Two Leaves and a bud gives you a quick presentation of the different types of tea you can find:
Black Tea: When most Americans think of tea, this comes to mind. Black tea is the most common variety, an everyday leaf found in teas from Earl Grey and Assam to the that comes bagged in a box of Lipton or CainÃs. Black tea is fully dried and oxidized through a process that removes all chlorophyll. Then itÃs roasted to give it its signature dark color and rich brew.
Green Tea: If you think it tastes more earthy, youÃre right. In general, green tea is minimally heated and simply dried, giving it its grassy, organic flavor. Its light flavor lends itself well to the numerous flavored blends seen on store shelves and in popular cold beverages. No doubt, its growing popularity has to do with claims that it has numerous health benefits.
Oolong: Generally speaking, oolong tea might be thought of as something between black and green. What makes it so special is that it is heated when most of its leaves are still green, but a portion of them have turned red. Rubbed to release the flavor and then dried, oolong is considered by some to be the perfect tea.
White Tea: A rare and pure tea, white tea leaves are the least processed without undergoing any oxidation. Some tea drinkers find it boring and lacking flavor, but superior varieties have nuances of sweetness and floral notes.
Herbal Tea: Herbal tea can contain any combination of black, green, white or oolong tea with spices and herbs added Ã³ cinnamon to sassafras and lemon balm to licorice root Ã³ to create a distinct flavor. Sometimes, herbal tea is referred to as Ã¬tisanesÃ® and can include flowers, seeds and other organic derivatives.
Yerba matÃˆ: Straight from subtropical South America, yerba matÃˆ (pronounced like Ã¬latteÃ®) is beginning to make its way into the United States with its robust, earthy flavor. Rivaling co8ee for its stimulant qualities, matÃˆ is harvested from a small shrub-like tree native to such countries as Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, where drinking the hot beverage from gourds is a staple.
Pu-erh: A tea from the Yunnan province in China, pu-erh teas are aged moist and then dried loose or compressed into shapes, such as cakes, disks or bricks. They come in either green, black or white varieties and are considered to have medicinal qualities to lower cholesterol and boost metabolism.
Rooibos: You may have seen this one on the specialty tea shop shelves as Ã¬red bush tea,Ã® but thereÃs no doubt that the rooibos shrub has characteristics as distinct as the South African soil it comes from. When the leaves are oxidized, they change to a reddish- brown color. The flavor released is smooth and slightly sweet without the help of sugar.
Chai: Much of the tea-drinking world calls tea by another name Ã³ Ã¬chai.Ã® So when youÃre ordering a chai tea latte from any of the numerous coffee houses offering it, youÃre actually getting a blend of black or green tea, milk and the signature spices that made this a popular variety in India. Can you taste the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and peppercorn?
Extract from the Tulsa World.