Know Your Teas

Most teas come from the same plant, the camellia sinensis. The difference however, between tea varieties, is the way that the plant is oxidized or fermented. This is more easily explained by using the example of an apple. When sliced, an apple is white. But after a few minutes, the apple is brown. This is caused by the reaction the apple has with the air.

 

Green

Green tea is not oxidized. This is how the tealeaves keep their green colour. Chinese green tea is usually pan-fired and the Japanese usually apply hot steam. These techniques give very different tastes.

Brewing Instructions:

3g tea, 295 ml water (10oz)

75-80°C, 120-140 seconds

Black

Black tea is 100% oxidized. This is because the leaf is allowed to oxidize, being in contact with air. This is similar to allowing a sliced apple to turn brown.   

Brewing Instructions:

4g tea, 295 ml water (10oz)

95°C, 100-120 seconds

Oolong

Oolong is partially oxidized tea. This makes this category a little more complicated. Lightly oxidized oolongs will share many characteristics with green teas, and highly oxidized oolongs will be similar to black teas.

Brewing Instructions:

4g tea, 295 ml water (10oz)

95°C, 160 seconds


White

White tea is very lightly oxidized tea, using 100% buds or leaves & buds.  Unlike the teas above, white tea is air-dried, meaning there is no firing or steaming. 

Brewing Instructions:

3g tea, 295 ml water (10oz)

70°C, 100 seconds

 

Pu-erh (dark)

Fermented or dark tea can have varying levels of oxidation. However, what makes it different is the fermentation process. Going back to the apple example, if yeast or bacteria come into contact with the apple, it transforms into a different thing. This is because it changes the chemical nature of the apple. The fermentation process changes the chemical nature of tea.

Brewing Instructions:

4g tea, 295 ml water (10oz)

95°C, 140 seconds

 

Herbal/Tisane

Herbal teas and tisanes are any plant other than camellia sinensis that are used to make an infusion. This could include rooibos, chamomile, or peppermint as just a few examples. Herbal teas and tisanes naturally caffiene-free.

Brewing Instructions:

3g tea, 65 ml water (2.2oz)

80°C, 150 seconds