What is Tea?
Leaves from the tea plant, scientifically known as Camellia sinensis.
There are two major varieties:
- C. sinensis var. sinensis, also known as small leaf
- C. sinensis var. assamica, also known as big leaf
Contrary to popular belief and despite their misleading names herbal teas and fruit teas are not true teas. More accurate and correct names for them would be herbal infusions, infusions of fruit or more eloquently tisanes.
Types of Tea
- White tea（白茶）
- Green tea（綠茶）
- Yellow tea（黃茶）
- Oolong tea（烏龍茶，literally black dragon tea, or 青茶，literally blue-green tea)
- Black tea（紅茶，literally red tea)
- (Post-)Fermented tea / Dark tea (黑茶，literally black tea)
White tea is the least processed. It is wilted and unoxidized. Its name derives from the white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which give the plant a whitish appearance. Please note that not all white teas have that type of appearance and that brewed white tea is usually a pale yellow.
It is unwilted and unoxidized.
Yellow tea is similar to green tea but with an added step of encasing and steaming the tea, that also gives the leaves a slightly yellow coloring during the drying process. It is unwilted and unoxidized but allowed to yellow. It’s the rarest and most expensive type of tea.
It is wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized.
It is wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized.
It is green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compost.