Dessert Teas, White Teas, Green Teas, Oolong Teas, Black Teas, Pu-erh Teas, Rooibos Teas, Herbal Teas
There are four common types of tea that are from the leaves of the camellia sinensus plant: green tea, black tea, white tea, and oolong tea. They are processed differently and the white tea is grown differently. Pu-erh tea, a post-fermented tea is is also very popular.
Tea has a shelf life that varies with storage conditions and type of tea. Black tea has a longer shelf life than green tea. Some teas such as flower teas may go bad in a month or so. An exception, Pu-erh tea improves with age. Tea stays freshest when stored in a dry, cool, dark place in an air-tight container. Black tea stored in a bag inside a sealed opaque canister may keep for two years. Green tea loses its freshness more quickly, usually in less than a year. Gunpowder tea, its leaves being tightly rolled, keeps longer than the more open-leafed Chun Mee tea. Storage life for all teas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by vacuum sealing."
Fully fermented, oxidized before curing, create a dark brown liquor. Black teas are quite versatile and can be taken hot, with milk and/or sugar, or as an iced tea. To brew, use hot to boiling water and steep for about 3-4 minutes.
Unfermented, and retain their green leaf coloration. Green teas are known for their health benefits- particularly as anti-oxidants. To brew use hot water at around 180 degrees or cooler.
Are unfermented, plucked in the spring and dried immediately after harvest. White tea contains buds and young tea leaves, with higher caffeine than older leaves. Brew with nearly-boiling water for 2-5 minutes.
Sometimes referred to as Wulong Tea. A semi-fermented tea from the Fujian region of China. Like green tea it is very popular recently as a weight-loss aid. Brew with nearly-boiling water for 2-5 minutes. oxidized before curing.
Post fermented, similar in many ways to green teas. Unlike other teas that should ideally be consumed shortly after production, pu-erh can be drunk immediately or aged for many years.
Chai is commonly used in some cultures as the word for tea. Western cultures usually refer to masala chai, when using the word chai. Masala chai is tea with spices, usually cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, peppercorn, and cloves.
Usually implies a special tea processed similarly to green tea, but with a slower drying phase, where the damp tea leaves are allowed to sit and yellow. The tea generally has a very yellow-green appearance and a smell different from both white tea and green tea.
There are numerous other drinks called teas that may not contain the leaves of the camellia sinensus plant. Some of the more popular ones are: flavored teas, fruit teas, jasmine teas, herbal teas, or tisanes rooibos tea, chamomile tea, ginseng tea, yerba mate tea, mint tea.
Often referred to as a red tea. It is not an actual tea as defined above but is considered a health aid by many, low in caffeine and high in anti-oxidants.
Herbal Teas, or Tisanes
These are not really a tea as they are not made from the leaves of the camellia sinensus plant. Often made from fresh or dried flowers, leaves, seeds or roots.
Tea with added Jasmine flowers. It originates from the time of the Song Dynasty (960–1279). Normally Jasmine tea is based on green tea or white tea.
Yerba Mate Tea
Brewed from the leaves and twigs of a bush of South America in warm water. The flavor of brewed yerba mate is strongly vegetal, herbal, and grassy, reminiscent of some varieties of green tea.
German chamomile is used medicinally against sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It is also used as a mild laxative.
Usually made with a strong green tea, like gunpowder. The serving of mint tea can take a ceremonial form, especially when prepared for a guest.
Flavored Teas, Fruit Teas
Are usually made by infusing a fruit or flower in black or white teas. Many flavored teas are popular and commonly found in many tea shops and restaurants. Earl Grey tea is black tea with bergamot, jasmine tea is Chinese tea with jasmine flowers, and genmaicha is a Japanese green tea with toasted rice.