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A Newbie’s Information to Tea: Half Two

We proceed our in-depth exploration of tea by oolong, black, fermented, and natural tea.


Cowl picture by Drew Jemmett through Unsplash

A number of weeks in the past, we launched half one of the ”A Newbie’s Information to Tea” sequence, the place we explored the place tea comes from and two of the primary kinds of tea: white and inexperienced. At present, we’re persevering with our dialogue by delving into the opposite fundamental kinds of tea: oolong, black, fermented, and natural.

A pile of oolong leaves. These leaves were rolled into tiny balls before being dried.
Oolong tea leaves are predominantly grown in China and Taiwan and harvested within the late spring to early summer time. Picture by Petr Sidorov through Unsplash.

Oolong Tea

Oolong is {a partially} oxidized or semi-oxidized tea, which implies that enzymes within the tea leaves are allowed to work together with oxygen, darkening the tea leaves and producing a stronger, earthier taste. Grown primarily in China and Taiwan, the tea leaves for oolong are harvested in late spring and early summer time. The leaves are then gently bruised, releasing the enzymes, and unfold out in direct daylight to dry. Through the drying course of, farmers will flip the leaves frequently to make sure that they’re evenly oxidized. After drying out within the solar, the leaves are pan-fired, bringing oxidation to a halt.

Oolong tea ranges in shade from mild yellow to darkish amber, with flavors starting from mild, candy, and floral to sturdy, smoky, and earthy. Mild oolong teas have an ethereal physique, whereas darker oolong teas have a thick mouthfeel.

Brewing Oolong Tea

To brew a 6-8-ounce cup of oolong tea, use about 1 teaspoon of tea leaves and water heated to about 175-200 levels Fahrenheit. Steep the tea leaves for as much as 5 minutes, relying on how sturdy you favor your tea.

Two clear glass cups of black tea rest on coasters made of unfinished wood sliced out of the limb of a tree. Bark is still visible around the edges.
Black tea is daring and earthy, and requires extra intensive manufacturing than the opposite kinds of teas. Picture by Akhilesh Sharma through Unsplash.

Black Tea

Out of all the fundamental kinds of tea, black tea requires a few of the most intensive manufacturing. After harvesting, tea leaves are withered in direct daylight, then processed utilizing both the CTC methodology (crush, tear, curl) or the orthodox methodology. With the CTC methodology, tea leaves are fed by machines that crush, tear, and curl them, leading to small brown pellets. As a result of the CTC methodology sometimes makes use of lower-quality leaves, it’s a standard alternative when producing tea baggage.

Excessive-quality black teas are sometimes produced utilizing the orthodox methodology, which is extra time-consuming and requires extra human labor. In orthodox processing, tea leaves are produced within the conventional manner—with plucking, withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying. This course of may be accomplished with machines or by hand and is rigorously overseen by educated tea professionals to make sure that the perfect flavors are extracted from the leaves.

When it comes to taste, black tea is daring and earthy, typically showcasing floral or nutty undertones and a savory, “umami” high quality with refined hints of sweetness.

Brewing Black Tea

Extra delicate teas are finest brewed with water that’s barely under boiling level. Black tea, nevertheless, is finest brewed with boiling water—the excessive temperatures draw out the sturdy flavors it’s recognized for. When brewing black tea, use about 1 teaspoon of tea leaves for each 6-8 ounces of water, and steep your tea for about 3-5 minutes.

Some fermented tea leaves spill from a decorative white jar with red interior onto the surface of a table.
Fermented tea is made out of tea leaves which have been aged over time.
Picture by Petr Sidorov through Unsplash.

Fermented Tea

Fermented tea is made out of aged tea leaves, and the commonest type of fermented tea is pu-erh. Whereas different teas endure oxidation, fermented teas endure fermentation (a course of additionally used when making beer, yogurt, and kombucha). Throughout fermentation, the tea leaves break down and decompose.

To provide fermented tea, tea leaves are harvested then dry-roasted, frivolously bruised by rolling and rubbing, and dried within the solar. To start the fermentation course of, the tea leaves are then positioned in a moist atmosphere for months and even years. Some teas are aged over a long time and go for as much as 1000’s of {dollars} a pound. Relying on how lengthy the tea was aged for, fermented tea exhibits nice depth and complexity in taste.  Fermented tea is usually woodsy and earthy with a full physique.

Brewing Fermented Tea

Historically, fermented tea leaves are rinsed with sizzling water earlier than brewing. For each 8 ounces of water, use about 1 teaspoon of tea leaves and water heated to about 195 levels Fahrenheit. Brew your tea for 2-4 minutes.

A person pours tea from a white teapot into a clear glass cup and saucer placed on a wooden tray.
”Natural tea” refers to tea that comes from crops exterior of the Camellia sinensis plant.
Pictured: Constellation Espresso’s ginger guava tea. Picture courtesy of Kevin Kim.

Natural Tea

No tea information can be full with out together with natural tea. “Natural tea” refers to any water-based infusion made out of crops that aren’t the Camellia sinensis plant. One other widespread identify for natural tea is “tisane.“ Common natural teas are made out of flowers like lavender or chamomile, herbs like peppermint or calendula, and spices like cinnamon or cinnamon. Natural teas are typically caffeine-free, and each gives distinctive flavors and therapeutic advantages.

Brewing Natural Tea

When brewing natural tea, about 1 teaspoon of herbs/flowers ought to be used for each 6-8 ounces of water. Water temperature and steeping time will range relying on the kind of herbs used, however most ought to be steeped for a minimum of 5 minutes. Do a little analysis to search out the perfect brewing strategies for the actual tisane you’re consuming.


Based mostly in Los Angeles, Emily Pleasure Meneses (she/her) is a author and musician obsessed with tradition and collective care. You possibly can frequently discover her at Echo Park Lake, consuming a cortado and journaling about astrology, artwork, Animal Crossing, and her desires. Discover her poetry, brief tales, and soundscapes on her web site.


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