If you haven't noticed already, there are many different types of tea.
Tea is a classic, loved in various regions around the world, and its color assortment gives it such versatility in both appearance and taste. Ranging from dark, to mid-toned, to light, it isn't difficult to find your favorite flavor.
So then... What's the difference?
Well, for starters, after the tea is plucked, it is generally dried to lose some of the moisture in the leaf, which is called withering. In this sense, picture sun-drying tomatoes without a fancy oven: we enjoy the new, dried texture while still preserving the flavor. Drying tea leaves allows for easier handling while also allowing the plant to retain different flavors. Afterward, tea is typically rolled and shaped, and begins the process of oxidation.
This is where we get different kinds of tea: the amount of oxidation that the tea leaves receive effects the flavor and color of the tea – leaves that are oxidized longer end up with a bolder flavor and darker color. Black tea has the highest amount of oxidization, while green and white are minimally oxidized; oolong teas have a varying level of oxidation, giving them a variety of flavors.
Oxidation, put simply, is basically the amount of oxygen that tea receives. Down to the molecular level, it is a chemical reaction between the tea leaf and oxygen. Once an ideal level of oxidation is achieved, the tea is catalyzed by a firing process, or exposure to heat. And voila! Our tea that we adore so much is sorted and we get to reap the benefits of the delicious, healthy taste! Looking for some favorite tea recommendations with distinct flavors? Try our Organic Assam, Organic Pu-Erh, or our Organic Sungma Black. More a fan of green tea? Organic Green Oolong, Organic Jasmine, and Organic Green Tea Pekoe are the way to go. If you're more into a gentle flavor, snag some of our Organic Pai Mu Tan white tea!
Now, with all this being said, there is always an exception; for example, Rooibos and Yerba Maté are two teas that are not made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Instead, they are their own, individual plants with unique flavors.
Yerba Maté is South American, and related to the holly family. Its leaves are evergreen, and it can either be roasted over a fire or aged in cedar or some other wood before consumption. It gets its name from the way it's prepared and consumed, which, originally, was out of a dried gourd, whereas the gourd is "maté". Our Organic Yerba Maté is a stunner that you'll just have to try for yourself. It's even featured in some of our Wellness Blends, like our new Organic Green Energy.
Rooibos is an evergreen, South African bush plant that is processed similarly to Camellia Sinensis. It has a mild, sweet taste that easily persuades even the pickiest tongues. We carry a variety of Rooibos teas, including Organic Rooibos, Organic Green Rooibos, and Organic Honeybush. We use Rooibos (both red and green) as a base for some of our herbal Wellness Blends, such as Organic Sleeping Tranquilitea, Organic Immunity, Organic Beauty Me, and Organic Vita Me Tea. Try yours today!
Tea making is an art that has been practiced for millennia, so there will always be questions as well as subtle nuances that we have barely tapped into.
But isn't tea a beautiful, tasteful way to explore nature?
Still have some lingering questions? Email us at Customers@FullLeafTeaCompany.com!