Of the 380 varieties of teas listed in the world, all come from one and the same plant: Camellia Sinensis. Whether it is green tea or black tea, white tea or dark tea, red or Earl Grey tea, with the distinction of different colours and flavours, it originates from the same plant. This diversity of colours depends on the way in which the tea plant has been treated by its cultivator. Fermentation, a reaction with enzymes naturally found in the tea leaf, is an essential phase in the process of tea processing. By mastering it, the grower can choose the colour of his tea.
Black tea is a fermented tea. Its leaves, once harvested, are spread on wooden racks in a ventilated room to lose about 50% of their water. They are then rolled, which allows them to release the enzymes and thus ferment for a longer or shorter duration, depending on the desired effect. Then the drying and sorting phases establish the "grade" of the tea.
Rooibos, commonly known as "Red Tea", is not derived from tea but comes from a plant that grows exclusively in the South West of South Africa. Its leaves are picked and processed in the same way as those of tea. It can be eaten hot or cold, fermented or unfermented (green Rooibos). With a mild taste and no caffeine or tannins, it can be consumed all day long.
Oolong tea, also called semi-fermented, is between a green tea and a black tea. As soon as they are picked, the tea leaves are withered and then brewed and fermented at the same time at a high temperature. This tea is very popular in China and Taiwan.
Green tea is obtained after warming tea leaves at high temperatures to prevent fermentation. The leaves are then rolled up according to whether one wants "gunpowder" or "chunmee" filaments.
White tea has the least change after picking. Harvested in the spring, it is mainly buds and its treatment is simple. The buds will be put in the shade for a few days and then dried before being carefully packaged. It is a fine and rare tea, drunk naturally.
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