White, green, oolong, black and dark tea. Different types of tea all from the same plant!
White, green, oolong, black and dark tea are all products of Camellia Sinensis leaves and buds, the only difference is how they are processed. You can turn the fresh plucked green tea leaves into any of the varieties.
White tea is minimally processed. It is basically plucked and dried in the sun and the shade. White tea normally gives a light cup with sweet or flowery flavors.
Green tea has no oxidation. The oxidation is halted by pan-frying (Chinese teas) or steaming (Japanese) steps. The additional processing brings out more flavor. Characteristic flavors are grassy, vegetal, and earthy, with sweet notes.
Oolong tea gets partially oxidized. Oolong can range in color from dark green to black. The combination of bruising and partial oxidation give many oolongs distinct flowery & earthy flavors. Darker oolongs may have buttery or smoky tastes to them.
Black tea is fully oxidized, which blackens the leaves Black teas are distinct for their briskness and bold taste.
Dark teas are post fermented teas. This is a class of tea that has undergone microbial fermentation, from several months to many years. The exposure of the tea leaves to humidity and oxygen during the process also causes endo-oxidation (derived from the tea-leaf enzymes themselves) and exo-oxidation (which is microbial catalyzed). The tea leaves and the liquor made from them become darker with oxidation. Dark teas give taste of earthy and autumn notes.
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