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Six Classes of Tea

These teas all originate from the tea plant Camillia sinensis

Green ~ Green tea is known for its vegetal and refreshing flavor. There are many sizes and shapes to these teas as well. The processing includes withering (to allow leaf to be shaped), drying by one of several ways, hand rolling and then again drying, locking in the flavors that will be released only when steeped in hot, not boiling water. 175 F (80C) ¸2-3 minutes

Yellow ~ Little is known about Yellow Tea in the West, since many of the tea makers have not passed down their craft of creating this unique style tea. Similar to Green tea (as its often mistaken for), Yellow tea is plucked, pan fired, smothered, then finish fired. The smothering encourages the tea to “reabsorb its aromatics” and is the processing step which distinguishes it from Green tea. 175 F (80 C) ¸2-3 minutes

White ~ White tea is named so due to the downy-white hairs on the leaves. There is minimal processing of these leaves which renders a voluminous tea, especially when compared to other tea types. White tea leaves are simply withered and slowly bake-dried. Since there is no additional firing, twisting or rolling, the end result is fluffy, light leaves of various colors. The flavor of white tea is delicate, as is the liquor, but don’t be fooled – these teas have distinct characteristics that are easy to get hooked on.180 F (85 C) ¸1-2 minutes

Oolong ~ It’s stated that Oolong tea is “somewhere between a green and black tea”, but this is such a simplified explanation. Oolong is a celebrated style of tea with great diversity and if you take some time to experiment, you will be rewarded with an understanding of these flavorful and memorable teas. 195 F (95C) ¸3-4 minutes

Black ~ Complete oxidation is what helps distinguish black teas from all the others. The liquor is rich deep red to orange-brown in color, and the fullness of the flavor profile includes components such as astringency, malty, crisp, sweet, nutty, bold and spicy. 200-212 F (100 C) ¸3-5 minutes

Pu-er ~ Born of practicality, and steeped in history (pardon the pun), Pu Erh is a bit of an enigma. The key is in the fermentation of this fascinating Chinese tea. Pu erh was created to withstand the journey of the travelers – a handy “cake” of compressed tea could be carried more easily than bags of loose leaves. Now, not all Pu Erh comes in cakes, however, and there is a rising demand for these unique teas 200-212 F (100 C) ¸1-10 minutes (to taste)

Herbals & Tisanes ~ Not actual “tea” as defined by those most familiar with Camellia sinensis, however, herbals and tisanes have had a place in our daily lives for centuries – primarily as medicinal. These teas are derived from plants, flowers, fruits, roots and seeds, and can stand on their own, but are now often blended with black and green teas to create interesting compositions and flavors.212 F (100 C) ¸5-10 minutes