Tea is the oldest and most widely consumed beverage in the world, other than water. Some of the best loose leaf teas are comparable to fine wine.
All tea is manufactured from a plant called Camellia Sinensis. Whether the tea becomes white, green, oolong or black, depends on how the leaves are processed and oxidised.
The more tea leaves are processed, the stronger the flavour. The level of oxidation /fermentation, or exposure to the elements, is what determines whether a tea is white, green, oolong or black.
Types of Tea
White Tea is the most delicate of all teas. They are appreciated for their subtlety, complexity, and natural sweetness. They are hand-processed using the youngest shoots of the tea plant, with no oxidation. When brewed correctly, with a very low temperature and a short steeping time, white teas can produce low amounts of caffeine. Of course, steeping with hotter temperature and longer time will extract more caffeine. This tea has the maximum number of antioxidants known to mankind, the Leafs are further dried by the steaming process.
These teas are made by the steaming process and are not fermented at all as a result of which this type of tea contains a lot of anti-oxidants which are good for health. Green teas tend to have less caffeine (10-30% of coffee). Greens also tend to produce more subtle flavours with many undertones and accents that connoisseurs treasure.
Oolong Tea is the oldest tea manufacturing process of the world, this particular type of teas stands between the Green and the Black tea process, meaning this tea is semi-fermented, in simple words this tea tastes similarly like black teas and has health benefits of green teas. The flavour of oolong teas is typically not as robust as blacks or as subtle as greens but has its own extremely fragrant and intriguing tones. Oolongs are often compared to the taste and aroma of fresh flowers or fresh fruit.
The teas which are fermented over 45-60 minutes after processing are known as Black Teas. These types of teas are more pronounced in taste due to the fermentation process, the processed Leafs are laid on fermentation beds which react with the air and oxidises naturally. The results are the characteristic dark brown and black leaf, the typically more robust and pronounced flavours of black teas, and when brewed appropriately, a higher caffeine content compared to other teas (50-65% of coffee, depending on the type and brewing technique).