If there’s any hot beverage that rivals coffee in popularity, it’s freshly brewed tea. This is for a plethora of reasons, including its taste, aroma, and natural supply of vitamins. However, just like coffee, tea comes in a wide range of forms. And each one provides its own specific benefits and characteristics. So, if you’re just starting in the world of tea, you should know what kinds there are to work with. This simple guide to loose leaf tea varieties will define the different blends.

Main Tea Varieties

Though tea leaves can take on many different forms, one of the first things to understand is that all core types of tea come from the same plant. The Camellia sinensis plant is a species of flowering shrub that people harvest to create the teas we all know and love. By processing this plant in several different ways, tea makers get the varying kinds of tea and draw out new and distinct flavors. Here’s more information about these types specifically.

Black Tea

Black tea has one of the longest processing stages. Upon harvesting, the leaves undergo a drying and rolling process. Then they sit for several days to fully oxidize. This draws out the enzymes, vitamins, and flavors in the leaves, giving it one of the strongest tasting blends on the market.

Green Tea

Green teas are a little lighter, with a fresher taste resembling grass or seaweed. Rather than putting the leaves through the oxidization process, green tea leaves undergo heat treatment to kill off the enzyme responsible for the aging. This makes the drink a more delicate alternative while maintaining much of the nutritional value.

White Tea

White teas, conversely, experience the least amount of oxidization. Only younger, freshly harvested Camellia sinensis buds make up this variety. They undergo drying right away to prevent aging. As a result, white tea offers a lighter, refreshing, and subtle flavor.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea has the largest number of different flavors and aromas. It has semi-oxidized leaves that can have a range of characteristics depending on the batch. So you’re likely to experience anything from a rich bitterness to toasty, earthy notes.

Sub-Varieties of Tea

It’s important to note that not all forms of tea come from Camellia sinensis. In fact, as the popularity of this beverage grows, new sub-categories of tea are taking their places on store shelves. Many popular blends include herbal or floral bases that have vibrant flavors. Some of these options include hibiscus and pu-erh teas.

As we’ve mentioned in this simple guide to loose leaf tea varieties, there are many kinds of teas to try from all over the world. So we at Minnekahta Coffee have dedicated ourselves to providing our customers with a diverse selection. Our stock of premium loose tea contains several of the types described above, as well as unique blends with flavor combinations you’ll love to try. Check out our Tea Shop today to broaden your horizons and try something new.

Written by William Hauge

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