Tea is a billion-dollar industry. The beverage is also the second most popular beverage across the world after water. It is derived from a plant species known as Camellia sinensis, with the primary tea producing countries being China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, India, Japan and Kenya.
While all types of tea are produced from the same plant, the difference in the grouping is determined by the time taken to oxidize the leaves and the method used to process. Below are the world’s most popular teas, all of which can be purchased from the leading online tea and coffee shop, Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Company.
White tea is one of the most delicate varieties due to its minimal processing, mostly blended in China. The leaves of the tea plant are plucked before they fully open up, a time during which the young buds are covered in white hairs.
The buds and leaves ones harvested are dried immediately to ensure that the leaves do not oxidize too long like is the case with black and green tea production. This is why white tea contains a very delicate and soft flavor. While this type of tea may not go bad, it can get stale. In that case, you will be sure to purchase the freshest blend from a reputable tea bag online shop.
Native to India and China, the green tea variety has, for decades, been globally hailed for its health benefits. While about 78 percent of the tea mostly consumed around the world is black, green tea takes a 20 percent share. This is one of the least processed teas, produced from unoxidized leaves.
This means that of all the tea bags you will find on the market today,
green tea contains the highest level of antioxidants. Unlike black tea, this variant goes through many processing steps with little oxidation taking place. However, it has different variations, depending on the growing conditions, the variety of C. Sinensis used, the production method and the period harvested. This is why you will find different flavors from smoky, buttery, savory to grassy.
Oolong is not a green or a black tea. However, it can appear to have deep green or black tea characteristics, depending on the processing method used. Unlike black tea, which is allowed to fully oxidize and green tea, which is barely oxidized, Oolong tea, both loose leaf tea, and the tea bags variants fall in between in what is considered partial oxidation.
In this type of tea, the level of oxidation can be anywhere between 10 and 80 percent. This is why some of these teas may have a green tea flavor and others a black tea flavor. Some tea bags online or loose leaf tea will have the shape of the tea rolled, some twisted and others curled into thin strands or balls. Note that the more oxidized varieties tend to have a longer shelf-life than the less oxidized ones. With Oolong tea, expect notes of either misty honey, milky creaminess, sweet or roasted flavors.
This is the most popular tea globally. In western culture, particularly when people talk about grabbing a cup of tea, they are referring to the black tea. Some of the most popular variants include sweet tea, afternoon tea, sun tea and iced tea. The popular English breakfast is, in fact, made from the black tea leaves. These leaves originated from China and thrive in moist and warm climates.
What makes this type of tea different from others is the oxidation process. Black tea leaves oxidize fully before the heating and drying process. As the oxidation process takes place, oxygen begins to interact with the cell walls turning the leaves into dark brown or black color. The long oxidation process is what introduces the fruity, malty and smoky flavors. It is worth noting that black tea is produced in two different methods, including:
- Orthodox: This is a long process, whereby the leaves are left whole or broken partially during processing. Here, the leaves once plucked are withered to minimize moisture before oxidation takes place.
- Non-Orthodox: In this method, during processing, the leaves are cut into tiny pieces. Due to the small sizes of the pieces, oxidation tends to be quicker, resulting in a consistent black tea. These teas fit perfectly into tea bags, meaning you will find them in any tea bags online shop.
Black tea is grown in different geographies and climate mostly found in Africa, India and Sri Lanka. The largest proportion comes from India. Of all types of teas,
black tea has the highest caffeine content.
Pu’erh is referred to as the vintage
tea that is exclusively produced in China. It comes in the variations of non-fermented raw tea and ripe fermented tea. The non-fermented Pu’erh has a vegetal tone with some hints of sour and sweet after-taste. Note that the fermented variation contains a mild, earthly flavor. Whichever method is used, the leaves can either be compressed or left as loose leaves in the form of cake tea, brick tea, mushroom-shaped tea or bell-shaped tea.
In the first stage of production, they are processed like the green tea leaves, while in the second stage, they go through fermentation and extended storage from months to years. This tea, unlike most others, can be stored for a long time, and the longer it stays on the shelf, the better it gets. As time goes, the leaves become smooth and alter the taste. However, when caught by mold and bacteria, Pu’erh can become musty and taste stale. This tea is used as a medicine and is has many health benefits, including weight loss and cancer prevention.
Purchasing your Perfect Blend
When deciding what tea to buy from an online tea and coffee shop, you need to have a clear understanding of the available varieties. Each category comes with a distinct flavor profile. The other factor to consider is the packaging. Have an understanding of how the tea is brewed and the taste it contains. Then, decide whether you want to choose a tea bag online shop option, loose leaves or sachets. If you are looking for a quick and convenient option, go for a teabag form.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a variation that allows you to adjust the flavor strength to your liking, a loose-leaf option will do. The other element you may want to factor in is the health benefit of each tea. For people looking to wean off coffee, choose low caffeine teas such as white tea. These teas are linked to long-term benefits, such as lowering cholesterol and minimizing the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Most importantly, when making your purchase, only choose a reputable online distributor such as
Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Company.