GREEN TEA are fresh leaves of the tea plant. They are not oxidized, but only dried and is, therefore, still green and may have a slight grassy taste. Green tea is available with added flavour and in blends with herbs, dried fruits or flowers like our Mountain Flower where we added both petals and natural citrus aroma.
BLACK TEA is oxidized and dried leaves from the tea plant. Black tea is available in numerous grades and the taste depends on the climate and soil where the plant has grown. The strongest teas come from the hottest habitats, while lighter teas typically grows in the highlands of the cooler climate countries.
WHITE TEA is the fresh, tender buds of the tea plant, which are picked before the bush has blossomed. The buds are not oxidized, but steamed slowly if necessary and is dried at low heat. The flavour is mild and soft and the white tea is both expensive and desired. The small white down on the back of the fresh tea leaves becomes visible during the drying process and appears completely white. White tea is often called Silver Tips because of these white downs. Aromatic flavored teas such as quince, jasmine or fruit are usually green or black teas, which has been given taste in the form of aromatic oils or herbs and flowers.
HOW TEA IS PRODUCED
The fresh leaves on the tea bushes are picked by hand by plantation workers or in certain areas around the world harvested with machine. It is mostly women work picking tea leaves and despite the fact that the work is both demanding and physically hard, it is most places poorly paid.
The tea leaves are dried, oxidized and flavoured in different ways depending on the type of tea to be made. The oxidation is also known as fermentation, as in the case of an initial degradation of the leaf. The treatment of the fresh tea leaves determines a portion of the flavour. Plant growth conditions determines another important part. Just as with wine, climate, soil and harvest time also has an impact on the final taste.
When the leaves are harvested they are gathered and driven to ‘tea factory’ where they are dried carefully by blowing warm air on them. In some places they are dried in the open air. The leaves are rolled or crushed to give the oxygen of the air access to the enzymes in the leaves.
When this happens, the tea oxidizes/ferment and change colour from green to golden and brown to black. If the tea leaves are oxidized or fermented 100 percent they become completely black.
For oolong tea, leaves are oxidized between 30 and 60 percent, while green teas are not oxidized at all. In order to stop the oxidation, the tea leaves are heated in an owen. The leaves are dried completely simultaneously and now the tea is ready for selling and consumption.
The green tea is warmed up before the leaves begin to oxidize.