LEARN ABOUT TEA TYPES
If you are new to the tea world, shopping can feel a little overwhelming. We've broken down our tea types to help you understand your different options. If you have any questions or still do not know where to start, ask us. We are more than happy to guide you through the process. And remember, there is no shame in asking a question or asking for help.
BLACK TEA: The most widely consumed type of tea in the West, Black tea is the most heavily oxidized of all the tea types, generally with the highest levels of tannins and caffeine, making it brisk and uplifting. (Referred to in China as hong cha or “red tea” due to the reddish color of the brewed tea.)
PU-ERH TEA: Pu-erh (sometimes spelled Pu’er and pronounced “poo-erh”) tea is in a class by itself. Pu-erh tea is made from a larger leaf strain of Camellia Sinensis called Dayeh, which are ancient trees with mature leaves that are said to be between 500 and 1000 years old. Like a fine wine, great care goes into processing and aging Pu-erh. Pu-erh tea is post-fermented, meaning the tea leaf goes through a microbial fermentation process after drying, and then rolled, causing the leaves to darken and change in flavor. Various conditions and environmental factors impact the flavor profile of Pu-erh, resulting in a rich experience for the tea drinker's palate of this bold tea that can be smooth, fruity, peaty, grassy, musky, herbal and earthy.
CHAI: Chai is a Hindi word that means “tea,” and is derived from the Mandarin word for tea, cha. In India, “chai” is used to refer to any variety of tea…so why then, in North America, do we associate the term specifically with the spicy, milky popular beverage? What Americans label as chai, this specialty tea is known as Masala Chai, which means spiced tea in Hindi.
- Chai often contains a strong black tea, such as Darjeeling or Assam. However, green teas and red teas may also be used to make chai
- Spices such as cardamom, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and peppercorns are common in chai. Star anise, fennel, nutmeg, vanilla, and other imperial spices make up specialty blends.
- Milk is added to Chai to give it a creamy texture. You may add the milk of your choice.
- Honey, sugar, or sweetener are added to chai to give it sweetness.
GREEN TEA: Green tea is a longtime treasure of China and Japan that is gaining popularity in America. It’s easy to understand why: the best green tea leaves are heated or steamed right after harvest, preserving their all-natural flavor and resulting in a nourishing beverage containing antioxidants. With about half the caffeine of black tea, you get the health benefits of green tea in every gentle cup.
OOLONG TEA: Like all true teas, Oolong Tea is a varietal of the evergreen Camellia sinensis bush. As is the case with all fine teas, oolong tea’s unique flavor profile is a direct result of how it is cultivated, where it is grown (including elevation and climate), and above all, how it is processed. Oolong tea thrives in cool, lush, highly elevated regions, and is native to China.
WHITE TEA: White tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, an evergreen bush indigenous to both China and India. It is the least processed of all teas coming from the Camellia Sinensis plant. It is harvested before the tea plant’s leaves open fully, when the young buds are still covered by fine white hairs, hence the name “white” tea.
ROOIBOS TEA: Rooibos is an herbal tea, made from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis, more commonly known as the South African red bush. The leaves of the plant are harvested and fermented to produce a reddish colored herbal tea that is known as rooibos (pronounced ROY-boss), or red tea. Unfermented rooibos, or green rooibos, can also be produced from the leaves, and this makes a slightly “greener” tasting tea. The highest quality rooibos is known to grow in the mountainous region of Cederberg in the Western Cape of South Africa.
HERBAL TEA: Instead, herbal tea is an infusion or blend of various leaves, fruits, bark, roots, or flowers belonging to almost any edible, non-tea plant. In Europe and other areas of the world, herbal teas are commonly known as tisanes. Herbal Tea is not technically a true tea, as it does not derive from the Camellia sinensis plant (i.e. the plant that is used to create black, oolong, green, and white teas).