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Oolong Tea

Probably one of the most complex and difficult types of tea to produce is Oolong. Oolong is a semi-oxidized tea produced primarily in China and Taiwan. Oxidation ranges from as little as 10% (near green tea) to as much as 80% (near black tea) giving Oolong the widest variety in style, taste and appearance. The Tea Master uses the aroma of the leaves during oxidation and knowledge of the growing region soil, climate and elevation to develop the desired flavor profile and final leaf shape. Oolong flavors vary from earthy and smoky to floral and fruity. Their color can range from a light green to a dark brown. The image below shows the variety in styles. Many seasoned tea drinkers...

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Black Tea

Probably the most widely known type of tea in the United States is black tea. It’s on every grocery store shelf and in most restaurants. Black tea, also from the Camellia Sinesis plant, is plucked, rolled and allowed to wither. Rolling is either done manually by hand rolling or with large rolling machines. The leaves are then spread out on trays, racks or raised cool concrete slabs and allowed to rest. During this resting period, the leaves begin to oxidize and turn a dark brown. Once the leaves are fully oxidized, they are run through a final drying process and packaged for sale. Even though all black teas come from the same plant and follow the same processing steps, not...

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Green Tea

How do fresh tea leaves become green tea? The important step in producing green tea is preventing oxidation. This is done by applying one of two methods – the Japanese method or the Chinese method. The Japanese method applies steam to the fresh picked leaves. This halts the oxidation and begins to develop flavors that are often described as grassy, umami, or vegetal. This produces a bright evergreen green leaf. In the Chinese method, the leaves first go through a short withering period before a pan firing. At the end of this step, the leaves range in color from a greenish yellow to a deep green. The flavors developed using the Chinese method are often described as floral, smooth, slightly...

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One plant, many tea's

How do the leaves of one plant (Camellia Sinensis) become 6 different types of tea? The secret is in the process. After tea leaves are plucked, they are allowed to wither. This step removes some initial moisture. Oxidation follows when the fresh leaves are exposed to air. Just like an apple slice, the tea begins to turn brown. The level of oxidation determines the type of tea. For example, black teas are 100% oxidized while green teas are not oxidized. The oxidization process helps develop the tea's aroma, color, and flavor.

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