December 28, 2010

Foojoy's guide to types of tea

One of the things I enjoyed about the In Pursuit of Tea's Tea & Cheese Pairing I attended a couple of months ago was co-founder Sebastien Beckwith's simple explanation of the five types of tea -- white, green, Oolong, black, and Pu-erh.  Similarly, the brochure included with my box of Foojoy's Lungching has an excellent tea guide.

Image: Foojoy Lungching Green Tea (screen capture via Amazon.com)

White tea: Tea leaves are dried and steamed briefly, without rolling or oxidization, making this the least processed tea.

Green tea: Fresh tea leaves are allowed to wither, and then are pan-fired or steamed and later rolled and dried.  Green tea leaves do not undergo oxidization.

Oolong: Leaves for Oolong teas are allowed to oxidize only partially, and Oolongs range in color from a golden brew to deep amber, depending on the amount of oxidization and the extent of firing.

Black tea: Black teas...comes from the same plant as green teas, but leaves for black teas are allowed to oxidize fully, resulting in chemical changes that produce a dark amber color.

About Pu-erh from the In Pursuit of Tea website: Pu-erh tea is aged, post-fermented, and often compressed into bricks. Its name comes from the town of Pu-erh in Southwestern China. Pu-erhs have a strong earthy taste that gains complexity over time.

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