medium body. Yellow varieties are very lightly oxidized. The leaves are first fried, as is the case in most green teas, but then the leaves are wrapped in some kind of material, thick paper in the case of Yin Zhen, and cloth in the case of the other two. Yin Shen is stored in a wooden box. At intervals the leaves are fried again and re-wrapped to cool and oxidize slightly. This process continues for up to three days and then slow roasted at the finish.
On top of these varieties, there are also herbal tisanes and many, many flavoured blends. There is a flavour for everybody.