There are many varieties of tea and for this reason different colors and flavors, let’s see how many colors of tea exist and how they differ from each other.
How many types of tea are there?
Black tea, green tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong teas and teas called puer. The important thing to point out is that all these types of tea come from the two main species of Camellia for tea: Assamica and Sinensis. What actually differentiates them is the process the leaf undergoes and the type of leaf that is chosen.
Black Tea – Red Tea
Tea undergoes a mechanical process of crumpling after an initial withering of the leaves. They are subsequently folded and crushed in order to allow the oils and substances present in the vegetal cells to mix and come to the surface.
At this point begins a process of oxidation which reaches about 90/95% of completion, the result is the formation of substances with more complex and tannin tastes, which are also responsible for the brown/black color of the leaf.
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The leaf is subjected to an initial fast withering and then to a quick drying at high temperatures to prevent oxidative processes and maintain the brightness of the green color.
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For this kind of tea is very important the choice of leaves and the care in the process of drying which requires the leaves to be exposed to sun and fresh air for a specific time. This period of time allows them to lose water and not to undergo oxidizing processes for too long. A minimum amount of oxidation always happens.
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They are teas with intermediate oxidations between black teas and green teas and in order to make this happen a certain process must be done. The leaf is subjected to two withers, one in the sun and one indoors, before shaping the leaves which can be crumpled or even rolled on themselves.
After this first phase they are left to oxidize stacked in towers of bamboo trays until they are passed with air to stop the oxidation in progress. Then they can be folded further, cooked or roasted to modulate, add, enhance the flavors present in them.
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This tea is processed just like a green tea, but to this is added a making which involves putting the leaves in an isolated humid environment for a specific time and with the possibility of having cycles of exposure.
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Puer (or Puerh) Tea
This category of tea is divided in two groups, raw/green puerh or cooked puerh. In order for a tea to be definitive puerh, besides the type of processing, tradition wants it to be produced from camellias of the assamica variety found in Yunnan.
Sheng: the leaves are treated similarly to green tea, however the cooking in the wok is done at lower temperatures in order to leave active some enzymes which will continue their activity even once the leaves will be “fixed”. Subsequently the leaves are softened with steam and pressed in the form of a disc in order to have a favorable climate inside the form in order for the oxidation to proceed.
Shu: these teas undergo a process in which the leaf is exposed to bacteria and molds which wisely managed help to give it unique flavors.
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Want to know what benefits different teas bring to the body? Find all the information in the Tea Benefits section of the blog!