Are you new to tea? Want to learn a little bit more on the world’s second most-consumed drink?
What is tea?
Every type of tea originates from the Camellia Sinensis plant, a warm weather loving evergreen. How the leaves are processed determines the type of tea that it becomes. During the processing of tea, leaves undergo natural chemical reactions and oxidation that result in the distinctive smell, color, and taste characteristics that makes each type of tea.
Tea is grown in the major tea regions of China, Japan, India, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. In addition to the great taste and aroma, tea is well known for its health benefits and stress relief abilities.
The History of Tea
No one knows for sure exactly where tea came from, but it is estimated that tea goes back 5,000 years! The first reference to tea is in 350 A.D. when Chinese scholar Kou P’o wrote about a beverage “made from the leaves by boiling”. In 780, the first book of tea was published: the Ch’a Ching (The Classic of Tea) by Lu Yu.
In the early 17th century, Dutch traders brought tea from China and Japan to Europe. By the mid 1600’s, tea had been introduced to America. America’s contribution to the tea culture includes iced tea and the tea bag.
The Major Categories of Teas
Black tea is the most commonly consumed tea in the world; accounting for approximately 80% of all tea consumption. Black teas are the most processed (or oxidized) of all teas. Many black teas offer the boldest aroma and taste of any other type of tea. If you like bold taste, a black type may be your cup of tea.
Oolong tea taste ranges between a green and black tea— often called the "Champagne of Teas". Oolong teas offer a full flavor without the bitterness tendency with some black teas. The varieties of oolong tea differ greatly in flavor, depending on the amount of time that the leaves are given to oxidize. If you like a smooth full flavored tea, Oolong is the tea for you!
Green tea leaves are often steamed or pan fired, rolled and dried to give their distinctive taste and flavor. Green tea is most often known for the many amazing health benefits that it touts. You can expect mild to bold flavors from grassy to sweet that will suit any tea moment— hot or iced.
White tea is the most subtle of all the varieties of tea, using only the finest tea leaves from each bush with minimal processing. Considered by most to be the highest quality and most delicate of tea. New studies show that white tea is 10% more effective in improving immune health than its green cousin. Expect a smooth taste and a light finish with great fruit infusions options!
White Tea is Bai Cha in Chinese (Pronounced BYE-CHA) and is grown in Fujian, China. There's a two-step process for Camellia Sinensis (pronounced Ka-Mee-Li-A Cy-Nen-Sis) to become a “White Tea”:
- Step #1: Tea is picked. Picking sequence is two leaves and a bud. Best tea is picked between Mid-March to Mid-April. Bud only composition white teas are Silver Needle/Jasmine Silver Needle. Two leaves and a bud composition white teas are Pai Mu Tan/White Peony (these are some of the most forgiving teas since they don't burn or become bitter with over steeping).
- Step #2: Tea is withered/dried. Withering begins as soon as the tea is plucked. The object is to reduce the moisture content of the tea and concentrate the juices. Withering is where the tea is spread in troughs and hot air is forced through it. It can also be sun dried if weather conditions are conducive. An indispensable step in the process where heat and humidity are imperative to the quality of the tea. Too much humidity and the tea becomes moldy. Too little and the tea dries out too fast and becomes bitter.
Herbal tea is simply the combination of boiling water and dried fruit, flower, root, seed, and/or herb. Herbals usually offer a wide selection of decaffeinated teas in many different flavors. You can expect to find an herbal to meet a variety of tastes.
Rooibos (pronounced Roy Bus) is a flavorful, caffeine-free alternative to traditional tea for those seeking to eliminate caffeine. With a diverse selection of scents and flavor blends, Rooibos tea has made its name as a major type of herbal tea due to its versatility. Rooibos is also known as redbush or red tea and can be enjoyed hot or iced.
Fava Tea Company also offers other great teas that are perfect for any tea experience! These teas include Pu Erh, Chai, Yerba Mate, Green Tea Matcha, and special Tea Blends.