6 families of teas
If you like tea, you must know that there are many benefits of drinking tea. But in the colorful and interesting world of tea, it's great to learn about different teas!
Like our French wines, tea types are mainly classified according to the production region, season, production process and cultivation method.
Outside of terroirs and regions a simple classification is recognized:
there are 6 families:
The six common types of tea are green tea, black tea, Oolong tea, white tea, yellow tea and black tea.
Here is an in-depth analysis of different categories, as well as the introduction of different characteristics and effects of tea, each type has its own unique charm, so if you like tea, drink more pleasantly!
1 – Green tea
Green tea is the least processed of all tea types, distinguished by a three-step process: knocking down the leaves (via steaming, frying, roasting, or drying), kneading them, and drying them. Its green hue characterizes the broth and the leaves, resulting in its name. Unlike black tea, green tea undergoes little oxidation, the harvesters neutralizing the oxidation enzymes by intense cooking upon picking.
Characteristics: Unfermented, preserving the original flavor.
Light and aromatic taste, starting with a bitter note then evolving into a sweet sweetness.
Lighter in appearance with a natural green tint, offering a delicate, fresh and slightly herbaceous flavor.
Abundance of polyphenols and catechins, fights against aging, strengthens immunity, eliminates fats and facilitates digestion.
Improves mental alertness.
Reduces digestive symptoms.
Promotes weight loss.
Presence of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), contributing to the prevention of cancer and heart disease.
2 – Black tea
Also known as "red tea" in China, black tea stands out as the most robust and dark type of tea. Its deep coloring comes from the oxidation process, beginning after the tea leaves are picked. These leaves are processed into dried packages to create the tea we consume.
The leaves are then fermented and oxidized, then dried, resulting in a high quality black tea. The prolonged oxidation process gives black tea its dark appearance and powerful aroma. Typical black tea flavor profiles are strong, lively and full-bodied, featuring malty or fruity notes depending on the variety.
Black tea is characterized as fully fermented, offering a thick, warm taste. This fermentation transforms the catechins, making it rich in theaflavins and polyphenols, offering a taste experience comparable to that of red wine.
Health Benefits: Naturally warming, protects the spleen, stomach and warms the body. He :
- Reduces the risk of heart attack.
- Helps lower cholesterol levels.
- Decrease blood pressure.
- Manages or prevents obesity.
3 – Oolong tea
Oolong tea production process
Oolong is another tea similar to green tea that has only been partially oxidized. The partial oxidation process leaves room for many style variations, but each style shares the same long transformation process of withering, shaking, pan-frying, rolling, and drying.
After withering in the sun and wilting indoors for a period of time, the tea leaves are stirred to allow the water to disperse evenly and increase enzyme activity for oxidation. Then the tea leaves are killed for the frying process, kneaded and then dried. It is the most complicated and longest of the six major teas.
Characteristics of Oolong tea:
The taste of bottom-fermented tea resembles the freshness and sweetness of green tea, while the taste of top-fermented tea resembles the richness and aroma of black tea.
This lighter oxidation process gives Oolong tea a fresh taste with a distinct flavor depending on where the tea leaves were grown. Most Oolong tea comes from Taiwan and China. Taiwan is best known for its specialty teas like Milk Oolong.
Our Tie Guanyin (low fermentation) from Chenkeng is very floral and its flavor presents a beautiful succession of subtle notes of lychees and butter cake. Like green and white teas, preferably consumed in spring and summer.
Our Oolong, highly oxidized and rich in polyphenols, contains antioxidant molecules specific to green tea, white tea, black tea and Puer. This makes it an ideal choice all year round. The traditional method brings out the deeper flavors of the tea, as well as floral, sweet, herbaceous or toasted notes. Our Oolong tea reveals a delicate aromatic bouquet with notes of caramel, flowers and honey. Its flavor is a subtle marriage of lily, jasmine and mango, offering a long persistence in the mouth with chocolate aromas.
Health Benefits of Oolong Tea:
The tea is neutral in nature and can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar and blood lipids.
As a bonus, your cup of Oolong tea will help you adopt a healthier lifestyle thanks to:
Reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease
Reduced risk of developing cancer or having a stroke
A boost to metabolism to help with weight management
Antioxidants that help repair DNA damage
4 – White tea
White tea production process
White tea is another variety of tea with an incredibly light level of oxidation. The production of white tea begins with harvesting the tiny buds of a tea bush (just the top), for our Queen of Peonies. The only direct action exerted on the tea leaves is to dry them slowly and methodically to reduce humidity until the desired aroma and flavor is achieved.
The tea leaves are withered for a long time inside, without withering, stirring or kneading, and then dried directly. Features of white tea:
Partially fermented tea is characterized by light floral and fruity aromas. The tea leaves have a light and elegant flavor, and the transparent body is its unique charm!
Flavors of less oxidized white tea tend to be bright, fruity, and grassy, while more oxidized versions are woodsy, nutty, and spicy.
Through this delicate process, white tea has a unique, sweet aroma and a smooth, fresh flavor that tastes straight from the garden. Although similar to green tea, white tea is generally creamier, smoother and more liqueur-like, sweeter and milder than green tea. White tea doesn't easily become bitter or astringent, so you don't need to be too careful about how you brew it. The length of time you do it for determines its caffeine level.
Health benefits of white tea:
It is cool in nature and can help reduce body heat, regulate body temperature and eliminate dryness. It is therefore excellent for the skin, particularly that of the face. It also has the effect of lowering blood sugar levels and protecting the liver.
In case you need further convincing before taking white tea, it also offers you other health benefits such as:
- Reducing cholesterol levels
- Antioxidants that scavenge free radicals and help prevent cancer
- Less stress
- Increased metabolism
- Healthier skin and bones
- Strengthening the immune system
5 – Yellow tea
Of all types of tea, yellow tea is the rarest. It is the smallest quantity among the six major tea families.
The process of producing yellow tea is similar to that of green tea, but involves drying the tea leaves more slowly, giving them a more yellow coloring. Commonly referred to as “sealed yellowing,” this procedure increases the level of oxidation in the leaves while eliminating the strong herbal odor typically associated with green tea. This extended drying process gives yellow tea a mild taste, somewhere between the flavor profiles of green tea and white tea. While yellow tea has the same mellow flavor as green tea, it has a milder taste and a more fruity, floral aroma. This way, the flavors of the yellow tea match its bright appearance.
Characteristics of yellow tea: It is a partially fermented tea, which is slightly fermented. The taste is refreshing, with a grassy and slightly sweet and sour aroma, and the body of the tea is light. The finish is astringent, with a slightly bitter and sweet aftertaste.
Health benefits of yellow tea:
This lightly fermented, lesser-known tea is unique to China and has not yet been adopted in many other places around the world. Although it is not as widely recognized as most other teas, it may soon see a surge in popularity thanks to its health benefits.
It can help the functioning of the spleen and stomach, improve indigestion or lack of appetite. It can also promote metabolism, clear heat and detoxify the body, and relieve cough and phlegm. Also take care of yourself with:
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Antioxidants that help repel free radicals
- Less stress on the body
- Reduced risk of stroke
- Anti-cancer characteristics
6 – Dark tea
A post-fermented tea is a tea that has undergone a period of aging in a hot and humid environment of varying duration. When the latter is short we speak of yellow tea, while when it is longer, ranging from a few months to several years, we will speak of dark tea.
Fermented tea may have undergone oxidation prior to fermentation and will therefore be based on black, Oolong or white tea. Then under the influence of molds, yeasts and bacteria, it undergoes fermentation in a warm and humid environment. It can then be aged for several years, which will radically change its taste, moving from astringency and bitterness to more creamy and earthy flavors.
Fermented tea originates from China, where it is commonly called hei cha (黑茶) or black tea. Hei cha is produced in many regions of China, mainly in the warmer southern provinces. It is commonly pressed into bricks or cakes for aging.
Dark teas most often come from the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan or Hubei. The Chinese use the term "black tea" to specifically refer to post-fermented dark tea. At the same time, what Westerners commonly call “black tea” is called “red tea” in Chinese. This distinct process gives rise to a tea known as Hēichá (黑茶, literally meaning "Black Tea"), which differs from the English-language black tea called Hóngchá (红茶, literally meaning "Red Tea") in Chinese.
The best-known and most important production areas and varieties are located in the regions of:
Anhui: Liu an lan cha (安徽六安籃茶, Anhui Lu'an Tea basket)
Guangxi: Liu bao cha or Tea of the 6 castles. (廣西六堡茶, Guangxi Liubao tea, often sold as 松黑茶, ‘Song Liu Bao’ Loose black tea)
Liu Bao tea, or Liu Pao, is an aged and fermented black tea originating from the city of Liu Pao, Guangxi province, China. 2008 Liu Pao tea in a basket. This tea, like other aged teas such as Pue'rh, is well known for its many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and preventing arteriosclerosis, reducing body fat, reducing internal heat, relieving fatigue, and most importantly, for how it helps with digestion. It is for this last reason that, among the Chinese, it is regularly eaten before, during or after meals. Being an aged tea, the tea is, you guessed it, aged. Not only that, but it improves with age, like wine, or even like Pue'rh tea, as the flavors soften and become more complex.
Hubei: Qing zhuan cha (湖北青砖茶, Hubei green brick tea)
Hunan: Fu zhuan cha (湖南茯磚茶 (黑茶), the famous fu zhuan 茯磚茶 “brick tea”)
Jingyang, Shaanxi: Fu zhuan cha (陕西泾阳茯茶 (黑茶), the famous fu zhuan 茯磚茶 “brick tea”)
Sichuan: Lu bian cha (四川路边茶, Sichuan border tea)
Tibet: Zang cha (藏茶, Tibetan tea, often called Tibetan brick tea)
Yunnan: Pu'er cha (雲南普洱茶, either sheng pu'er "raw" 生普洱, or shu pu'er "ripened" 熟普洱). Pu'er or pu-erh is a variety of fermented tea traditionally produced in Yunnan province, China. In the context of traditional Chinese tea production terminology, fermentation refers to microbial fermentation (called "wet stacking") and is usually applied after the tea leaves have been sufficiently dried and rolled. As the tea undergoes controlled microbial fermentation, it also continues to oxidize, also controlled, until the desired flavors are achieved. There are two main styles of pu'er production: a traditional, longer production process known as shēng (raw) pu'er; and a modern, accelerated production process known as shóu (ripe) pu'er. Pu'er traditionally begins as a raw product called "raw" (máo) chá (毛茶, lit. fuzzy/hairy tea) and may be sold in this form or pressed into a number of forms and sold as "shēng chá (生茶, lit. Raw tea). These two forms then undergo the complex process of gradual fermentation and maturation over time. The wòduī (渥堆) fermentation process developed in 1973 by the Kunming Tea Factory created a new type of pu'er tea. This process involves accelerated fermentation into shóu (or shú) chá (熟茶, lit. ripe tea) which is then stored in bulk or pressed in various forms. The fermentation process was adopted at Menghai Tea Factory shortly.
After and technically developed there. The legitimacy of shóu chá is disputed by some traditionalists compared to traditionally more aged teas, such as shēng chá. Pu'er can be stored and allowed to age, like wine, in non-airtight containers before consumption. This is why it has long been common practice to label all types of pu'er with the year and region of production.
Bamboo leaf logs
Cakes, or bing cha (餅茶)
Bricks, or zhuan cha (磚茶)
In bulk, in baskets
Bird's nests, or tuo cha (沱茶), usually pu'er tea
Squares, or fang cha (方茶)
You can get 2 types of tea: raw pue'rh or ripe pue'rh, which differ in the way they are processed.
After farmers have harvested, withered, cooked, rolled and dried the raw pue'rh, they press it into tea cakes and place them in a temperature and humidity controlled environment to age for up to decades . The fermentation process will cause the tea leaves to react biologically, resulting in a dark brown color and the texture of black tea.
This makes raw dark tea or raw Pu-erh.
Raw pue’rh can have a range of floral, vegetal, rocky or animal flavors depending on how far along the aging process is.
Young raw pue'rh such as our Jing Mai Shan Organic raw pue'rh cake from the Jing Mai mountain have energizing properties which diminish over the years during aging.
Unlike its counterpart, ripe dark tea, which after being asparagus and undergoes double fermentation, will contain little to no amount of caffeine.
Production Process of Ripe Dark Tea (Cooked)
Ripe pue'rh goes through an accelerated aging process called wet stacking which involves spraying piles of tea leaves with water before letting them dry in a warm, humid space. After several weeks, the ripe pue'rh is pressed into tea cakes and dried further.
Characteristics of dark tea: The characteristics of tea leaves are a special post-fermented tea. The aroma is aged and resembles the grassy, woody aroma of Chinese herbs. The taste is mild and sweet, layers and earthy flavor with a fuller, rounder bodied texture. Here is our magnificent selection of post-fermented aged teas.
Health Benefits of Black Tea:
It is sweet, nutrient-rich and rich in vitamins and minerals, and is known as the “tea of life”. It can help digestion, reduce blood lipids and cholesterol. It contains antioxidants to help slow cellular aging.
Pue’rh is another tea popular for its positive associations with health, such as:
-Improved liver function
-Improved cholesterol levels
Teas offer excellence all year round, but focusing on the seasons is best to gently nourish your well-being.