Tea suffers from being a collective term used for the group and all of its parts. Like cheese and pasta, you might end up thinking you hate it because one of the dozens of varieties you’ve had wasn’t pleasing.
For some orange pekoe is the only tea they know. For others, tea is a magical substance that begs for hours of explanation on the notes and tones. Learning the basic types of tea is important to understand both of these groups.
The following lets you dip a toe in this enticing, complex beverage.
Types of Tea
With some exceptions, nearly all tea types come from a single tea plant. The names refer to different components of the plant, different techniques used for harvesting, and differences in the preparation of the leaves.
the more or less single origin of tea is one of the reasons you hear so much about tea’s health benefits.
The flavors of tea vary from additional ingredients and processing methods. The caffeine levels also shift dramatically.
The most common tea on the worldwide market are the black teas. These are the ones you find in sachets in the kitchen and spoken of by the British.
Black tea is dark in color and flavor and contains roughly half the caffeine of a coffee of similar size.
Black tea is made from leaves that are crushed and oxidized after harvest. Because of their depth, they respond well to additional flavors. Sweeteners such as honey and sugar, creamers such as milk, and citrus flavors are used to enhance the complexity.
These far more delicate teas come from the tips and bud of the plant. They are lightly processed. White tea is commonly more expensive than other varieties.
They contain little to no caffeine and retain brighter, floral tones. White teas make the basis of fruit teas where dried fruits are added to create a finished product.
The faker in this list, herbal tea isn’t made from the tea plant but rather is a combination of spices and herbs.
The name ‘tea’ comes from the similar preparation of steeping and drinking hot. While many herbal teas are mixtures of herbs, single herb teas exist. An example of this is soursop tea, which comes from a single plant.
Because the ingredients in herbal teas vary more widely, the claims of tea health benefits become harder to quantify.
Green tea is also made from tea leaves but with less drying and oxidation.
This provides green teas their signature color and brighter, more vegetable taste.
The process of frying leaves to make green tea leeches out some of the caffeine. They contain, on average, half the caffeine of the various types of black tea.
A true tea, but an odd one, pu-erh resembles green tea in its first stages but then it is aged through a fermentation process.
This leaves a darker color and flavor while also removing bitterness.
Feel Your Vibe
Like coffee and wine, the more you get to try different types of tea, the more you enjoy each.
With so many flavors and occasions to mix and match, tea can easily be a lifelong pursuit.
For more thoughts about how the world, check out other articles.