Monday, November 25, 2013

Tea Types

All tea is produced from a plant called Camellia sinensis. The thousands of different varieties of teas available in the world only vary by the region it was grown, the time of year picked, and the processing method.

Our premium teas come from all over the world and many of our Chinese and Japanese teas fit into one of these main categories of tea: white, green, oolong, and black tea. We also carry herbal infusions or tisanes, sometimes called herbal tea, which do not actually contain the Camellia sinensis plant.

Each type of tea has its own characteristics including a different taste and differing health benefits. One of the best ways to find out which teas are for you is to walk into a Teavana store and sample some of our delicious, premium loose tea.  You can also learn about different tea types by reading the following tea descriptions or browsing our full selection of loose leaf teas.  

>White Teas

White tea is the purest and least processed of all teas.  This loose leaf tea brews a light color and flavor. White tea, like other tea types, comes from the Camellia sinensisplant, specifically the tea buds and youngest tea leaves of this plant.  It is the least processed of all teas—the tea leaves are simply steamed and then dried.  White tea has very little caffeine, 1-2% as much caffeine content as one cup of coffee, and brews a light color and flavor.  Loose white teas can be appreciated for their subtlety, complexity, natural sweetness, and delicacy.

History of White Tea

White tea was the preferred drink of royalty as far back as the Tang Dynasty in China (618-907 A.D).  Prized for its mild and delicate taste, white tea was known as the Emperor’s Drink and the general population could not partake.  Around the nineteenth century, there became more variety in white teas from tea bushes that were cultivated to make the well-knownSilver Needle tea and other types of white teas. 

The Best White Teas

The rarest and best white tea is Silver Needle tea.  Silver Needle white tea comes from handpicked tea buds that are harvested only two days out of the year.  This rare white tea can be re-infused two or more times.  It can be added to a bath for luxurious all-over skin treatment or ground into powder to be mixed with honey for a facial mask that rejuvenates skin.  Silver Needle is the best white tea for mixing with flavored or scented teas so you get all the wonderful white tea health benefits without disrupting the overall taste.

Snow Geisha White Tea is a favorite flavored white tea that contains top quality white tea buds and sumptuous cherry pieces.  It has an amazing aroma and appearance and makes a delicious treat anytime of the day.

Enjoy a soothing evening with our delicate Lavender Dreams® White Tea infused with candied violets, rosebuds, sweet peach, and the tranquility only aromatic lavender blossoms can create.

Or, try an iced cold glass of our refreshingly crisp Watermelon Mint Chiller™ White Tea. Juicy watermelon, brisk peppermint and soothing, stimulating eucalyptus mix marvelously with notes of pineapple, tangerine and berries creating a minty, juicy chiller that will keep you calm and collected no matter how high the mercury rises. View all Teavana White Teas.

White Tea Preparation Instructions

Generally, brewing white tea requires hot water at 175º (simply add two ice cubes for every 8 oz of boiling water to achieve this temperature).  Use 1.5 tsp of loose tea per 8 oz of water and steep for 4-5 minutes if using unflavored white tea and 1 minute for flavored white teas. Each of Teavana’s loose white teas will come with specific preparation instructions, including the amount of tea to use per 8 oz. of water, at what temperature the water should be, and how long the tea must steep before it is ready.  Please refer to the individual tea package for the exact instructions on how to make the perfect cup of white tea.

>Green Teas

Green tea is the most popular type of tea, mainly because it is the beverage of choice in Asia. Some loose green teas are scented with flowers or mixed with fruits to create scented or flavored teas. 

Green tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant from which all types of tea are made.  Produced primarily in China and Japan, tea leaves are picked, dried, and heat-treated to stop fermentation of the loose leaf green tea.  The heat treatment for Chinese green tea consists of roasting the tea leaves in a hot roasting pan whereas Japanese green tea is steamed. After moisture is removed through the heat treatment, the tea leaves are typically rolled and dried again before ready for use.  Chinese green tea produces a yellowish green liquor and toasted taste while Japanese green tea is dark green in color and has a grassy taste. 

History of Green Tea

Green tea has been consumed in Asia for centuries. When green tea was first discovered in China, only the wealthy and elite drank the expensive beverage.  By the 1400s, green tea was the drink of choice for Chinese commoners as well. It was essential for seafarers since green tea consumption prevented scurvy.  There are several regions in China that produce some of the finest premium green teas such as Dragonwell Green Tea andEmperor’s Clouds and Mist Green Tea

Green tea was brought from China to Japan in A.D. 803 – 805.  A Japanese monk who had been studying in China planted seeds of the Chinese tea plant at his monastery.  After serving the tea to the Japanese emperor, the emperor ordered for the creation of more tea cultivation sites and eventually different varieties of the green tea were born.  Such varieties include Gyokuro Genmaicha Green Tea and Sencha Jade Reserve Green Tea .

The Best Green Teas

Gyokuro is one of the best green teas from Japan. Gyokuro is grown in the shade which boosts the chlorophyll content of the leaves and gives it a unique taste. This loose leaf green tea has a sweet, earthy aftertaste. Gyokuro can be used to make Matcha, the powdered green tea of tea ceremonies.

Of the Chinese teas, Dragonwell is one of the best Chinese green teas and was previously reserved for the Imperial Family of China. Dragonwell green tea gets its name after the legend that a monk was sitting by a well during a drought when a dragon joined him.  The monk asked the dragon to rescue the tea crop and the dragon brought the rain.  Dragonwell green tea has a distinctive sweet aftertaste and a hint of lingering chestnut.

There are also many scented and flavored green teas. One of the best scented green teas is Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls, which is made from the youngest tea buds and hand-rolled into a pearl and naturally scented with jasmine flowers 8-10 times. The pearls bloom open when brewed and gives off an amazing flowery aroma. Other popular flavored green teas to try areBlackberry Mojito Green Tea and Peachberry Jasmine Sutrawhich are both full of delicious, fruity flavors. View all Teavana Green Teas

Green Tea Preparation Instructions

In general, when making green tea, hot water should be at 175º (adding two ice cubes for every 8 oz of boiling water achieves approximately this temperature).  Use 1 tsp per 8 oz of water and steep for one minute; hand-rolled teas like Jasmine Pearl tea will take about a minute longer (to allow the pearl to unfurl first) and shade grown tender teabud teas like Gyuokuro need only 30-45 seconds to steep. Each of Teavana’s loose green teas will come with specific preparation instructions, including the amount of tea to use per 8 oz. of water, at what temperature the water should be, and how long the tea must steep before it is ready.  Please refer to the individual tea's preparation instructions (click "Preparation" when viewing a tea) on how to make the perfect cup of green tea.

>Oolong Teas

Oolong tea, also known as wu long tea, is full-bodied with a flavorful fragrance and sweet aroma.  Most people commonly recognize oolong tea as the Chinese tea served in Chinese restaurants. 

Oolong tea is another delicious variety of tea.  It is also known as wulong (or wu long) tea and is often served in Chinese restaurants. Similar to green teas, oolong teas also originate from the Camellia sinensis plant and undergo similar processing steps.  However, after the tea leaves are picked, they are intentionally bruised by shaking.  While the leaves are drying, the edges of the bruised leaves turn reddish in color and the surface becomes light yellow due to fermentation and oxidation.  After some fermentation period the tea leaves are pan fired to create a semi-fermented tea.  Chinese oolong tea is fermented only long enough to achieve 12-20% fermentation and results in a lighter oolong, while a longer period results in 60-70% fermentation of Taiwanese oolong teas giving them a stronger oolong flavor. Loose leaf oolong tea is full-bodied with a sweet aroma

History of Oolong Tea

There are three theories of how oolong tea came to be.  First, in the “tribute tea” theory, oolong was thought to have been derived from the Dragon-Phoenix tea cake when the emperors began favoring loose teas during the Ming dynasty in the 16thcentury.  Then, the long black loose tea was called Wu (meaning black) Long (meaning dragon) tea; hence, wulong tea was also known as Black Dragon tea.  In the “Wuyi” theory, oolong tea was first made in the Wuyi Mountain  of the Fujian province.  Poems like the Wuyi Tea Song and Tea Tale tell of oolong tea being processed in the Wuyi Mountain.  Last, the “Anxi” theory claims oolong tea came from the Wulong plant, named after its discoverer, Sulong which was misinterpreted as Wulong.

The Best Oolong Teas

The most revered oolong tea is Monkey Picked Oolong Tea. Named by Buddhist monks who trained monkeys to harvest the youngest leaves from the top of wild tea trees, this loose leaf is made of the highest possible grade of oolong. It is a premium oolong tea that has an orchid-like aroma and smooth finish.

Four Seasons Oolong Tea is a full-bodied cup, golden amber in color and pleasantly aromatic, evoking sweet jasmine, lily and honey.

One of the best flavored oolong teas is Maharaja Chai Oolong tea. The famed ‘Spice Route’ is conjured up in every rich cup of this robust and most favored chai. These oolong teas are just a few of our premium loose teas that are one of the more delicious types of tea. View all Teavana Oolong Teas.

Oolong Tea Preparation

Making loose leaf oolong teas tea usually requires hot water at 195º, 1.5 tsp of loose tea per 8 oz of water and steep time of 3 minutes.  Each of Teavana’s loose oolong teas will come with specific preparation instructions, including the amount of tea to use per 8 oz. of water, at what temperature the water should be, and how long the tea must steep before it is ready.  Please refer to the individual tea package for the exact instructions on how to make the best cup of oolong tea.

>Black Teas

Black tea is the tea most people know since you likely grew up dipping tea bags of black tea in your cup (or enjoyed this tea from an iced tea pitcher in the South). 

Black tea is a fully fermented variety of tea that comes from the same Camellia sinensis plant that oolong and green teas are made from.  The process of making loose black tea involves withering then rolling of the tea leaves followed by a long period of fermentation.  Then the black tea leaves are fired resulting in a loose leaf black tea with a complex yet recognizable smell and full-bodies, strong flavor. 

History of Black Tea

No one is certain exactly when and where black tea was invented, but there are two stories that may explain the first discovery of black tea.  The “Wuyi” theory, thought to be one theory about the creation of oolong tea, is also significant in Chinese black tea history.  Compressed tea cakes had been made in the Wuyi Mountains since the Song Dynasty.  When the emperor of the Ming Dynasty demanded a shift to loose leaf tea production, the tea producers made several attempts at making premium loose leaf teas.  During this new process, tea leaves would turn red as a sign of fermentation. Because of the red color of the tea leaves, black tea was readily known as red tea in China (not to be confused with rooibos red tea).

Another story of black tea’s invention takes place in the Chinese village of Tong Mu.  Sometime during the 16th century, army soldiers passing through Tong Mu village temporarily stopped production of green tea. The soldiers made beds out of piles of tea leaves and when they finally left the village, the tea leaves had turned black. Tea processing was resumed with these black tea leaves and a new kind of loose tea was born.

The Best Black Teas

One of the best black teas is Golden Monkey Black Tea. This loose leaf black tea was chosen by the White House to serve at the State Dinner on January 19, 2011 during a visit by the President of China. Black Dragon Pearl Black Tea is another one of the best black teas; this hand-rolled pearl tea is from the Yunnan province of China.

Many flavored varieties of loose black teas have become very popular, such as our Cacao Mint Black Tea . Refreshing peppermint compliments creamy cocoa pieces in this rich dessert-like treat. Another favorite in our flavored black teas isEarl Grey Crème Black Tea. It's a rich combination of the classic loose Earl Grey black tea with flavors of creamy vanilla blended with sunny yellow marigold petals.

Last, pu-erh teas are premium black teas aged in caves for up to 15 years.  Pu-erh teas have a smooth and earthy flavor.  View allTeavana Black Teas.

Black Tea Preparation

Making loose leaf black teas tea usually requires hot water at 195º, 1.5 tsp of loose tea per 8 oz of water and steep time of 3-4 minutes.  Each of Teavana’s loose leaf black teas will come with specific preparation instructions, including the amount of tea to use per 8 oz. of water, at what temperature the water should be, and how long the tea must steep before it is ready.  Please refer to the individual tea package for the exact instructions on how to make the best cup of premium black tea.

>Herbal Teas

Herbal tea does not contain any leaves from the Camellia plant family, so it is sometimes referred to as a tisane. Herbal teas can be broken into three categories: rooibos teas, mate teas, and herbal infusions. Herbal infusions consist of pure herbs, flowers, and fruits. They can be delicious hot or iced. 

Herbal teas are not actually produced from tea leaves like white,greenoolong and black teas.  Herbal tea, often called an herbal tisane or herbal infusion, is generally made from dried fruits, herbs, even flowers.  They can be brewed as tea leaves or blended with other types of tea to create an aromatic and flavorful cup of tea that is caffeine free.  

There are typically three categories of herbal teas based on their main ingredients.  First, rooibos tea is an herbal tea made primarily from the South African red bush.  Also, mate teas are an herbal tea made from the South American Yerba Mate plant.  Finally, the more popular herbal tea category of herbal infusionscan be made from a variety of ingredients including dried fruits, hibiscus, and rosehips.

History of Herbal Tea

The Chinese were known to have discovered tea thousands of years ago. Likewise, the Chinese were using herbs for their medicinal properties for centuries and they were the first to introduce herbs into tea drinking. Fruits, vegetable, herbs and flowers were often added for medicinal reasons as well as to improve the taste of teas. Eventually a version of tea called atisane was created that didn't actually include any tea.

The Best Herbal Teas

Most herbal teas are flavored with fruits and flowers.  For example, Wild Orange Blossom Herbal Tea is a sweet herbal infusion of orange blossom and rose petals plus citrus fruits. Another fruit herbal tea that is delicious and healthy isStrawberry Lemonade Herbal Tea. This fruity tea is full of strawberry and lemon pieces. Kids (and adults) love these caffeine free herbal teas!

Herbal Tea Preparation

Making loose herbal tea usually requires hot water at 208º, 1.5 tsp of loose tea per 8 oz of water and steep time of 4-5 minutes.  Many herbal teas taste great when iced, to make herbal iced teas, simply double the amount of tea used.  Steep with the same hot water temperature and steep time as if making hot tea, then pour the brewed tea into a cup nearly full of ice. 

>Rooibos Teas

Rooibos tea, or red tea, is made from a South African red bush. Rooibos teas can be delicious hot or iced. 

Rooibos teas are a naturally sweet and sometimes nutty herbal tea made from the South African Red Bush often referred to as Red Tea or African Red Tea.  The rooibos tea processing method involves harvesting the red bush leaves, followed by grinding and bruising of the leaves. Then the rooibos is left to ferment and dried to yield a reddish brown needle-like tea.  Green rooibos tea does not have a fermentation step and thus has a lighter taste than red rooibos teas.  Both varieties of rooibos tea are caffeine free.     

History of Rooibos Tea

In 1772, Swedish botanist Carl Thunberg found the people of the Cape of South Africa were making tea from local plants, specifically, the rooibos plant.  By the 1900s, settlers of the Cape refined the curing process to make African red tea, employing similar methodologies of green tea processing. Soon after cultivation of rooibos red bush tea spread throughout South America and more recently, has broken into the American tea market for its unique taste and variety of flavors.

The Best Rooibos Teas

The best rooibos tea really depends on your taste.  Red and green rooibos tea can be blended with many flavors to create a perfectly healthy and delicious cup of tea.  One of our most coveted flavored rooibos teas is Blueberry Bliss Rooibos Tea, a green rooibos with sweet fruity aromas, capturing the essence of summer in berries, grapes, black currants and hibiscus flowers blends perfectly with a touch of our Rock Sugar.  For a more flowery blend, there is Rooibos Tropica Rooibos Tea. It's a long-time favorite containing red rooibos tea and green rooibos blend conjuring up a paradise of peach pieces, strawberry bits and rhubarb. For a spicier taste try our Dosha Chai, an aromatic harmony equaled only by its extraordinary ingredients. Red rooibos melts into cinnamon sticks, ginger, whole cloves and rose blossoms. Heavenly vanilla is the height of luxury perfectly balanced by toasted coconut and cardamom to soothe the spirit and mind

Rooibos teas can be mixed with other herbal teas for a more fruity flavored tea.  Or, blend rooibos with loose white tea orgreen teas for a more complex flavor and extra health benefits. One of the best rooibos teas for blending is Apple Lemon Pomegranate Rooibos tea. Mixing it with Imperial Acai Blueberry White Tea creates a, fruity green rooibos tea blend full of flavor. View all Teavana Rooibos Teas and find your favorite today.

Rooibos Tea Preparation

Making rooibos tea is very similar to preparing any other herbal tea.  1.5 tsp of rooibos tea should be added for every 8 oz cup of boiling water.  The rooibos tea should steep for 5-6 minutes.  If left to brew longer, the rooibos tea should not become very bitter, as this type of tea has steeped for days in some South African households.  Many rooibos teas also taste great as an iced tea.  To make rooibos iced tea, just double the amount of tea used, steep at the same temperature and for the same length of time, then pour the tea directly into a glass full of ice.

>Mate Teas

Mate tea is considered the coffee lover's favorite tea. Made from the leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant, our My Morning Mate is a particular favorite of coffee drinkers because it tastes like coffee. 

Mate teas are made from the South American yerba mate plant.  Most yerba mate comes from Argentina; at these plantations, the leaves and stems of yerba mate are harvested and then blanched, dried, aged, and finally milled or cut.  This Mate makes a delicious, boldly flavored tea that is traditionally consumed in a gourd with a filtered straw and shared among friends.

History of Yerba Mate Teas

Early South American tribes had discovered the wild yerba mate plant and considered the mate tea “the drink of the gods.” During the 16th century in Argentina, the Spanish conquistadors took a liking to the mate tea and spread the consumption of this herbal tea.  Eventually it was Jesuit missionaries that spread mate tea drinking and the creation of yerba mate plantations to other parts of South America.  The Jesuits found the secret to successfully growing yerba mate was the use only seeds that passed through the digestive system of certain birds.  This secret left with the Jesuits when they were expelled in 1769.  Much later, a French botanist figured out the secret of yerba mate seed germination but then disappeared.  By the early 1900s, the secret revealed itself again and cultivation of yerba mate tea on plantations resumed.

The Best Yerba Mate Teas

The best mate tea for coffee drinkers is My Morning Mate Tea. It combined black tea, mate tea and a touch of spice for that coffee flavor you enjoy. Samurai Chai Mate is the best spicy mate tea.  Full of strong spices, herbs, and citrus flavors, this mate is a treat for all your senses. But for a fruitier flavor, try Raspberry Riot Lemon Mate tea and throw in a touch of our Rock Sugar. Absolutely delicious! View all Teavana Mate Teas

Mate Tea Preparation

To prepare mate tea, 1 tsp. of loose mate tea should be added to 8oz of boiling water.  The mate tea should steep for 5-6 minutes.

>Blooming Teas

Also called artisan or flowering teas, these teas actually 'bloom' as they steep. They are hand tied by tea artists and often include some type of flavor or scent along with the beautiful design. These romantic teas make a great gift for your significant other! .

>Tea Blends

Tea blends often have the best of both worlds since they combine more than one type of premium tea.  Mixing teas in a blend is one of the best ways to get great flavor. 

Tea Bases (Camellia Sinensis)]

  • Made from fermented leaves of tea plants.
Chinese teas:
Indian teas:
  • Made from the early buds of tea plants. The are generally the rarest and most expensive of the regular teas. As a result of the short oxidation, white tea contains the most health benefits of any tea.

  • Pu-erh tea comes from the Yunnan province in China, and has a distinct
earthy aroma. This tea differs from other black tea because it grows a thin layer of mold on the leaves, which are harmless and known to have many health benefits. Pu-erh, like wine, gets better with age. Cakes of Pu-erh that have aged for decades are sold for several thousand dollars.

Flavored Teas[edit]

  • Earl Grey tea is named after its inventor, Charles, Earl Grey. The flavouring of Earl Grey Tea comes from the Bergamot plant, which is a citrus grown plant in the Mediterranean.
  • Lapsang souchong is a tea of Chinese origin which is noted for its smoky taste.
  • Tea infused with Jasmine

Herbal Teas (Tisanes)

Compressed Teas[]

  • Tea compressed into a brick shape, for ease of transport, sometimes decoratively.

Red tea - rooibos - naturally caffeine free and low in tannin - many health benefits.
  • Not members of the camellia genus

Black tea


Redirected from Black Tea

See also Black tea at Wikipedia.
Black tea leaves
Black Tea Leaves
Black tea is a common tea made from the plant Camellia sinensis.
Black tea is fermented more than greenwhite, and Oolong tea giving it a dark colour. It can be very bitter if the leaves are steeped in the hot water too long.
It can be drunk with milk and/or sugar, or with a slice of lemon.

  • Kenyan from Africa, similar to Assam.
  • Vietnamese from Vietnam, similar to some cheaper Yunnan teas, with a pleasant and sweet aroma but a more bodied and darker brew; unlike teas from Nepal or Darjeeling.
  • Nepalese from uplands of Nepal. Somewhat similar to higher grades of Darjeeling.
  • Turkish (Çay) from Rize Province on the eastern Black Sea] coast of Turkey, that is crystal clear and mahogany in colour. Prepared in a samovar or a çaydanlık, it can be served strong ("koyu" dark) or weak ("açık" light), in small glasses with or without sugar.
  • Thai tea from Thailand
  • Azerbaijani tea from Azerbaijan, Caucasus.
  • Georgian tea from Caucasus in Georgia, Caucasus.
  • Krasnodar tea from Caucasus in Russia
  • Sumatra tea from Indonesia, similar to Java tea.
  • Cameron tea from the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia;
  • Guatemalan tea from Chirrepec, Coban, Alta Verapaz, a blend of Assam and China Type.
  • Iranian Tea from the mountaineous Gilan and Mazandaran provinces, with a strong and peculiar aroma. Usually taken with quite a lot of sugar.

Genmaicha tea


Redirected from Genmaicha Tea

Genmaicha tea is the Japanese name for green tea combined with roasted brown rice. Originally a means of extending the tea by poorer Japanese. It is now drunk more widely.
It is normally prepared with water at 80-85 degrees centigrade.

Yellow tea

See also Yellow tea at Wikipedia.
Yellow tea is produced in a similar manner to green tea, yet with a slower drying phase.

See also[edit]

White tea

The least processed form of tea, picked from the first buds (and thus the rarest and most expensive).
As the leaves are very delicate, the tea is prepared at the lowest temperatures.

See also[edit]

Tea Types

Black, Green, Oolong, White, Pu-erh and Other Tea Types

There are thousands of types of tea in the world. In the West, teas were traditionally classified as green teablack tea and oolong tea. More recently, white tea and pu-erh tea have been added to the list of common Western tea classifications. Other tea types include yellow tea, scented/flavored tea and blended tea. Each of these tea types has processing methods, aromas and flavors that set it apart from the rest. Here's what makes each tea type unique.

Black Tea
Black tea is the most common type of tea in the Western world. It is noted for its full, bold flavor and its ability to pair well with many Western foods, particularly sweets and creamy foods. For this reason many popular teas for afternoon tea are black teas.

Black tea's processing is different from other types in that it is fully (or almost fully) oxidized. Oxidation is the same natural process that occurs when you muddle herbs and allow their flavors and aromas to develop for a few minutes. Typically, black tea is rolled or crushed with machines to release its natural essential oils, which react with oxygen in the air to change the flavor and aroma of the leaves. When oxidation is deemed complete, the tea is heated and dried to end the oxidation process.

Generally, the flavors and aromas of tea become fuller and deeper during oxidation. Notes of tannin, malt, chocolate, earth, stonefruit, grape and/or citrus emerge. The final color of the leaves is chocolaty brown, brown-black or blue-black.* The brew tends to be reddish, which is why 'black tea' is known as 'red tea' (hong cha) in China.

Tippy teas may be flecked with (or made entirely from) silver or golden tips. Nepalese black teas tend to be less-than-fully oxidized, so they are often flecked with greenish leaves.

Green Tea
Green teas are rapidly gaining popularity in the West among Baby Boomers and others for their purported health benefits. In Japan and many parts of China, green teas are a staple of local cuisine. Green teas range from sweet and mellow (such as Long Jing) to vegetal/grassy and lemony (such as Sencha).

Unlike black tea, green tea is unoxidized. Japanese green teas (such as Sencha and Gyokuro) are typically steamed. Chinese-style teas (such as Long Jing and Bi Luo Chun) are typically processed with dry heat using an oven-like rotating drum and/or a cooking vessel similar to a wok.

These different processing methods produce different flavors, just as steaming or roasting the same vegetable would result in different flavors. Japanese-style green teas tend to have strong vegetal (vegetable-like), grassy or oceanic/seaweed notes and a slight citrus undertone. Chinese-style green teas may have some vegetal flavors, but also often have a mellower, sweeter flavor profile with notes of nuts, flowers, wood and/or vanilla.

Oolong Tea
Also known as 'blue-green' tea or 'wu long' oolong tea is capable of an incredible depth and complexity that attracts many foodies, wine fanatics and serious tea drinkers. It's sometimes called 'the connoisseur's tea' for this reason. Its flavors/aromas and its reputed (although, many think, over-hyped) ability to aid in weight loss are factors in its rising popularity.

Oolong is often described as 'somewhere between green and oolong tea.' Whereas green tea is unoxidized and black tea is (almost) fully oxidized, oolong tea is partially oxidized. It is rolled by hand or machine (to bring the essential oils to the surface for oxidation) and pan fired, and then allowed to oxidize. This process is repeated many times until the desired level of oxidation is achieved. During this process, the leaves may be rolled into balls, twisted or otherwise shaped. Many oolongs are roasted after they have been oxidized in order to further develop their flavors and aromas. However, there are additional processing techniques (such as rolling and shaping) which further differentiate oolong from black tea and green tea.

Depending on their processing, oolongs may have flavors and aromas of honey, orchids and other flowers, lychee and other fruits, wood, butter or cream, vanilla and/or coconut. (As an exception, Wuyi oolongs are noted for their mineral flavors, which are not typically present in other oolongs.) These nuances often change and develop over multiple infusions, and the aroma is often as complex and enjoyable as the flavor.

Pouchong Tea
Pouchong (or Baozhong) is sometimes considered to be a subclass of green tea or oolong tea. It is green in color, but it is lightly oxidized, like an oolong. Some suppliers sell it as a green, others as an oolong, and still others as its own class of tea.

White Tea
White tea is gaining a following because of its high levels of antioxidants and typically lowlevel of caffeine.** It typically has a very delicate, nuanced flavor.

White tea processing is minimal. It is plucked from the buds (and, in the case of Bai Mu Dan / 'White Peony,' the buds and leaves) of varietals that have a lot of down (fine white 'hairs' the new buds use for protection) on them. The buds (and sometimes leaves) are carefully air-dried, sun-dried and/or oven-dried.

The differences between white teas are often more to do with quality than variations in processing, and the differences are not as pronounced as, say, a fired green tea versus a steamed green tea. Unless they have added flavors, white teas are very subtle and mellow, with flavors such as delicate flowers, field grasses, dried wood and cocoa.

** Some suppliers are saying that white tea has no caffeine. This is incorrect. When brewed at a low water temperature for a short brew time, it is low in (but not free from) caffeine. According to a recent study, it's actually higher in caffeine than many black teas when brewed with boiling water for longer infusion times.

Read on to learn about more tea types, including pu-erh tea, yellow tea and flavored teas.

Yellow Tea
Yellow tea is an extremely rare type of tea with unique processing and a subtle flavor. It is grown and processed on a lake island in China. After harvest, it is slightly fermented (not oxidized, which is unusual) under straw, then rolled into “needles” and dried. The flavor is typically fruity with hints of cocoa, vanilla and flowers.

Pu-erh Tea
Pu-erh tea (also spelled “puer” or “pu’er”) is a rare type of tea that is both oxidized and fermented. It is noted for its deep, earthy, espresso-like flavor. Pu-erh is traditionally consumed after heavy meals and is purported to aid in digestion and cholesterol reduction.

Pu-erh goes through several stages of processing. The first is similar to green tea processing and results in a product called “sheng cha.” Sheng cha can then be processed in one of two ways to make pu-erh, both of which involve fermentation akin to the fermentation in wine production. It can be produced quickly (or “ripened”) with the addition of heat and moisture, or it can be produced in a traditional fashion, in which moderate moisture levels and the passage of time fuel fermentation. Aging pu-erh is more expensive, but (when done well) it yields a more complex, smooth, enjoyable tea.

Poor-quality pu-erhs typically taste muddy or moldy. Good quality pu-erhs usually taste smooth, intensely dark and slightly sweet, and may have notes of dark chocolate, espresso, plum, moss, wood, rich soil, mushrooms or nuts. Some compare it to an old growth forest. Pu-erhs that need more aging may taste sharp or bitter.

Scented / Aromatized / Flavored Teas
Long associated with afternoon tea and other Western traditions, Earl Grey is the best-known flavored tea in the United States. However, scented and flavored teas have been made in China long before they ever reached the West. Jasmine-scented green tea, osmanthus oolong and rose black tea were crafted as long ago as the Tang Dynasty. Unlike pure teas, in which the aroma and flavor depend on the terroir, varietal and processing, scented and aromatized teas get the majority of their flavor from added scents and flavors.

Flavors may be added synthetically or naturally. Synthetic flavoring involves tiny amounts of “nature-identical,” natural or artificial flavor being blended with tealeaves. Natural flavoring involves placing a non-dried flavor ingredient (such as fresh jasmine flowers) next to dry tealeaves. Tea is hydrophilic (“water-loving”), so it absorbs the moisture and aroma/flavor of the jasmine flowers. After fresh jasmine flowers have been placed alongside the tea many times, the tea takes on the aroma of the flowers.

The range of aromas and flavors available from scented and flavored teas is astounding. French tea flavorists are particularly known for their experimentation with unusual flavors, such as seaweed, but most flavored teas are made with fairly pedestrian flavors, such as sweet spices and fruits. Although flavored teas get much fo their flavor from the added ingredients, it is important to note that the quality of the tea itself can have a substantial impact on the flavor, too.

Blended Teas
Like scented/flavored teas, blended teas are teas with added flavors. However, blended teas contain actual pieces of added ingredients. These may be fruit, flowers, spices or other ingredients. Blended teas are often also flavored. Sometimes, when teas are flavored and blended, the blending is intended more for visual appeal than actual flavor.

Tea Flavor Profiles by Tea Type

Which Flavors to Watch for With Each Tea Type

An image of Oriental Beauty Oolong (a.k.a.
Oolongs like this one may exhibit flavors and aromas such as flowers, honey, dried wood, stewed plums or milk chocolate.
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Each of the thousands of types of teas in the world has a different flavor and aroma, but there are some generalizations that can be made about the tea flavor profiles. When learning to taste tea, these general tea tasting notes can be helpful reference points for understanding flavors. However, don't let this list limit you! These are just a few of the flavors and aromas that can be found in tea:

Black Tea Flavors
Black teas tend to have bolder, fuller flavors than greens andoolongs.
  • Tannin
  • Malt
  • Chocolate/cocoa
  • Earth/loam/sand
  • Tobacco
  • Metals/minerals
  • Sweet potatoes/yams
  • Stonefruits
  • Orange zest/lemon zest
  • Berries/jam
  • Grapes
  • Raisins/dates
  • Licorice/anise
  • Hops
  • Cinnamon/cloves/nutmeg
  • Vanilla
  • Peppercorn
  • Molasses/caramel
  • Cedar/ash/pine/fir
  • Tar
  • Leather
  • Cut plant stems
Roasted / Fired Green Tea Flavors
These are Chinese-style green teas. Most green teas are made this way outside of Japan. They tend to be fairly mellow.
  • Nuts (especially chestnuts)
  • Flowers (especially white flowers)
  • Melons (honeydew, sprite melon, etc.)
  • Green beans/lima beans
  • Green bell peppers
  • Leeks
  • Bamboo and other wood
  • Vanilla
  • Cocoa
  • Cut plant stems/field grasses
Steamed Green Tea Flavors
These are generally Japanese-style green teas. They can be bold and even astringent.
  • Spinach/watercress/sorrel
  • Cut grass/wheatgrass
  • Seaweed/ocean breeze/iodine
  • Lemon zest
  • Asparagus
  • Leeks
  • Bok choy/kale
  • Corn husks/maize
  • Mushrooms
  • Roasted chicken skin
  • Fish broth
  • Field peas
  • Fruit tree flowers
  • Pine
  • Nuts (especially pine nuts and hazelnuts)
Oolong Tea Flavors
Oolong teas tend to be complex, nuanced and capable of a wide range of flavors.
  • Honey
  • Orchids, gardenias and other flowers
  • Lychee and other exotic fruits
  • Peach, apricot, plums and other stonefruits
  • Stewed fruits
  • Citrus (especially nectarines, clementines, pomelos and the like)
  • Green melons
  • Roasted barley and other grains
  • Just-baked bread
  • Milk chocolate
  • Meringue and caramel
  • Cannabis
  • Minerals and rocks
  • Wood
  • Peat moss
  • Fresh, green plant matter
  • Clover and cut wildflower stems
  • Butter or cream
  • Vanilla and baked sweets
  • Coconut
White Tea Flavors
White teas are typically mild, subtle and delicate.
  • Flowers (especially rose, violet and honeysuckle)
  • Honey
  • Field grasses
  • Dried wood
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Potato/taro root/lotus root
  • Sorrel
  • Cocoa
  • Vanilla
  • Nuts (especially walnuts or chestnuts)
  • Apricot or peach
  • Honeydew
Pu-erh Tea Flavors
Pu-erh teas tend to be deep, dark, rich and intense.
  • Mud or mold (sometimes an indicator of poor quality)
  • Dark/bittersweet chocolate
  • Espresso
  • Nuts (especially pecans)
  • Licorice/anise
  • Plum or stewed stonefruits
  • Raisins
  • Moss, loam/peat moss, wood (especially cedar), mushrooms, fallen leaves and other old-growth forest notes
  • Mineral springs/caves
  • Leather
  • Molasses/maple syrup/wildflower honey

  • Types of Teas and Their Health Benefits

    From green tea to hibiscus, from white tea to chamomile, teas are chock full of flavonoids and other healthy goodies.

    Reviewed by
     Louise Chang, MDBy 
    WebMD Feature

    Regarded for thousands of years in the East as a key to good health, happiness, and wisdom, tea has caught the attention of researchers in the West, who are discovering the many health benefits of different types of teas.
    Studies have found that some teas may help with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; encourage weight loss; lower cholesterol; and bring about mental alertness. Tea also appears to have antimicrobial qualities.
    “There doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, LD. “I think it’s a great alternative to coffee drinking. First, tea has less caffeine. It’s pretty well established that the compounds in tea – their flavonoids – are good for the heart and may reduce cancer.”
    Although a lot of questions remain about how long tea needs to be steeped for the most benefit, and how much you need to drink, nutritionists agree any tea is good tea. Still, they prefer brewed teas over bottled to avoid the extra calories and sweeteners.
    Here's a primer to get you started.

    Health Benefits of Tea: Green, Black, and White Tea

    Tea is a name given to a lot of brews, but purists consider only green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea the real thing. They are all derived from theCamellia sinensis plant, a shrub native to China and India, and contain unique antioxidants called flavonoids. The most potent of these, known as ECGC, may help against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.
    All these teas also have caffeine and theanine, which affect the brain and seem to heighten mental alertness.
    The more processed the tea leaves, usually the less polyphenol content. Polyphenols include flavonoids. Oolong and black teas are oxidized or fermented, so they have lower concentrations of polyphenols than green tea; but their antioxidizing power is still high.
    Here's what some studies have found about the potential health benefits of tea:
    • Green tea: Made with steamed tea leaves, it has a high concentration of EGCG and has been widely studied. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.
    • Black tea: Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.
    • White tea: Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.
    • Oolong tea: In an animal study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement, but science hasn’t backed the claims.
    • Pu-erh tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol.

      Health Benefits of Tea: Herbal Teas

      Made from herbs, fruits, seeds, or roots steeped in hot water, herbal teas have lower concentrations of antioxidants than green, white, black, and oolong teas. Their chemical compositions vary widely depending on the plant used.
      Varieties include ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, hibiscus, jasmine, rosehip, mint, rooibos (red tea), chamomile, and echinacea.
      Limited research has been done on the health benefits of herbal teas, but claims that they help to shed pounds, stave off colds, and bring on restful sleep are largely unsupported.
      Here are some findings:
      • Chamomile tea: Its antioxidants may help prevent complications from diabetes, like loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage, and stunt the growth of cancer cells.
      • Echinacea: Often touted as a way to fight the common cold, the research on echinacea has been inconclusive.
      • Hibiscus: A small study found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered blood pressure in people with modestly elevated levels.
      • Rooibos (red tea): A South African herb that is fermented. Although it has flavonoids with cancer-fighting properties, medical studies have been limited.

      Health Benefits of Tea: Instant teas

      Instant tea may contain very little amounts of actual tea and plenty of sugars or artificial sweeteners. For health’s sake, check out the ingredients on the label.

      Can Tea Be Bad for Your Health?

      Most teas are benign, but the FDA has issued warnings about so-called dieter’s teas that contain senna, aloe, buckthorn, and other plant-derived laxatives.
      The agency also warns consumers to be wary of herb-containing supplements that claim to kill pain and fight cancer. None of the claims is backed by science and some of the herbs have led to bowel problems, liver and kidney damage, and even death.
      The FDA cautions against taking supplements that include:
      • Comfrey
      • Ephedra
      • Willow bark
      • Germander
      • Lobelia
      • Chaparral
      These cautions aside, nutritionists say to drink up and enjoy the health benefits of tea.
      “You want to incorporate healthy beverages in your diet on a more regular basis to benefit from these health-promoting properties," says Diane L. McKay, PhD, a Tufts University scientist who studies antioxidants. "It’s not just about the foods; it’s about what you drink, as well, that can contribute to your health."

      6 Types of Tea for 6 Different Moods

      6 Types of Tea for 6 Different Moods
      A cup of tea heals emotional wounds, alleviates sickness and makes cold weather more bearable, even enjoyable.
      Tea humanizes complete strangers and dissolves cultural barriers. If I know that your kitchen cupboards are stuffed with different types of tea bags and tea leaves, I will probably like you.
      And let’s remind ourselves of all those health benefits of tea that people keep raving about, for good reason. Tea contains beneficial antioxidants that help fight cancer. Tea also boosts the immune system, increases mental alertness, lowers stress hormone levels and can help you sleep.
      Which tea best suits your emotional and physical needs right now? Here is a handy guide.
      Need a Quick Pick-Me-Up? Drink Black Tea. Black tea is Coffee Lite for those of you wanting to cut back on your coffee but still needing that perky caffeine fix. The strong flavor will reinvigorate your senses and get your mental gears running for the rest of the day.
      Want to Feel Healthy and Refreshed? Try White Tea. White tea has the least amount of caffeine and contains the most antioxidants. As it is the least processed tea compared to other tea types, it has a light flavor that will go down smoothly.
      Need Some Stress-Relief? Try Green TeaGreen tea has a natural, grassy, neutral flavor that is perfect for stress relief. Plus, it is not loaded with as much caffeine as black tea.
      Need Some Creative Inspiration? Try Indian Chai Tea. Indian chai tea is a multifaceted taste palette loaded with different spices and nuances. Whether you drink it straight or with some cream and honey, consider having this drink within arm’s reach for your creative brainstorming sessions.
      Feeling Physically Under the Weather? Try Fruit-Flavored Tea. Orange tea, lemon tea, raspberry tea: the options are endless. Drink up for sore throats, body aches and general under-the-weather-ness. Too bad cough medicine doesn’t taste more like this.
      Need to Quench Your Thirst? Try Cold Oolong or Barley Tea. Found in most Asian supermarkets, getting a cold bottle of these teas is the perfect way to satisfy your thirst on a hot day. With ice, please.

Japanese Green Tea 

Around the world, most green teas are roasted for a smooth, mellow flavor. However, Japanese green teas such as Asamushi Sencha, Yame Gyokuro and Genmaimatcha are steamed, resulting in a vibrant green color and "vegetal" (vegetable-like, "green" or grassy) flavor. Learn what makes each Japanese green tea unique in this illustrated guide to Japanese green teas.
Images 1-5 of 5
An image of Asamushi Sencha Japanese green tea.Asamushi Sencha Japanese Green TeaAn image of Fukamushi Sencha deep-steamed Japanese green tea.Fukamushi Sencha Green TeaAn image of Yame Gyokuro Japanese green tea.Gyokuro Japanese Green TeaAn image of Matcha, a powdered Japanese green tea.Matcha Japanese Green Tea
An image of Genmaicha, a steamed Japanese green tea blended with matcha and toasted rice.Genmaimatcha Japanese Green Tea


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