Given the amazing variety of teas available today, it’s
frequently surprising to learn that all true tea
comes from the same type of plant, an Asian evergreen
known as Camellia sinensis.
Factors such as country or origin, elevation, rainfall, and average
temperature play a significant role, but the most important influence on flavor
is how the leaves are processed after plucking. Processing method is the main
difference between white, green, oolong, and black tea. This means that the cup
of Premium Japanese Green Tea you drank several evenings ago and the cup of
Choice Organic Teas English Breakfast that you ought to try during
tomorrow’s morning hours came from the same type of plant.
Here’s a quick guide to the processing of plucked tea leaves
into the product that we here at Choice Organic Teas purchase and distribute
around the world. All of these steps take place at the garden where the tea is
Visualize a table, set left to right with white, green, oolong, and
black teas, each loose leaf in a white porcelain cup.
White teas are the least processed of all. Quite simply, the leaves
are gently withered and dried.
Green teas undergo slightly more processing. After plucking, the
leaves are steamed or heated briefly and then dried.
Oolong teas require an additional step of partial oxidation. During
this time, the leaves are gently bruised and exposed to the air for a carefully
controlled period of time. This partial oxidation creates a tea with flavor
between a green tea and a black tea.
Finally, in the production of black tea, leaves are slightly
withered, rolled, fully oxidized to develop a deeper flavor, and then dried.