Generally, there are four different types of tea: White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea and Black Tea. Interestingly, even though these teas have a plethora of colours ranging from pale yellow to dark brown, they all mostly come from the same type of plant called the Camellia sinensis.
These four main types of tea are distinguished mainly through their varying levels of oxidation and tea processes. The process of oxidation only begins after the leaves have been carefully hand-plucked by the pickers. These leaves may then undergo a delicate process of drying, withering, rolling and roasting.
The most delicate form of tea leaf is White Tea. This is because white teas undergo the least amount of processing as they are not rolled nor crushed, unlike the other tea leaves. As such, they release the least amount of caffeine content out of all the other types of teas.
When you first taste white tea, it may seem as though you are drinking a cup of hot water. However, you will start to taste a subtle change in the aftertaste gradually as the leaves are steeped for a longer period of time. Ideally, you will taste a mild yet enchanting tint of sweetness that is soft and delicate as you drink it from your mouth, all the way down your throat.
The vital component to making the finest green tea leaves is to prevent oxidisation. The tea leaves will undergo an elementary heat processing in order to deactivate enzymes in the leaves and stop oxidisation. This heating process is also known as “sha qing” in Chinese. The three main ways of sha qing are namely baking, steaming or frying. Subsequently, the leaves may go through a mixture of processes such as drying and shaping to reach its optimal level of moisture content at around 5%.
Green tea usually has very minimal caffeine content and is widely known as the ideal meditative tool.
The key to a perfectly processed Oolong is to have an impeccable degree of partial oxidisation. Most oolong tea leaves will be withered and bruised after being hand-picked to produce a controlled level of oxidisation. Upon reaching the desired oxidisation level, they will undergo a process of fixation (sha qing) in order to deactivate the enzymes before it goes through further shaping and roasting processes.
Whether you are looking for a lightly oxidised Mandarin Oriental Beauty tea that originates from Taiwan, or a heavily roasted Da Hong Pao from the high mountains of Wuyi China, Terrae Tea has products from both ends of the spectrum to satisfy all of your Oolong cravings.
Black teas are fully oxidised teas and exhibit the strongest and boldest flavours amongst all the other types of teas. The secret to producing the best form of black teas is to allow them to reach full oxidisation levels.
To achieve this, the leaves are carefully rolled to break open the leaf cells and allow them to reach their full potential of oxidisation. The process is then hastened via the placement of leaves under hot and humid conditions for several hours. Subsequently, the leaves will be dried and shaped into their desired final products.
A thing to note for English Breakfast Tea lovers is that true English Breakfast Teas should not only be rich and robust in taste and colour but also be able to exhibit the level strength and rich malty flavour that is bound to satisfy you as your regular breakfast beverage.