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TeaSource

Types of Tea

All tea come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. The differences between teas arise from processing, growing conditions, and geography. The Camellia Sinensis plant is native to Asia, but is currently cultivated around the world in tropical and subtropical areas.

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Photo of black tea

Black Tea

The process for making black tea is defined by allowing the leaf to fully oxidize during production (which means water evaporates out of the leaf and the leaf absorbs more oxygen from the air). The results are the characteristic dark brown and black leaf with typically more robust and pronounced flavors.

 

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Photo of green tea

Green Tea

All tea starts out green. The green tea process is defined by preventing oxidation. Shortly after picking, the leaves are “fired” (rapid heating) to arrest oxidation and keep the leaf “green” for the duration of production. Green teas are typically steeped for shorter amounts of time and at lower temperatures which will produce a lighter cup with less caffeine.

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Photo of oolong tea

Oolong Tea

Oolong teas are roughly defined as any tea that undergoes partial oxidation (10-90%), but this fact is not useful by itself. “Baking” (take the term literally) is also a common technique in making oolong tea so it is impossible to summarize categorically. The regional styles and cultivars used tend to define them more than anything else. For example, we refer to both Ti Kwan Yin and Big Red Robe as oolong tea, but they have nothing in common.

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Photo of white tea - Ceylon tea

White Tea

The easiest way to define white tea is by its minimal processing – no pan firing, no rolling. The leaves are picked, then slowly and methodically dried. Since the leaves are not shaped by rolling the finished product tends to be quite bulky, but because they are not pan-fired there will be some incidental oxidation.

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Photo of puer tea - pu-erh tea

Puer Tea

All puer tea comes from the southwest region of Yunnan, China. There are two types of Puer: sheng puer and shu puer. Sheng puer is a simple non-oxidized tea whose finished product will change naturally over time. Shu puer starts out as a sheng puer, but goes through one more deliberate and accelerated "post fermentation" process to speed up this change into a matter of weeks as opposed to years.

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Photo of dark tea

Dark Tea

Dark tea is from Hunan and Sichuan provinces of China and is an aged tea that steeps up smooth with a natural sweet note. Dark teas are often compressed into shapes (most commonly cakes or bricks).

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