Are you entering the world of tea, the world’s oldest hot beverage? Tea is a wonderful drink for social gatherings, to warm up on a cold winter’s evening (or morning!), provides comfort to a person in distress, et cetera. You can find tea for just about everyone, especially when you dive into the world of loose leaf tea and the vast array of tea types out there. But for now, let’s discuss a little bit of information regarding the top three tea types now:
Green teas are relatively unoxidized, which means the pure varieties maintain their gorgeous colour when you steep them. The leaves undergo a heating process to eliminate the enzyme responsible for oxidization. This process is often roasting the leaves (China) or steaming them (Japan). The Chinese method results in a citrus or smoky flavour, whereas the Japanese method results in a vegetal or herbaceous quality. The former often means pale yellow tea and the latter a light green to deep green.
Perhaps the most popular type of tea (think Earl Grey, Orange Pekoe, and English Breakfast) black tea is fully oxidized. Though this tea originated in China, it is now cultivated around the world, and some of the most famous blends come from regions in India (e.g. Assam, Darjeeling). The best black teas are done by hand, though the use of machines to produce tea is becoming much more common.
White tea is the most delicate out of all the teas detailed on this list, and also undergoes the least amount of processing. Varieties of this tea often have delicate smells and flavours associated with it, featuring floral or fresh and earthy flavours. You can add fruit and other flavours into a white tea, but in doing so you run the risk of making it taste artificial. You must also be careful about the temperature of the water, since it is very easy to burn white tea.