I seen an article about the different types of tea and I can say that I never knew all tea was the same leave just a different prep process. I drink a ton of tea and always thought that green was different from the regular brown and so on, and it’s cool as hell to see more info about something that I probably drink 3 gallons plus of a week. .
Young leaves or new growth buds that have undergone minimal oxidation through a slight amount of withering before halting the oxidation processes by being baked dry. Withering of the leaves can last from around one to three days depending on the season and temperature of the processing environment. The buds may be shielded from sunlight to prevent the formation of chlorophyll.
This tea has undergone the least amount of oxidation. The oxidation process is halted by the quick application of heat after tea picking, either with steam, the Japanese method, or by dry cooking in hot pans, the traditional Chinese method.
This tea’s oxidation is stopped somewhere between the standards for green tea and black tea. The processing typically takes two to three days from withering to drying with a relatively short oxidation period of several hours. Common wisdom about lightly oxidized teas in Taiwan is that too little oxidation upsets the stomach of some consumers.
The tea leaves are allowed to completely oxidize. Black tea is first withered to induce protein breakdown and reduce water content. The leaves then undergo a process known in the industry is “disruption” or “leaf maceration”, which through bruising or cutting disrupts leaf cell structures, releasing the leaf juices and enzymes that activate oxidation. The oxidation process takes between 45–90 minutes to 3 hours and is done at high humidity between 20-30 degrees Celsius, transforming much of the catechins of the leaves into complex tannin.
Teas that are allow to undergo a second oxidation after the fixation of the tea leaves, such as Pu-erh, Liu’an, and Liubao, are collectively referred to as secondary or post-fermentation teas in English.In Chinese they are categorized as Dark tea or black tea. This is not to be confused with the English term Black tea, known in Chinese as red tea. Pu-erh, also known as Póu léi (Polee) in Cantonese is the most common type of post-fermetation tea in the market.
This tea is processed in a similar manner to green tea, but instead of immediate drying after fixation, it is stacked, covered, and gently heated in a humid environment. This initiates oxidation in the chlorophyll of the leaves through non-enzymatic and non-microbial means, which results in a yellowish or greenish-yellow colour.