All tea comes from one plant with two varieties
- Camellia Sinensis
- Camellia Assamica
That's right, from the richest black tea in your cupboard, to the most delicate white tea... they all derive from the same plant!
So how is that possible? The location, which leaves are plucked from the bush (or tree), and how they are processed after harvest, determines the type of tea - from white, green, oolong to puerh and black.
There can be a few or several steps to processing the tea leaf:
- Shade drying - a very minimalistic approach to setting the tea leaves;
- Withering - this reduces the moisture and wilts the tea leaves;
- Firing - This halts oxidation & dries the tea;
- Rolling - this ruptures tea cells and releases enzymes;
- Oxidizing - this causes enzymes to react with the air *like how your banana gets brown sitting out for some time!
There are five different varieties of tea:
- White Tea – Rare and delicate, hardly touched or processed in any way
- Green Tea – little to no oxidation
- Oolong Tea – Partially oxidized and therefore can range between green to black
- Black Tea – Fully oxidized
- Pu-erh – Fermented tea *2 subcatergories of Sheng and Shou*