How do teas vary?
Tea, like wine varies in flavour depending on where it is grown, the time of year it is picked and the methods used to process the leaf. Amazingly most teas come from one plant – Camellia sinensis – this single plant can produce white, green, black and oolong, depending on how the leaves are oxidised:
Green Tea – is made by ‘fixing’ the freshly plucked leaves through heat before being rolled and dried. It retains its fresh green colour because the leaves undergo minimal withering and only a small amount of natural oxidation.
White Tea – is made from the young leaves which are simply wilted and dried. White tea is called so because it has silvery-white fur on the surface of young tea buds which is visibly present in high quality teas.
Oolong Tea – is made from leaves that have been bruised and semi-oxidised. Due to the partial oxidisation, the leaves develop a rich flavour without any briskness. Oolongs can vary is shape and style, including semi-ball rolled, strip and leafy.
Black Tea – is made by rolling, firing and fully oxidising the leaves and has a brisk and bold taste. This is the most widely consumed type of tea in the World.