We love tea, and with over 25,000 cups consumed worldwide by tea drinkers every second of the day, we're pretty sure we aren't the only ones. We also love learning and sharing knowledge about tea with you! So, we thought it would be fun to dive in and explore more about one of the most consumed beverages in the world.
Tea can be a pretty vast subject to approach because of the sheer amount of tea types, the volume, and the many different approaches to growing and producing. Tea itself all begins with the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but the variations come from how the tea is grown, different plant varieties, and the unique production processes. While there may be over 20,000 estimated types of tea in the world, we thought it'd be best to start with the six main types many are familiar with.
Join us as we explore more about each tea variety, how it's grown, and some of the associated health benefits.
Black tea is one of the most oxidized of the teas, meaning its robust flavor is heavily influenced by increased exposure to the air during the drying process.
While black tea is grown around the world, it's most commonly produced in India, where an astounding 50% of the world's tea is produced. Following harvest, the tea leaves are withered for half a day then rolled to begin oxidation. Following a period of 8 hours or so, the tea is then dried, often by using special dryers for the process.
What's left following black tea production are incredibly bold flavors that can range from earthy and spicy to fruity and sweet. While tea drinkers love the flavor profiles associated with black tea, it's also been shown to have several potential health benefits such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar lowering.
Green tea goes through a very different production process than black tea. This tea variety is widely attributed to originating in China, and today is produced all over the world, including Japan, India, New Zealand, and Hawaii. Once harvested, green tea leaves are very quickly heated and then dried; this causes the tea to avoid too much oxidation and allows for a much different flavor.
Green tea is well-known to have potential important health benefits, including blood sugar reduction, increased heart health and aids in the support of weight loss. While these possible health benefits draw millions of tea drinkers, the balanced and nuanced flavors of green tea are beloved worldwide. Green tea flavors can range from floral and fruity to bittersweet, sweet, or nutty.
Popular Teas: Matcha, Dragonwell Green
Yellow tea is not as commonly found. The reason yellow tea is more rare is due to its more complicated production process. Yellow tea is immediately dried upon harvesting, but then it goes through the extra step of being wrapped in wet cloth and then steamed. Following oxidation for several days, the tea is then dried again before it's ready for consumption or sale.
Yellow tea is almost exclusively produced in China by Chinese tea masters. While the production process of yellow tea can be a little more tricky, the tea itself produces a highly sought after mellow taste that's also rich in healthy antioxidants.
Popular Teas: Huoshan Huangya, Huangshan Maofeng
White tea is known to be a more delicate tea option and is aptly named due to the white hairs that grow all over the leaves. This tea variety is also produced from the Camellia sinensis plant, but it differs in that it's harvested while the buds are still young and before the plant opens fully.
White tea is primarily made in China in the Fujian province, but it can also be found in parts of India, Nepal, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Following harvest, this tea type goes through a much more minimal production process that includes wilting for several days and then drying in a low temperature oven to reduce moisture.
There are claims that white tea can reduce the chances of cancer, reduce insulin resistance, improve dental health, and more. But drinkers of this tea also enjoy the smooth, delicate, and often fruity flavors that white tea has to offer.
Popular Teas: Darjeeling white tea, Bai Mudan, Baihao Yinzhen
Oolong tea is generally considered more artisan. The name of this tea is derived from the word "wulong" which means "black dragon" in the Chinese language. Oolong tea is grown high in the mountainous regions of China and is known to have a rich and hearty flavor.
Once harvested, the Oolong tea leaves are wilted in the sun and then cooled. Next, the tea leaves are rolled and left to oxidize before being roasted and then rolled one final time. Following drying of the tea and then hand sorting for, Oolong tea is then ready for consumption and selling. The end result provides the unique flavor Oolong is known for and lends to the unique look that some believe looks like a dragon. Oolong tea is also believed to have similar brain, bone, dental, and heart health benefits as other teas.
Popular Teas: Qilan, Tieguanyin, Fo Shou
Pu'erh is one of the most storied teas. This tea is traditionally made in the Yunnan Province, China and lends a truly unique flavor profile due to its fermentation process. China has actually designated Pu'erh as a product of origin, meaning it can only be grown in the Yunnan Province.
Pu'erh is derived from a Camellia sinensis subspecies called Camellia sinensis var. assamica, which has larger leaves. Following harvest, the tea leaves are tossed in heated woks to halt the oxidation process and then dried in the sun. Once dried, the loose tea leaves are then pressed into circular or square-shaped bricks which will allow the leaves to ferment over time.
The interesting thing about Pu'erh is that no one cup tastes alike from every brick. Drinkers of this tea will remove small portions from the brick to brew as needed, and then the remaining tea continues to age and ferment, which lends a different taste every time its brewed. Overall, Pu'erh tea is known to be earthy, sweet, and smoky. This robust fermented tea is also thought to have liver, weight loss, cholesterol, and other health benefits.
Continue your tea journey with Angelino's! Try our 96-count Organic Tea Experience box with 8 certified organic teas, including black, green, and herbal teas.