We love meeting with our customers and learning about them. It seems there are a lot of customers who do not know what "tea" is.
In a nutshell, it is from a plant call Camellia Sinensis. All teas come from the same plant. Herbal teas are not from Camellia Sinesis plant, just from other plants such as herbs, flowers, etc. What makes each tea type (White, Green, Oolong, Black, Puerh) different is how to process them. Of course, how each country production style and its climate make a big different on its taste and aroma. It is rare to grow tea in the US. Ones that we know: North Carolina, Hawaii and Washington State. Tea plants love hot days and cool nights for them to grow and of course they love high mountain climate for the best result. Here is a basic tea type:
White tea tastes as close to a freshly plucked leaf as you’ll get, since the leaves are never oxidized, just withered and baked dry or air-dried. White teas have a delicate flavor and can be expensive, which is why they’re not often used for blending.
After the leaves are picked, they’re steamed to retain their green color as well as their trademark vegetal flavor. After that, the leaves are withered, then rolled and twisted, and then either re-steamed (the Japanese favor this method, which preserves vegetal quality) or pan-fried, which can sometimes give the tea a yellowy-tinge and smoky aroma.
After harvesting, oolong leaves are withered and then gently tossed manually or by machine in a basket in order to bruise the edges of the leaves and oxidize them. This, however, can create a range of styles with some oolongs with less oxidation that can taste like green tea, and others with lots of oxidation that can taste more like black tea. After
being tossed, the leaves are then gathered in a cloth and rolled under metal plates until they form tiny nuggets.
Black tea leaves are completely oxidized by processing them through metal rollers, which break up the leaves, stems and opens the veins (which is why black tea tends to be so tannic). After the leaves have fully oxidized for up to 18 hours, they go through hot-air heaters to cauterize the broken veins.
As a result, we do not grow tea plants in Minnesota. (I don't think they love our lakes or snow like we do).
Disclaimer: We are not associated with any local or oversea tea organization.
Staff at Great Tea Road Co