Teas and related items
Differences between the four major types of Tea
There are four major types of tea: White, Green, Oolong and Black. All these teas come from the raw leaves of the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. What distinguishes each category is the method used when processing the tea leaves, i.e. steamed, fermented (oxidized), dried, or bruised ? giving the tea the special characteristics of its category.
Black Tea: Black tea is the most popular type of tea, accounting for over 90% of tea sales in the West. Because it is the most oxidized out of the four types of teas, it does not have as many antioxidants as the other types. Black tea, however, contains the most caffeine and has the strongest flavor. If you like to buy in bulk, black tea has the longest shelf life out of all teas, retaining its flavor for several years. Black tea or ?red tea?, as the name it is known by in several Asian countries.
White Tea: White tea is the rarest of all teas. Because it is made from new growth buds, it is very different than other teas, which consist of mainly leaves. Because white tea is made with buds and very young leaves, it is the least processed and is not oxidized at all. White tea is left to air dry instead in a process called ?withering?. Studies have shown that it contains more anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities than green tea.
Green Tea: Green tea is close in family with white tea. It is also non-oxidized and has a similar taste, but it uses rolled leaves, instead of buds. Green tea has been studied far more than any other tea and contains several claims from scientists on its nutritional benefits. Most revolve around its role in preventing cancer and stress.
Oolong Tea: The final type of true tea is oolong tea. In comparison with the other teas, it falls between green and black with moderate oxidation. It has neither the rosy aroma of black tea or the grassy taste of green tea. Instead, oolong tea is described as bitter with a sweet melon-like aftertaste. While it hasn't been scientifically praised for its health benefits, you have probably encountered oolong tea in almost any Chinese restaurant you have been to.
Herbal Tea? One term that has become part of our everyday lingo is ?herbal tea?. Since we know that tea only comes from the tea plant Camellia sinensis, how can a tea be ?herbal?? It can't be. A product has to be either herbal or tea-based. In the tea industry, beverages made with herbs or flower parts instead of tea are often referred to as ?tisanes?, or herbal infusions.