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One Plant Many Teas

Given the amazing variety of teas available today, it’s frequently surprising to learn that all true tea comes from the same type of plant, an Asian evergreen known as Camellia sinensis.

Factors such as country or origin, elevation, rainfall, and average temperature play a significant role, but the most important influence on flavor is how the leaves are processed after plucking. Processing method is the main difference between white, green, oolong, and black tea. This means that the cup of Premium Japanese Green Tea you drank several evenings ago and the cup of Choice Organic Teas English Breakfast that you ought to try during tomorrow’s morning hours came from the same type of plant.

Here’s a quick guide to the processing of plucked tea leaves into the product that we here at Choice Organic Teas purchase and distribute around the world. All of these steps take place at the garden where the tea is grown.

Visualize a table, set left to right with white, green, oolong, and black teas, each loose leaf in a white porcelain cup.

White teas are the least processed of all. Quite simply, the leaves are gently withered and dried.

Green teas undergo slightly more processing. After plucking, the leaves are steamed or heated briefly and then dried.

Oolong teas require an additional step of partial oxidation. During this time, the leaves are gently bruised and exposed to the air for a carefully controlled period of time. This partial oxidation creates a tea with flavor between a green tea and a black tea.

Finally, in the production of black tea, leaves are slightly withered, rolled, fully oxidized to develop a deeper flavor, and then dried.


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