Who doesn’t enjoy winding down after a long day with a nice warm cup of tea? The aromatic and soothing beverage is the top pick for many who want to end their day feeling warm and fuzzy. Many varieties of tea are available in the world today. Unlike coffee, which can be extracted from various seeds and plants, tea is made directly from crushed tea leaves. Of course, not all tea is authentic tea. This means that as many manufacturers of tea are present worldwide, the extracted tea undergoes many processes to add unique flavors.
The first traces of tea are found to be in China where several varieties of it were used for different purposes. From medicinal uses to caffeine boost, tea served all. Perhaps it is due to its roots that tea is a staple food for every household in all of Asia.
Since then, many different kinds of tea can be found in the market. Let’s explore the different types of tea with Ido Fishman, an expert in all fields of culinary.
Basic Varieties of Tea
Extracted from the Camellia Sinensis plant, also called the tree plant, the black tree is one of the most popular tea types. It has the highest caffeine ratio amongst all tea types, however, it is not as high as in coffee. Black tea is known for providing many health benefits such as reducing inflammation from the body. This is because this tea type is highly oxidized and contains plenty of antioxidants.
In addition to the health benefits of this tea, it also has a pleasant flavor. Ido Fishman explains that the extract collected from the Camellia Sinensis plant is mixed with other herbs and plants to create a variety of flavors.
This is yet another kind of tea that is extracted from the tree plant, Camellia Sinensis. While the plant source for black and green teas are the same, they do not have any other similarities. One of the main differences lies in the fact that green tea is a non-oxidized tea. It has a milder flavor and a lower caffeine ratio than black tea.
The leaves for green tea are heated soon after the harvest which majorly reduces the level of antioxidants present in the leaves. Due to its almost-zero calorie count, it is a popular beverage for weight-reducing diets. Green tea is also very popular among tea sommeliers. Many tea manufacturers produce different kinds of green tea. The trademark of green tea is its pale yellowish-green shade and light and grassy taste.
While tea originated from China, tea plantations have spread to many other parts of the world. The authentic taste of white tea, however, can only be experienced from the tea plantations in China. The tea leaves are treated with extreme care because they have to be harvested at a specific time. Instead of crushed leaves, white tea is made from baby leaves and immature buds of the plant. This tea undergoes the least number of processes to reach its final form.
White tea is regarded as a delicate tea because of its light taste, texture, and oxidizing properties. Contrary to what the name suggests, this tea has a light yellow color when brewed. It is a naturally aromatic and flavored tea that holds a mixed tang of flowers, honey, vanilla, citrus fruits, and some herbs. Taking into account all the properties of this tea, it is one of the most expensive teas in the world.
Oolong tea, also sometimes spelled as Wulong, is a semi-oxidized tea. So, the tea leaves are left to settle for a few hours before being heated for treatment. Oolong tea has the most varieties available in the market. You can find many different flavors at relatively cheaper prices. However, the authentic Oolong tea may leave a small dent in your wallet.
This tea is also called the black dragon tea which can be attributed to the appearance of the tea leaves after they have been processed. From the rigorous process, the final appearance of the tea leaves is of rolled up darkened leaves from the center. This tea lies between the states of being fermented and unfermented because it is neither of those.
Now, unlike other teas, Pu’erh tea can only be obtained from Yunnan in China. No other tea plantations of the world have been able to replicate the unique earthy flavor of this tea. This tea is one of the purest of trees and is often considered a tea of luxury. The tea leaves for Pu’erh are collected from wild bushes as opposed to the carefully planted bushes of other teas. It is usually available in the form of bricks or dried leaves.
Pu’erh tea is a highly fermented tea, so you can age this tea similar to wine. The fermentation of this tea takes place after it has been treated for oxidization. So, the more you allow the tea leaves to age, the more of its distinct flavor you will be able to brew. The quality of this tea depends on its aging and the different stages can be referred to as young raw Pu’erh, aged raw Pu’erh, and ripe Pu’erh. Furthermore, the tea has a relatively high caffeine ratio, so it works as a great replacement for coffee. The antioxidant properties of this tea are also beneficial for skin health.
The Bottom Line
And there you have it, your introduction to the wonderful and calming world of teas. If you enjoy exploring different kinds of tea, then try out these top five picks by Ido Fishman and see which one you enjoy the most. You may have noticed that the main factors that differentiate these tea varieties from each other are their oxidization levels and harvesting processes.
Tea manufacturing companies provide many different varieties and flavors of tea which you can find at any local supermarket. You can also add your personal touches to the teas to suit your tastes better. For instance, many people take their black tea with tea whiteners and sugar while others enjoy adding some lemon drops to their green tea. There are endless possibilities of adjusting these tease to your preferences.