In general teas (Camellia sinensis) are classified according to the process of production into the following main types: green, black (called “red” in China), white, oolong, yellow, scented tea and art tea.
Green tea are not oxidized or fermented. They have much less caffeine than black teas. They are partially dried and then roasted or baked, with the exception of Sencha, which is steamed and dried.
Black teas are fully fermented and have higher caffeine contents than green, white, and Oolong teas. In processing the tea leaves are exposed to air for a precise length of time in order to allow natural chemical reactions to occur. These reactions change the leaves’ color from green to copper.
White teas is produced exclusively in China. It is produced in its own special and particular way, different from the methods for producing any other teas. It is less processed than other teas but is lightly self-fermented. As a result its leaves have their own special health elements. Just because a tea has words like “snow” or “white” or “silver” in its name or has a white or silvery color does not mean it is white tea. For example, Snow Buds Tea and Silver Hook Tea are green teas, not white teas, as is Green Spiral Tea, which has a white down.
Oolong teas combines the production methods of green and black tea. It is semi-fermented. Oolong tea has a rich taste but is much lower in caffeine than black tea. Oolong tea from Taiwan is often especially light and tastes similar to green tea.
Scented teas were produced as early as 1,000 years ago in China. Scented Jasmine tea is produced slowly and requires much labor. Tea farmers layer fresh Jasmine flowers and high quality tea. After a night, the tea has fully absorbed the fragrance and the flowers are removed. Then new flowers are layered on to let the tea absorb more fragrance. Fresh flowers should be layered on 5 or 6 times to produce special high quality Jasmine tea, tea with a long lasting, deep fragrance. The best Jasmine tea has few or almost no flowers.
Art teas are produced only in China. They are always hand produced from high quality green or black teas (usually green). They are beautiful to look at. Generally they are made of tea buds, cotton string and sometimes fresh flowers. Tea farmers use the cotton string to tie the young tea buds together, then dry them, sometimes scent them to give a fragrance. Art teas are usually brewed in a glass cup so they can be admired while you sip the tea.
Yellow teas is an uncommon type of tea. It is lightly fermented (10 to 20%) by non-enzymatic oxidation, and has yellow leaves and infusion (Westerners may consider the color closer to light brown). This tea often has a light smoky or roasted flavor.
Why are some teas more expensive than others?
The price for tea is usually based on the amount of the work necessary for picking and processing plus the quantity of the tea available. Usually these two go together. For example, tea made from spring buds, or made from spring buds with first and second top leaves, is usually more expensive. It has to be picked very selectively by hand and produced very skillfully by hand, and a tea farm cannot produce this kind of high quality tea in mass quantities simply because a tea plant does not have a lot of buds and top young leaves. It requires many thousands of buds to produce 1 pound of tea, such as Silver Needle, the highest grade of Dragon Well, Green Spiral, etc. Matcha is expensive because producing one pound of fine Matcha needs a larger quantity of buds and top young leaves than normal tea. To produce highly scented Jasmine tea requires both high quality tea and extensive labour.
High quality tea tastes fresh and smooth with a sweet or nutty flavour, never bitter. It is also beautiful in shape and appearance so you can admire it while you sip the tea. If the tea is picked and produced by hand from spring buds and top young leaves, and is certified organic as well, it will be even more expensive since not using fertilizer and insecticide further reduces the quantity which can be harvested and requires more labour.
Matcha is a fine Chinese classical green tea powder used in China since at least the Song Dynasty (960-1234). It is now used in tea ceremonies in Japan. The advantage of drinking or eating Matcha is that it gives 100% of the health benefits of green tea because you eat the whole leaves instead of drinking an infusion of tea. A half teaspoon of Matcha in hot water gives you an immediate supply tea’s nutritious ingredients. The most important health benefits are polyphenols and vitamins.
You can use Matcha to make a drink, add it to what you are cooking or add it to shakes, soups, porridge, punches, ice creams, jellies and jams, or mix it with flour to make bread, cookies etc. You also can fill capsules with it.
Green tea has become popular due to its health benefits. Much scientific evidence has shown that green tea may well have a protective effect against several cancers (including skin cancer). Tea contains large quantities of polyphenols, many of which act as antioxidants. They kill human cancer cells. One of these polyphenols is found in no other plant and is a stronger antioxidant than vitamins E and C. It is radioprotective as well, especially against carcinogens induced by UV (sunlight). Scientific research also indicates that green tea may well have a protective effect against high blood pressure and heart disease.
Why Full Leaf Bulk Tea
Full leaf tea leaves contain all the benefits and flavor of the tea plant. On the tea farm high quality tea is always produced in full leaf form. Buying loose bulk tea you not only get pure, higher quality tea, you also help:
• save the resources of the earth because trees do not have to be cut to produce mass packaging materials, and
• save your own resources since you pay only for the tea, not the paper, packaging and labor associated with packaging.
How to store tea
1. Make sure the container is tightly covered.
2. Keep the tea in a dry, cool and dark place.