An Introduction to Tea

“If you are cold, tea will warm you; If you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.”
-William Ewart Gladstone

Tea, the second most consumed beverage after water, comes from a plant Camellia sinensis.

Camellia sinensis is an evergreen shrub that grows in tropical and subtropical climates. The leaves are green in colour with serrated edges and pointed tip. The fresh leaves once harvested, are dried and processed to make different varieties of tea.

The traditional tea growing countries are mainly in Asia and Africa, such as China, India, Japan, Kenya and Sri Lanka being the top producers in the world. Two common varieties include Camellis sinensis assamica, from Assam and the Camellia sinensis sinensis, from China. The Assam variety produces broad leaves, giving it a distinct robust and strong flavour, whereas China variety produces smaller leaves giving it a more delicate and smooth flavour.

All types of tea consumed today, comes from the single plant Camellia sinensis. The difference in the geographic region, climate, cultivar and processing method results in the various variety of unique taste and characteristics of different teas.

Most common types of Tea

  1. White Tea
  2. Green Tea
  3. Oolong Tea
  4. Black Tea
  5. Pu-erh Tea

White tea undergoes the least processing, followed by Green tea (not oxidized), Oolong (partly- oxidized), Black tea (oxidized) and Pu-erh tea (post-fermented).