1. White Tea
The rarest of all tea types and a specialty of Fujian province on China's east coast. The name comes from the almost colorless liquor, and from the silvery hairs found on the buds of the plant. Delicate in flavor as well as color, the tea has a subtle, slightly sweet flavor and a mellow creamy or nutty quality.The tea consists of the whitish buds of the tea plant. The buds (and leaves) are naturally dried using either sun drying or steaming methods. This is the final step in the production process, as white tea is unfermented.
2. Green Tea
Green tea makes up approximately ten percent of the world’s tea. The production process, like that of white tea, starts with withering, followed by pan-frying or steaming to prevent fermentation. Before drying, green tea leaves are rolled to give them the desired shape. In China, this consists of eyebrow-shaped or twisted pieces, tight balls, flat needles, or curled whole leaves. Green tea is greenish-yellow in color, with a grassy, astringent quality reminiscent of the fresh leaves. Scientific studies have shown that both green and black teas prevent cavities and gum disease, and increase the body’s antioxidant activity.
3. Oolong Tea
"The champagne of teas," oolongs are considered to be among the finest – and therefore most expensive - teas in the world. Most oolongs hail from Taiwan; but also referred to as pouchongs. Oolong tea is "semi-fermented," meaning that it goes through a short period of oxidation (fermentation) that turns the leaves from green to red-brown. The liquor is pale yellow, with a floral, fruity quality and a hint of smoke. Due to the delicacy of the flavor, connoisseurs prefer drinking it without milk, sugar or lemon.
4. Black Tea
Though known to most of the world as "black tea". Black tea is the most common type of tea worldwide. It has a broad range of flavors, but is typically heartier and more assertive than green or oolong teas. It is made by fuliples the caffeine.
5. Pu Erh Tea
Pu-erh (or Puer) tea is in a category all its own. Though it could simply be classified as a type of Chinese black tea, it is differentiated from other black teas by the fact that it is fermented not once, but twice. The double oxidation process is followed by a period of maturation, which is often used to develop a thin layer of mold on the leaves. Pu-erh tea is often consumed for medicinal purposes rather than for pleasure – aside from being known for its strong earthy quality, it is recognized as a powerful digestive aid.
6. Flavored Tea
Tea easily absorbs other aromas and tastes. Thus tea drinkers the world over have long enhanced their tea with additional flavors, from flowers and oils to herbs and spices. Flavoring tea is a well-established tradition in China, where, for centuries, people have brewed tea with onions, orange peel, peach leaves, and berries. The Chinese are also known for their flower teas - popular varieties include jasmine, orchid, rose, and magnolia. In India, the spicy "masala tea" is a popular beverage. It is made by boiling black tea with spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black or white pepper; milk and sugar are usually added as well. Beyond herbs and spices, the flavor craze has more recently spurred manufacturers to produce tea with just about every flavor imaginable, from banana to toffee pudding.
Blends are the mutts of the tea world, possessing mixed heritages. Blends are made by combining different types of teas, often in order to achieve flavor consistency from one season to the next. Common blends include English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Irish Breakfast, and Caravan.
8. Herbal Infusions and Tisanes
The word "tea" is a beverage made with the leaves of a plant. But true "tea" is made from the Camellia sinensis – and everything else isn’t "tea" at all. Connoisseurs and tea professionals will tell you that all leaf-derived drinks other than true "tea" should be referred to as tisanes or herbal infusions. Tisane (tee-ZAHN) is what many people think of as "herbal tea," a drink made by steeping herbs, spices, flowers, etc. in boiling water. The term "herbal infusion" is pretty much the same thing: a drink made by steeping an herb in hot water. These herbal drinks are commonly associated with physical and mental health, and are consumed for their soothing or rejuvenating qualities. Common herbal beverages are chamomile, peppermint, fennel, rose hip, and lemon verbena.
9. Tea Tonics
Tea Tonics are a selection of infusions, specifically blended to improve well-being according to Ayurvedic practices. The infusions are said to improve health and well-being by addressing various minor ailments such as indigestion, insomnia, stress, weakened immune system, anxiety and are blended in accordance with Ayurvedic recipes from Kerala.
10. Rooibos and Honeybush
Rooibos, or Redbush, is grown in South Africa. Naturally caffeine free, it contains high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as well as anti-ageing properties.
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