The Differences Between Teas

So here is our second blog attempt.  I hope that you find the information posted here helpful and if I miss something let me know!  I say that everyday is an opportunity to learn and grow!  Today’s blog is about the differences between teas.  

All tea comes from one type of plant, Camellia sinensis and it is processing of the leaves that make up the different types of teas available today. 

Green tea will be picked and sorted by hand and then are either steamed or pan fired to obtain maximum flavors.  Green tea is processed minimally and fermentation of the leaves with air is not allowed to occur.  Prior to drying, the leaves are either rolled or made into pellets as in Pinhead Gunpowder. 

Black teas are the most processed from the moment it is picked.  The leaves are left out in the sun to become wilted.  It is then hand rolled to break up the leaf tissue to release the chemicals needed for fermentation.  The chemicals will react with air and the leaves will turn from green to red and finally black before being packaged.  

Oolong teas are processed much like black teas, but the main difference is that oolong is fermented for shorter periods by firing the tea to stop the process.  Oolong teas can range in color from black to dark green. 

White teas are harvested early in the growing season when small white hairs are still visible on the leaves and the buds are closed.  The tea is the least processed of all the teas as they are picked and allowed to dry in the sun.  There is no steaming or firing of the tea, but if mechanical drying is needed, it is done by baking the leaves in ovens. White teas are sweetly delicate in flavor and is pale yellow in color.  

Michiko Burns

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