Types of Teas

So when we look at teas, we see white, green, black, pekoe, oolong, rooibos, and a plethora of other teas. So what is the difference between them all?

Tea is processed from the Camellia Sinensis bush.

White tea is from the new growth of leaves and buds where they are steamed or fried then dried and not oxidized, but minimally processed. It has a sweeter, more flowery note.

Green tea is steamed, pan-fried, or scalded then rolled and dried. More processing brings out more flavor and more caffeine. It has a more grassy, earthy flavor.

Oolong is oxidized for half the time as black tea, so it is only partially fermented. It also can be additionally bruised or shaken to release more flavors. It has flowery and earthy flavor. Darker oolong can taste more smoky or buttery. This is a traditional Chinese tea.

Black teas are fully oxidized or fermented then dried. It has more robust flavor and highest level of caffeine.

Rooibos tea comes from a different plant called the Aspalathus linearis. It is prepared like black tea but doesn’t have caffeine. It is also known as red tea, although there is also a green variety: the red is oxidized and the green is un-oxidized. This tea has a malty flavor.

Herbal teas, also known as tisanes, can be made of dried herbs, fruits, spices, flowers, steeped like tea but not containing tea itself.

Sooo: in short, white, green, black, and oolong come from the same plant.

Jody Victor® Wanted to Find Out About Panda Tea

Jody Victor® searched the internet to find out what “Panda” tea was. This is what Jody found:

It is an oolong tea called Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) and is from Wuyi China. In 2004, about 2/3 oz. sold for about $21,000 (about $200/cup today). The original Da Hong Pao tea trees and are over 350 years old. This tea was available by public auction only 3 times. Usually it is only available to top leaders. It is also known as the most expensive tea in the world.

President Nixon was given 50 grams in 1972 during a visit to China. He at first was insulted by such a small gift until someone told him that 50 grams was about 50% of all the Da Hong Pao tea harvested that year.

There are only 3 of the original trees left. Every year when the tea is harvested from these trees, a portion goes to the president of China and the rest goes to public auction.

There are now available genetic clones of the tea that come from trees made from cuttings of the original trees. This makes secondary Da Hong Pao tea more readily available at a more affordable price for consumers. Beware of sellers claiming that their tea is from the original trees. You most likely won’t be able to afford it.

So where do the pandas come in? Pandas don’t absorb much of the nutrients they eat (only about 30%) so the rest is evacuated. Their dung is used as a fertilizer for the tea leaves.

Jody Victor isn’t so sure he want to try this too soon!