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A Newbie’s Information to Tea: Half One

Not all teas are created equal; at present, we start a dialogue on the various kinds of tea, how they fluctuate in taste, and how one can correctly brew them.


Function picture by Alice Pasqual by way of Unsplash

Although tea is a café staple, there’s nonetheless lots concerning the drink that many don’t perceive. What vegetation do tea leaves come from, and what separates the various kinds of tea from each other? How do the totally different sorts of tea fluctuate in taste, and do they must be brewed in numerous methods? In our “Newbie’s Information to Tea“ sequence, we’ll information you thru all of those questions and assist you start mastering the artwork of tea so to brew a pleasant cup at your café or at dwelling.

A woven basket sits on the ground. The basket is filled with freshly picked Camellia Sinensis leaves.
White, inexperienced, oolong, and black tea all come from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Picture by Patricio Hurtado by way of Pixabay.

Camellia Sinensis: The place All Tea Begins

All tea comes from the leaves of a single plant, Camellia sinensis—a species of evergreen shrub. The leaves of this plant usually emerge in early spring. After harvest, the leaves are processed in a wide range of methods, leading to various kinds of tea.

On this article sequence, we’ll be exploring the principle forms of tea: white, inexperienced, oolong, and black. We’ll even be concerning fermented teas (the best-known of which is pu-erh) and natural teas, which aren’t constructed from Camellia sinensis however quite from herbs, flowers, and grains. In at present’s first installment, we’ll take a look at white and inexperienced tea.

White Tea

Out of all of the forms of tea, white tea is the one which requires the least quantity of processing—in actual fact, it basically requires no processing in any respect. White tea will get its identify from the fuzzy white down discovered on the younger Camellia sinensis buds it’s harvested from. This tea is made just by harvesting the youngest leaves and buds of the tea plant, then drying them in direct daylight. This permits oxidation to occur naturally.

The tea leaves usually take one or two full days to air dry, and in cases the place the encircling local weather is simply too moist or wet, they could be gently tumble-dried on extraordinarily low warmth. When brewed, white tea is often pale inexperienced or yellow in colour and identified for its mild physique, delicate aroma, and subtly candy, floral, fruity, and nutty notes.

A plain white porcelain teacup with no handle is full of brewed white tea, a pale yellow-green color liquid. Beside the cup is a small white teapot with a lid and a handle on the side, similar to a pot handle.
White tea is probably the most delicate tasting of the principle forms of tea. It’s identified for its mild physique, refined aromas, and mildly candy and fruity flavors. Picture by Kiran Kok by way of Unsplash.

Brewing White Tea

Due to how delicate white tea is, it ought to by no means be brewed with boiling water; attempt to hold your water at just below 170 levels Fahrenheit. For those who don’t have a temperature-controlled kettle, you possibly can deliver water as much as a rolling boil, flip off the warmth, and let it sit for a few minute earlier than pouring it over the tea leaves. For each one to 2 teaspoons of tea leaves, use eight ounces of water. Steep your tea for 3 to 5 minutes, relying on how sturdy you need it to be.

Inexperienced Tea

Inexperienced tea requires minimal processing, following the identical course of as white tea with one further step: initiating oxidation by making use of warmth by pan-firing the contemporary leaves over a wok or steaming them for 20-30 seconds. The pan-firing technique is usually used for Chinese language inexperienced teas (resembling gunpowder inexperienced tea or dragonwell inexperienced tea). The steaming technique is attribute of Japanese inexperienced teas (resembling sencha or genmaicha).

When brewed, inexperienced tea displays a inexperienced or yellow colour. In comparison with white tea, it’s extra earthy and savory, with toasty, grassy, and vegetal flavors. Inexperienced tea can be extra nutty and buttery than white tea, whereas nonetheless sustaining mild floral undertones.

In a white and blue china teacup on a white saucer, there is green loose leaf tea brewing. Beside the cup is a wooden scoop with more dried green tea leaves. Both are on top of a carved wooden board.
In comparison with white tea, inexperienced tea displays grassier and extra vegetal flavors. It additionally has extra of a umami taste, with a slight toastiness that comes from the leaves being heated over a wok or steamed. Picture by Apple Deng by way of Pixabay.

Brewing Inexperienced Tea

Like white tea, inexperienced tea is delicate and subsequently shouldn’t be brewed with boiling water. When brewing inexperienced tea, your water must be between 175 and 185 levels Fahrenheit—in any other case, you’d danger your tea growing bitter flavors. For each teaspoon of inexperienced tea leaves, use eight ounces of water. Steep your tea for about three to 5 minutes earlier than serving.

Some Professional Ideas

When brewing any kind of tea, hold the next suggestions in thoughts for the very best outcomes:

  • When serving tea, it’s greatest to pre-warm your teacup. You are able to do so by pouring a small quantity of sizzling water into your cup, then tossing it out earlier than pouring your tea.
  • Keep away from utilizing faucet water or laborious water—doing so can alter the fragile flavors of the tea. Attempt to at all times use spring, filtered, or purified water.
  • For those who don’t have a temperature-controlled tea kettle, utilizing a thermometer may help obtain correct brewing situations.
  • Masking your tea whereas it’s steeping is important to permitting the flavors to completely develop. Because of this it’s greatest to make use of a lined teapot or kettle.

Keep tuned for half two of this text sequence, the place we’ll discover oolong, black, fermented, and natural teas in depth.


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