All tea comes from one plant- Camellia Sinensis. Depending on geography, microclimate, processing and harvesting, all tea will taste differently. Similar to wine, each tea carries of its distinctive flavors and aromas. What gives the tea a particular taste and flavor is not a different plant, but the oxidation that a tea leaf undergoes. Depending on the type of tea being produced, oxidation is either controlled or entirely eliminated. As a result of this control, 6 different types of teas are produced. Click on each link below to learn more about each type of tea. Happy reading!
Intro to Tea
Process: Black tea is the majority of the tea that’s consumed in the Western world.
The leaves are first exposed to hot air to reduce the water content by half. This step begins to release the enzyme responsible for oxidation. The leaves are then rolled by either hand or machine, which lets the essential oils to spread. This is an important step as it gives black tea its flavor and aroma. Finally, the leaves are oven dried to stop the oxidation process. Black tea is 90% oxidized.
Unlike other teas, black tea has a grading scale. Whole-leaf teas are the highest quality, followed by broken leaves, fannings and dust. Whole-leaf teas are most valuable since they are produced with care to keep the leaf unbroken. These are often used in loose-leaf teas. Broken leaves are commonly used in tea bags. Are whole-leaf teas better than broken leaves? Well, that depends on your taste and what you are trying to achieve from your perfect cup of tea.