Getting sorted

I was setting up the categories for this tea blog and it got me thinking about the neatness of the tea classes. There are six classes or categories of tea (green, white, yellow, oolong, black and pu-erh) and I still find it fascinating (and handy now) that each of the thousands of different teas that are out there can fit into one of those six categories. Better again, all tea comes from the leaves of a single species of plant: Camellia sinensis.

Camellia sinensis

Camellia sinensis

Here are the categories that I have for the blog so far:

  • Tea:
    1. Black – almost fully-oxidised and mostly produced in India (Assam and Darjeeling), Kenya, Sri Lanka and China. E.g. Keemun, Zhenshan Xiaochung (lapsang souchong).
    2. Green – teas such as sencha, Matcha, Gunpowder, Longjing, Taiping Houkui that have had minimal oxidation and kept the green color of the leaves. Predominantly from China, Japan and Korea.
    3. Oolong – partially oxidised and complicated in production, this type includes Da Hong Pao (red robe) and Tieguanyin. Produced in China and Taiwan.
    4. Pu-erh – post-fermented tea from China and called ‘black tea’ in China. Comes as sheng (raw) or shou (cooked). My favourite!
    5. White – made from the buds of the Camellia sinensis and very lightly processed it includes bai mudan (white peony) and Baiho Yinzhen (silver needles).
    6. Yellow – these teas are not easy to find here so this category won’t be used too much to start with but it didn’t seem right to leave it out.
  • Buying tea & storage: looking at where to get good tea and how to store it or age it.
  • Tisanes: This will cover all the herbal drinks that are sometimes referred to as tea but are herbal infusions or herbal teas. This covers peppermint, chamomile, ginger, fennel etc.
  • Rooibos & Honeybush: Technically these are tisanes but they get their own category because I love them so much!
  • Out and About: This is where I post about going for afternoon tea or lunch to see what the tea is like out there.

I’m sure there are plenty more categories that I’ll need to add as I go along but theses will do for a starting point.

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4 Responses to Getting sorted

  1. Katharina says:

    Very interesting! I’ve tasted green and of course black tea, and I only heard of white tea. You made me very eager to look for and try all the other types, especially yellow tea as it is so rare 🙂 Is it possible to get it (yellow tea) in a shop or would I have to order it from a place far far away? Where do you get your yellow tea from? And what does it taste like?

    • admin says:

      Well hello there. You are the very first person to comment! Horray – I’m not just talking to myself. Unflavoured Yellow tea is difficult to find in Western countries. I’ve never found it here in Ireland at all. Usually when there is a list of teas it will be White/Yellow as the category name but only White teas listed. Most Yellow teas are made from bud (like White) but it actually looks more like a Green tea. I don’t know if it ever happens to you but some people find Green tea very harsh on their stomachs. Yellow tea is much gentler and delicate stomachs tolerate it well. The three classic Yellow teas were Meng Ding Huang Ya, Huo Shan Huang Ya and Jun Shan Yin Zhen. Of these three, Huo Shan Huang Ya is now produced as a green tea for economic reasons I think (yellow tea is costly and time consuming to produce). So you can see it’s a rare tea and that makes it an expensive tea. You need to be careful of fakes, which makes buying online difficult but I’ve used this site and reckon it can be trusted.
      If you haven’t tasted Oolongs and Pu-erhs you are in for such a treat. There are plenty of Pu-erhs in particular, that are beautiful and rare but these categories are wider so you can get started much more easily ☺.

      • Katharina says:

        This is all very interesting, I have to admit. I wouldn’t go out of my way to look for this kind of information by myself, but I’m quite excited about learning about all this 🙂
        I haven’t tasted Oolongs and Pu-erhs, unless I have unknowingly. I will look around for them. Would you let me know what kind of shops sell these? I don’t think they are available in supermarkets? Do they come in a teabag or will I be getting loose tea?

        • admin says:

          Hi there! As I post about the various teas, I’ll let you know where I got them and how much they cost. I get mine from tea-houses in cities that I visit (or that my family/friends visit!) and online. Supermarkets have the benefit of being readily accessible and convenient but the range of teas and quality tends to be limited and there isn’t the same opportunity to smell or taste before buying! Most cities have a tea-shop or tea-house that will sell loose-leaf tea. A visit to one of these will give you an opportunity to see and smell teas from all the different categories. Some tea-houses will even let you taste. The range, quality and price can vary significantly but I will write a post soon on what to look out for. The Internet also has a huge range in terms of quality and range and the great thing about tea is that it is light and easily transported. I find the Internet great when I want a specific type of tea. Again, if I write about a tea I’ve bought on the Internet I’ll let you know where I’ve bought it.