Friday, 2 November 2012

The Core Four

     There are many different types of tea, all coming from around the world sporting different names and tastes. There is a bit of a debate going on about what is really considered 'Tea'. Most say that there are four main types of real tea and that is it; Green Tea, White Tea, Black Tea and Ooolong tea. Black tea is more traditional, it being very popular in Europe and North America, the most caffeinated of the four. It usually has a stronger flavour to it and is commonly taken with milk and sugar. Green Tea also has now become very common in the West, it being known for its wonderful health benefits. Green tea has a very natural taste that can sometimes come off as being slightly bitter, I take my Green tea with honey and lemon. White tea is slightly less common than the previous two but also has its health benefits. White tea is a light tasting tea known for its soothing and relaxing taste. Oolong tea is the last of the major four and it covers a lot of bases. Unlike the others it doesn't have a set taste. It can be light and fruity or harsh and woody, it all depends on how it is prepared or what brand you buy.
     All of these types of tea actually depend on the levels of oxidation. Black, Green, White and Oolong are all harvested from the flowering plant, Camellia Sinensis, and the type of tea is determined by the different levels of oxidation. Black tea is oxidised the most, then Oolong, then Green, then White with the least.
     In my opinion I think there are more than just the four categories of tea. Other companies (like Teavana) sell branches of different tea like maté, roobios and herbal tea. But according to "the professionals" it will not  be considered true tea unless it comes from the Camellia Sinensis and is prepared in the standard way. To me tea is tea, and it's good. But if you want to be technical, beverages like roobios or maté are considered 'tea-infusions'. Another 'borderline tea' is pu-erh which does come from the Camellia Sinensis  but is prepared using a different method called post fermentation process. What do you think, are there only four categories of tea or can there be more? Let me know in the comments.


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