White Teas are the most delicate of all teas.
The name comes from the fuzzy white "down" that appears on the unopened or recently opened buds. Essentially unprocessed, white teas are appreciated for their subtlety, complexity, and natural sweetness. They are hand processed using the youngest shoots of the tea plant and allowed to wither dry. The classic White Peony tea can show leaves of different colors (brown, green, and white). This is because some minimal oxidation does happen naturally during the 1-2 days it takes the leaves to dry. White teas produce light green or yellow liquor. When brewed correctly, with a very low temperature and a short sleeping time, white teas can produce low amounts of caffeine.
Green Teas are withered and maybe fried.
Green teas are allowed to wither slightly after being plucked then rolled. The oxidation process is stopped very quickly by adding heat. For green tea, the fresh leaves are either steamed or pan-fired (tossed in a hot, dry wok) to a temperature hot enough to stop the enzymes from browning the leaf. While being heated the leaves are shaped by curling with the fingers, pressing into the sides of the wok, rolling and swirling. When brewed at lower temperatures and for less time, green teas tend to have less caffeine (10-30% of coffee). The liquor of green tea is typically a green or yellow color. Green teas also tend to produce more subtle flavors with many undertones and accents that connoisseur treasure.
Matcha is intense.
Matcha tea is made when green tea leaves are ground into a powder. Matcha is made from green tea plants that are grown in the shade for three weeks just before harvesting. Because of the shade, the green tea plants produce more caffeine and theanine, which is believed to promote the calming energy. Matcha is available in several grades, from the expensive and high-quality ceremonial grade to culinary grade, which may be slightly bitter and is typically used in cooking rather than as a beverage. For a metabolism-boosting beverage, the powdered matcha is prepared by adding a teaspoon to half of a cup of hot water or milk. In addition to its use as a beverage and a base or additive for lattes, iced drinks, and smoothies, matcha is added to desserts for flavor and color.
Oolong (wulong) is partially oxidized.
Oolong tea (also known as wulong tea) is allowed to undergo partial oxidation. Oolongs are one of the most time-consuming teas to create, with rolling and oxidizing done repeatedly. This process of rolling the oxidizing over the course of many hours creates a beautiful layering of aroma and flavor. These teas have caffeine content between that of green and black teas. The flavor of oolong tea has it's own extremely fragrant and intriguing tones. Oolongs are often compared to the taste and aroma of fresh flowers or fresh fruit. Their smooth yet rich flavor profiles make them best for new tea drinkers.
Black tea is fully oxidized and often broken.
Black teas are allowed to wither and are fully oxidized. This results in the characteristic dark brown and black leaf with typically more robust and pronounced flavor. Black tea least resembles the natural leaf. The processing and varieties of black tea differ considerably among the various growing regions. Black teas produce a strong, hearty, and bright, amber-colored liquor. When brewed appropriately, they have a higher caffeine content compared to other teas (50%-65% of coffee, depending on the type and brewing technique).
Yellow tea is super rare.
Yellow tea is the rarest of the six classes of tea. It takes its name from its straw-colored liquor. The production process is similar to green tea, however yellow tea production has an additional step called men huan, or "sealing yellow". After very early spring buds or tips are pan-fired. they are wrapped in special cloth. This step is repeated several times over a period of anywhere from 1-3 days. this process gently oxidizes the leaves before the slow charcoal drying. This smothering process creates a more aromatic and mature tea, free of the "grassy" taste and astringency found in many green teas.
Pu Erh tea is aged.
Pu-erh is an aged black tea from China prized for its medicinal properties and earthy flavor. It is perhaps the most mysterious of all tea and was historically used as currency. It first undergoes a process similar to Green tea, but before the leaf is dried, it's aged either as loose leaf tea or pressed into dense cakes or shapes. Depending on the type of Puerh being made, either dark/ripe or green/raw, the aging process can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Very old, well-stored Puerhs are considered "living teas" just like wine. It is very strong with an incredibly deep and rich flavor, and no bitterness.
Tisanes aren't even tea.
Many of the beverages which are called "tea" are actually not tea. Herbal teas, which tea experts term Tisanes (a french word for "herbal infusion"), are usually dried flowers, fruits or herbs steeped in boiling water (no actual tea leaves are included). Some of the most popular herbs and flowers used in creating tisanes are peppermint, chamomile, hibiscus, citrus peels, lemon balm lemon verbena, nettle leaf, calendula, roses, marigold, and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. Many of these delicious herbs and flowers contain their own set of health and wellness properties. Lemon balm, for instance, is known for its calming effects while peppermint and ginger are known to aid in digestion.
Neither is rooibos.
Rooibus (Roy-bus), informally known as "red tea" (although not actually tea), is a naturally caffeine-free herbal plant that grows only in Southern Africa. Rooibus tea has a distinct almost sweet taste and a beautiful reddish-brown liquor.
Honeybush is a sibling of rooibos cultivated in South Africa's Eastern Cape region. Its flowers smell of honey earning this plant it's sweet name. Honey bush's flavor is very similar to rooibos with a sweet and pungent taste. It is also naturally caffeine-free.
Yerba Mate' gives you energy.
Yerba Mate' is a South American botanical from the holly family that is consumed throughout much of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and the far east. Yerba Mate' or simply "Mate'", has been long hailed as a cultural phenomenon and as a healthy energizing, social beverage, Mate' is one of the few plants on earth (along with cocoa, coffee, and tea) that contain caffeine. Traditionally Mate' is whisked with a bamboo whisk and sipped from a gourd. Mate's taste is similar to green teas but with a more grassy and warm character.
The word Chai means tea.
Chai means tea! Chai is a spice used for flavoring different varieties of tea. Traditionally chai spice is made with a wide range of spices. Each variety is made unique by it's blend. Chai is made mostly with black tea but there are many varieties!