White tea is the least processed and oxidized of all teas. Traditionally cultivated in China, it’s only picked a few days out of the year, when a white down—known as bai hao—appears on the shoots. To create white tea requires a delicate process. It has the most delicate flavor and aroma of all the teas. It’s gentle and evokes fresh flavors like bamboo or asparagus or earthier elements like almonds.
Green tea has a gorgeous color, thanks to its lack of oxidation. To prevent the oxidation, the leaves are heat processed, and in China, this is typically done by pan-firing or roasting the leaves while the Japanese steam them. Chinese green teas are typically a little bolder with citrus-like flavors. Japanese green teas are more delicate. The color of green tea can be anywhere from pale to dark green.
Oolong teas are semi-oxidized and have long been cultivated in China and Taiwan. Generally, it’s made with larger, mature leaves, which are picked, withered, rolled, oxidized, and then fired. The process is so unique that oolong teas tend to have the widest array of flavors and aromas, which can also be changed by steep times and the amount of steeping.
Black tea is the most well-known variety of tea in the West. It’s known as “red tea” in China. The leaves are fully oxidized and typically use younger leaves. It’s common to see black tea divided into broken leaf and full leaf categories. Broken leaf refers to leaves that have been broken into small pieces during processing, which makes broken leaf teas more brisk and higher in caffeine. Full leaf teas, on the other hand tend, to be more refined and gentle on the palate. Broken leaf black teas are excellent morning teas, which is why we love our English Breakfast blend.
Rooibos is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea indigenous to South Africa. It’s also known as red bush tea and has a naturally sweet flavor. It lacks bitter tannins and is naturally decaf, so it’s great for the whole family. Rooibos tea is made with needle-like leaves that are harvested during the summer. Oxidation enhances the flavor of the tea and turns the leaves from green to red.
Herbal tea is not tea, per se. The ingredients do not come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Herbal teas can be made from a variety of different herbs such as mint, flowers, roots, or botanicals. Herbal teas are plant and floral infusions that offer a range of enticing tastes and aromas. Most of our teas at Your Tea are herbal infusions. Just take a look at our Her Tea, which has a base of Oolong but a variety of herbs added.