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How many types of tea are there?

  • Categories:Tea knowledge
  • Time of issue:2022-01-20 18:54:14
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While all true tea begins as Camellia sinensis, there are six main types or categories of tea. Each type is determined by the level of oxidation, or enzymatic change, the leaves undergo after they are harvested. The five types, in order of least to most oxidized leaves, are:


Green Tea

Application of heat—dry heat such as pan-firing or baking, or wet steam heat—de-enzymes the leaves and fixed them in a green state.


Yellow Tea

Leaves are heated gently then covered and left to swelter over a short period of time.



White Tea

Freshly harvested leaves are left to wither and naturally begin to oxide. Leaves retain some original green color, but also undergo some enzymatic change.



Oolong Tea

Leaves undergo repeated rolling and shaping to break down some their cellular structures and encourage oxidation. Leaves retain some green color.



Black Tea

Full, rigorous rolling breaks down the cell walls in each leaf so full oxidation may occur.



Pu-erh Tea

There are several styles of pu-erh, each requiring the leaves to sit for an extended amount of time so natural fermentation and oxidation may occur. This process is similar to that of other traditionally fermented foods such as kimchi or sauerkraut.


In all types of tea production, once the desired degree of oxidation has been reached, the tea leaves are fired at high temperatures to remove any remaining moisture and stabilize them for transport and storage.


For more information on tea types, see our Master Tea List.

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