We've talked about tea extensively before on the Daily Grind blog, and I know I've mentioned how all true teas come from one type of leaf, but if that's true, what exactly do all those funny words (Oolong, Darjeeling, English Breakfast, etc.) mean? Well, let's break it down.
There are five main varieties of tea, most distinguishable by strength: white, green, oolong, black, and pur-eh. These are mainly distinguished by taste which, along with the location of the plants harvesting and type of soil, is
most drastically changed by the leaf-proccessing technique.
Things that we often call "tea," pretty much any hot drink in a cup that is remotely herbal, are often not tea at all, beacause truly nothing is tea if its base leaves don't come from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Black tea: This tea is often described as "dark" or "strong," the leaves of black tea, though coming from the same plant as all other teas, are dried, rolled, and oxidized. It is the oxidization that makes the tea stronger than other varieties.
Green tea: This tea is also dried, but it gets its light, subtle flavor because it is not oxidized.
White tea: This tea is picked before the buds of the tea leaf have unfurled and has a minimum of drying to keep all the subtleties intack, it is not oxidized.
Oolong tea: This tea is the "medium" of tea varieties because it is semi-oxidized.
Pu-erh tea: This tea is fully oxidized and has gone through the natural maturing process of the plant using the oldest leaves. It is not very common in America.
Other names with teas, such as Darjeeling, denote the area the tea was grown and harvested, such as Darjeeling India. While, names such as English Breakfast, notate areas teas are commonly consumed, such as at British Breakfast tables.
Information courtesy of theteapot.com and t-tox.com
Origins: Great Lakes Tea and Spice Co.
March 23, 2014
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