Types of Tea

All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. What makes each tea different is the way it has been processed.  Tea can be placed into 6 groups based on the amount of processing that goes into the final product.

Black Tea This tea goes through the most processing.  Once the leaves are picked they are left out in the sun to become slightly wilted.  The leaves are then rolled to break open their tissue.  The inner chemicals react with the air and begin to ferment.  During the fermentation, the leaves darken and change from green to red and finally to black.  After the fermenting is complete, the leaves are dried and then packaged. 


These teas are grown in the Assam Valley of India. To the far north east of India is the state of Assam, known for the one-horned rhino and the Brahmaputra River.  Along both sides of this mighty river lie the rolling plains of the world's largest tea growing area along with the highest yield per acre.  Assam is the birthplace of India tea as discovered by Robert Bruce in 1823.

Assam teas have a first flush, second, and Autumnal flush. The first flush has a rich and fresh aroma; the second flush produces the famous "tippy" teas. It is this feature of the teas of the second flush that make them more popular. (Tippy refers to black tea with gold tips or what appears to be golden-colored leaf). The amount of tip will vary dependent upon where in Assam the estate from which the tea comes is located. Additionally, not all tea estates have the ability or capacity to produce these "tippy" teas.  An example of an Assam "tippy" tea is Hunwal. The golden tips on Assam tea leaves lessen the astringent characteristic of the tea and make it sweet and smooth. Therefore, Assam tea can be malty, as well as sweet and smooth. These are qualities that all tea drinkers enjoy!

Try one of these Assam Teas:

Assam Decaf
Assam Organic

Darjeeling Teas grown in the Darjeeling Province of India at 6,562 feet above sea level and is nestled in the foothills of Himalayan Mountain Range.  This picturesque setting contains 42,008 acres of tea bushes (according to the Tea Board of India) producing the exquisite Darjeeling tea that is unequalled anywhere in the world.

The cool and moist climate, the soil, the rainfall and the sloping terrain all combine to give Darjeeling its unique "Muscatel" flavor and exquisite bouquet. The combination of natural factors that gives Darjeeling tea its unique distinction is not found anywhere else in the world, hence this finest and most delicately flavored of all teas has over the years acquired the reputation of being the "Champagne of Teas."

These high quality teas are full bodied, yet delicately flavored. Yields are very low for Darjeeling teas, since planters do not give up quality for quantity. They work had to maintain consistency year after year.

Darjeeling teas to try:
Margaret’s Hope
Pan Fired-green tea
Steamed Darjeeling- green tea
Darjeeling Decaf

Ceylon Ceylon teas are grown in five different districts in Sri lanka. The high grown district districts are Dimbula, Nuwara Eliya, and Uva. Teas grown in these areas of 4000 above sea level tend to be light and flavory. Kandy is the medium growing district of 2000-4000 feet and produces teas with a malty fullness and floral notes. The low growing district of Ruhunu is less than 2000 feet. Teas grown in this area are full bodied with lots of flavor.

Ceylon teas to try:
Lover’s Leap
Ceylon Organic

China Blacks Tea has been a staple in China and Taiwan for more than 2000 years. In Chinese society there are historical, legendary and religious connotations associated with tea. The best known China black tea is Keemun with its rich aroma and complex taste. Keemun if stored properly will keep for many years.

Yunnan has a very distinctive appearance. The leaf is very tippy with more than half of the leaf being a light tan color blending into black. This tea has a full bodied taste with subtle sweetness.

Scented teas from China should not be confused with flavored teas that get their taste from flavoring oils, waters, and crystals. These teas are scented using Jasmine flowers, rose petals, and lichee fruit.

China Black teas to try:
Sacred Garden                              Lapsang Zhivago
Keemum Three Monkey                Lapsang Souchong
Nine Bend Black Dragon               Rose Congou

Ying Ming Yunnan                         Peregrine Mountain

Green Tea Green tea is from the same plant as (Camellia sinensis.) as all other teas. After the tea leaves are plucked and sorted, they are either steamed or pan fired. Green tea does not go through the oxidation (fermentation) process. Green tea does have less caffeine than black tea. The leaves are often rolled into different shapes before drying.  Sencha tea is rolled into fine strands, while gunpowder tea leaves are rolled into pellets.  Many Chinese green teas are painstakingly shaped and tied. Once the leaves are shaped, they are dried and packaged. Green tea also has HGCG; the most powerful antioxidant known. This can only be found in green tea.

Green teas to try:
Genmaicha- popcorn Tea                Pinhead Gunpowder
Sencha Cherry Rose                        Monkey Eye
Jasmine with Flowers                      White Monkey Paw
Houjicha                                           Lucky Dragon
Bamboo Tips                                   Japanese Sencha

Oolong Tea Oolong tea, like black tea goes through a withering stage (wilting).  The difference is the oolong tea, goes through a shorter stage and the leaves are fired directly after that to prevent continued oxidation (fermentation.)  The leaves can range from being almost black to dark green depending on when oxidation is stopped.  The longer the leaves are oxidized the closer to black tea they will become. Formosa Oolong is an Amber Oolong with a rich amber cup that is a little toasty tasting.) Se Chung leaves are not allowed to oxidize as long, so the leaves have a dark green appearance and produce a light yellow cup with hints of sweetness.

Oolong teas to try:
Formosa Oolong                  Milk Oolong
Orange Blossom                  Tung Ting
Iron Goddess of Mercy         Se Chung
Ti Kuan Yin                          Plum Oolong

White Tea White tea is the least processed tea.  The leaves are picked early in the year while the tiny white hairs are still visible on the leaves and the bud is still closed. Only the top leaf and a bud are picked from the plant. The leaves are then allowed to dry in the sun; they are not steamed or pan fired like green tea. If mechanical drying is required for a white tea, they are baked. This produces a light cup usually a very pale yellow with a light and lightly sweet taste.

White teas to try:
Two Doves
Fujian Silver Buds