The different types of tea
As we learnt in our previous tea academy topic most teas come from the same plant - the Camellia sinensis. This plant is the basis for all black, oolong, green and white teas. Other teas are mostly made using fruits, herbs or spices. However, no tea is created equally so even a tea using the exact same species of plant will taste and look very different based on how it was grown, the soil quality, the sunlight it got and how it was processed.
Here's a quick look at all the different types of tea:
A dark cup and one of the most popular tea varieties. It has the longest oxidation of any tea and is sometimes enjoyed with a splash of milk. Known in China as red tea. One of the most interesting black teas is the lapsang souchong which has been smoked over a pine wood fire.
A tea that has been 80% oxidised and is between a black and green in taste profile. Oolongs can be steeped several times, with each successive infusion having its own distinctive taste and fragrance. In China oolong means "Black Dragon"
A lightly oxidised tea that helps to retain a light green cup. Green teas are sweet and contain many of the vitamins and antioxidant properties of the fresh green tea leaf, making them highly regarded as a healthy, fragrant and delicious drink. There are different types including Sencha which is steamed and Matcha which is a powdered green tea.
Undergoing the least processing of all teas, white teas have a very delicate taste and aroma. Great base for fruit blends. The most famous white tea is silver needle which is made using the most delicate unopened buds of the tea plant.
Blended using real herbs, flowers and seeds and renowned for their medicinal benefits. Often called Tisanes they are gentle teas and naturally caffiene free so perfect for children to drink.
A sweet tea made using dried fruit. You haven’t had fruit tea until you try it with real fruit and not artificial flavours.
An Indian tea made with tea leaves and mixed with aromatic Indian spices and herbs. Great for digestive health.
Rooibos, or Redbush, is grown in South Africa. Naturally caffeine free, it contains high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as well as anti-ageing properties.
Mate tea is renowned for its medicinal benefits and is made from the South American Ilex paraguariensis tree. It has a very earthy taste profile and makes great ice tea.
This is an extremely earth tea and almost has a taste and look of soil. That's because it has been heavily fermented and some pu'er teas have been fermenting for hundreds of years before they ar served. The most prized even have a slight dusting of mold. It's definitely an acquired taste.