Learn About Tea

Tea Types
There are many types of tea as the following are the most common.

tea_types

  • White tea
  • Green  tea
  • Oolong tea (also known as Wulong) 
  • Black tea (known as red tea in China) 
  • Post-fermented tea (Pu-erh tea)
Cultivation and Harvesting
Tea plants take about 4 to 12 years to bear seed and about three years before a new plant is ready for harvesting.  In addition to warm climate, tea plants require at least 50 inches of rainfall a year and prefer acidic soils.  Many high-quality tea plants are cultivated at elevations of up to 4,900 feet above sea level; at these heights, the plants grow more slowly and acquire better flavor.
 
Only the top 1 to 2 inches of the mature tea plant are picked.  These buds and leaves are called "flush".  A plant will grow new flush every 7 to 15 days.  Leaves that are slow in development always produce better flavored teas.
 
Processing
Green, White, Oolong, Black and Pu-erh teas are derived from the Camellia sinensis evergreen plant.  The difference comes from how the fresh tea buds and leaves are processed.
 
Steps Process Green Tea White Tea Oolong Tea Black Tea Pu-erh Tea
1 Wilting   X X X  
2 Disruption     X X  
3 Fermentation     X X  
4 Fixation X X X   X
5 Rolling X X X X X
6 Drying X X X X X
7 Aging/Curing     X   X

Wilting:
Withering is used to remove excess water from the tea leaves .  The tea leaves can be either put under the sun, left in a cool breezy room, or use heated air to force over the leaves pull moisture out from the leaves.  The tea leaves sometimes lose more than a quarter of their weight in water during this process.  
 
Disruption:
The tea leaves are bruised or torn in order to promote and quicken oxidation.  The leaves may be lightly bruised on their edges by shaking and tossing in a tray or tumbling in baskets.  More extensive disruption can be done by kneading, rolling, tearing, and crushing, usually by machinery.    This releases some of the leaf juices, which may aid in oxidation and change the taste profile of the tea.
 
Fermentation:
This is the chemical process where oxygen is absorbed.  The leaves are left on their own in a climate-controlled room where they turn progressively darker.  The tea producer may choose when this oxidation process should be stopped, which depends on the desired qualities in the final tea.  This process is highly important in the formation of many taste and aroma compounds giving the tea its liquor color, strength and briskness.  It is considered the main deciding factor where the tea is classified the type of tea.
 
Fixation:
Fixation is done to stop the tea leaves oxidation at a desired level.  This process is accomplished by moderately heating the leaves thus deactivating their oxidative enzymes.  Traditionally, the leaves are panned in a wok or steamed.  The modern approach is done by baking or panning in a rolling drum.
 
Rolling:
The damp tea leaves are then rolled to form into wrinkled strips by hand or using a rolling machine which causes the leaves to wrap around itself.  This rolling action also causes some of the sap, essential oils and juices inside the leaves to come out which further enhances the taste of the tea.
 
Drying:
This is when the tea leaves are dried evenly and thoroughly without burning the leaves.  This could be done by panning, sunning, air drying or baking.  Baking is usually the most common method.  The drying of the tea is responsible for new flavor.
 
Aging/Curing:
Some teas require additional aging, secondary fermentation or baking to reach its distinctive taste.  Flavored teas are processed in this stage by spraying or mixing the tea with desired additives for specific flavor(s).
 
Blending
The aim of blending is to create a well balanced flavor using different origins and characters.  This also allows for variations in tea leaf quality and differences from season to season to be smothered out.  
 
Tea Preparation
Different teas require different water temperature and steeping times.  For best tea flavor, use the following guideline.
 
Tea Type Water Temperature Steep Time Infusions
White Tea 149 to 158°F 1 to 2 minutes 3
Green Tea 158 to 167°F 1 to 2 minutes 3
Oolong Tea 167 to 176°F 1 to 2 minutes 4 to 6
Black Tea 210°F 2 to 3 minutes 2 to 3
 

ABOUT US

With centuries of traditional tea farming expertise, a remote tea garden community in southeastern China has mastered the art of producing organic tea.  This area is to organic tea what the Napa Valley is to wine in the United States.  Our organic tea is cultivated from nutrient-rich soil, ever present sunshine and misty mountain air, producing fresh tasting premium tea leaves.  From picking, processing and blending, we ensure that each cup of tea will deliver a refreshing flavor and aroma.   Read More

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