The 6 Tea Types
Updated: Jun 28
Tea is sooooo complex. There is so more to tea than your well known English Brekky…
Before I took a deep wondrous dive into the world of tea and became a Certified Tea Master & Certified Tea Blender, I thought there were different tea plants for different tea types - a green tea plant, a black tea plant and so on! But no! Brace yourself...
All tea originates from the very same plant, Camelia sinensis, but it is what you do with the leaf after it is picked that creates the different tea types - in other words, how the leaf is processed. There are 6 different types of tea (did your brain just explode?) and some you might not have heard of. There is white tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong tea, black tea and puerh tea - all with wildly different appearances, flavour profiles + health benefits. You can read more about the health benefits of tea on our BLOG.
(Oooooohhhh what about herbal/ fruit teas I hear you say? Well they do not contain the Camellia sinensis (tea) plant so are technically not 'tea' - rather a tisane or infusion).
Brew at 80°C / 3-5 mins / 1-2 tsp per cup
White tea is the least processed type of tea made from the buds and/or very young leaves of the tea plant. It is bursting with powerful antioxidants, is refreshing and thirst quenching and, according to Chinese medicine, is known to counteract excessive heat in the body and alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
Common flavour notes: delicate, smooth & mellow tea with soft fruit notes, nutty notes and a lingering, sweet aftertaste. Pictured here is our gold-medal-winning white tea blend Standing Ovation - it is a premuim organic Pai Mu Tan White tea from the famous Fujian Province in China blended with organic red rose petals. Pure and heavenly. Not meant to have favourites but...
Brew at 85°C / 3-4 mins / 1 tsp per cup
Yellow tea is found only in China, is very rare, expensive and the skilled production of it is considered a dying art. It is similar to green tea but the leaves are smothered with a damp cloth which steams them and releases a delicate aroma and sweetness. It is less ‘grassy’ and ‘vegetal’ than green tea and lighter to the stomach. Yellow tea is rich in antioxidants and is known to be a great aid for weight loss. It is also known to improve skin health, help counteract liver issues, lower cholesterol, keep the heart healthy, aid with inflammatory bowel disorders and so much more.
Common flavour notes: Soft & vivacious, clean, herbaceous with a slightly toasty edge, some fruitiness and definite sweetness. Smooth and silky mouth feel. Look at that needle like appearance!
Brew at 80°C / 1-2 mins / 1 tsp per cup
Green Tea appears to contain a higher number of polyphenols than other tea types. It is the polyphenols - potent plant antioxidants - that are said to give green tea it’s immune boosting effects. Thanks to these antioxidant properties, green tea is thought to prevent certain forms of cancer. Also said to enhance intellectual performance, green tea contains more iron, vitamins and catechins than black tea. The leaves are gently heated by steam (Japan) or dry cooking (China) to arrest the enzymes that cause oxidisation. The heating preserves antioxidants and nutrients.
Common flavour notes: a light ‘grassy’ vegetal flavour often with savoury (butter, nutty) or marine notes.
Pictured here is our wonderfully restorative 5-Minute Call green tea blend that we created to help boost your immunity and mood.
Brew at 90°C / 3-5 mins / 1 tsp per cup
Oolong is partially oxidised tea ranging in level from 10-80%. It sits in between a green and black tea in terms of oxidisation and has characteristics of both varieties. More full bodied that green, often with light, floral aroma. Mostly made in China and Taiwan, there are two styles – semi ball rolled or strip style. Oolong tea is known to promote longer sleep and reduce sleep latency. Oolong is said to have a slimming effect (when consumed regularly) by stimulating the metabolising of lipids. It’s relaxing, anti-stress, even euphoric effect is said to be due to the high concentration of aromatic oils, which are drawn out from the leaves during rolling.
Common flavour notes: Delicate but complex. Lightly vegetal with a butter note, fragrant floral orchid note and a unique sweetness.
Pictured here is our exquisite You Are Gold - famous Tie Guan Yin light Oolong blended with pure GOLD leaf!
Brew at 100°C / 3-5 mins / 1 tsp per cup
Black tea is 100% oxidised, heavily processed through many stages, offering the strongest flavors and, in some cases, the greatest astringency. Black teas are the only style of tea regularly consumed with milk and sugar. Black tea is bursting with powerful antioxidants, is a rich source of vitamins and has an abundance of beneficial properties. It acts as a stimulant, sharpening the mind, aiding concentration and boosting brain function.
Common flavour notes: Bold flavour, malty and earthy, often with notes like nuts, chocolate, tobacco and stewed fruit.
We searched the world to find our favourite breakfast style tea to offer our customers. We source our beautiful Assam from the Aideobarie Tea Estate situated on the banks of the River Teok in Assam, northeast India. Find it here.
Brew at 90-95°C / 1-3 mins / 1/4 nest per cup
Fermented tea in black or green form from the Yunnan province in China. Puerh goes through the same processing methods as black or green would, but then is left moist and most commonly compressed into cakes and allowed to age (a bit like composting). The aging process increases aromas, flavours and complexity. Puerh tea is said to aid weight loss, it is known to be cleansing with digestive properties, boost the metabolism, reduce cholesterol, reduce stress and more!
Common flavour notes: Earthy, musky, winey, bitter with a sweet aftertaste. Whilst the most common shape is the cake, puerh teas can be compressed into many other shapes and sizes such as a brick, nest, mushroom, pumpkin or cube.
You can taste the world's 6 different types of teas in our For The Love Of Tea
Organic Tea Tasting Kit + Online Experience, and learn all about the wonderful world of tea!