In part 1 of our overview of “true” tea, we pointed out that all true tea comes from only one source – the Camellia sinensis plant – and that there are six varieties of true tea: white tea, yellow tea, green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea.
Here in part 2, we’ll take a closer look at each of these varieties starting with white tea, yellow tea and oolong tea, and then wrapping up in part 3 with black tea, green tea and pu-erh tea.
White tea is harvested from baby leaf-tips of the Camellia sinensis plant. Harvesting occurs during the spring mainly in China (specifically in the Fujian province), however harvesting also takes place in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India and Taiwan. Compared to the other four true tea varieties, white tea is the least processed, as the leaves are steamed and then dried. This is why the leaves themselves retain their white hue (and from which this type of tea derives its name).
Yellow tea is not particularly well-known in the west, but is widely enjoyed in the east – especially China, where it is primarily harvested in early spring in the Anhui, Sichuan and Henan provinces.
Yellow tea is created by slowly roasting Camellia sinensis leaves until slight oxidation occurs. Additional and carefully-controlled oxidation may also occur as the leaves are places in boxes or under special mats. This process also gives yellow tea its signature gold color, from which it derives its name.
Interestingly, if you’re searching for yellow tea in your local health food or grocery store, then you may not be able to find it – because it’s often placed in the green tea section. However, tea experts agree (and you should too, since you’re on your way to becoming one!) that yellow tea is a distinct variety.
Harvested primarily in China and Taiwan, Oolong tea leaves are widely considered to be the most delicious and healthiest of all true tea varieties (and we won’t argue with that!). The level of oxidation is basically between green tea and black tea, which is why drinking oolong is so refreshing and invigorating yet soothing and satisfying. It really is the best of both worlds.
Oolong tea is processed similar to black tea, in that withered leaves are rolled and allowed to oxidize, after which they’re fired in an oven to stop the oxidation process.
Looking for a great Oolong blend? Try Diamond! Our unique Diamond fusion blend features beauty rituals and remedies from around the world to detoxify and freshen your complexion. Amazonian Sarsaparilla and Indian Neem remove blemishing toxins from the skin. Tahitian Vanilla and Black Cherries enhance cognitive function and provide a delectable experience.
In part 3 of our series, we’ll explore more true tea varieties: black tea, green tea and pu-erh tea. Stay tuned!
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