…until I started this blog.
1. The varieties of tea refer to how the tea was produced rather than the colour of the leaf/type of plant
I’m not sure why I laboured under this misapprehension for so long but I had no idea, before getting really interested in tea, that it was primarily the processes that the tea goes through, that produces the different varieties. Green, White and Yellow teas go through less processing than Black, Oolong and Pu-er varieties. Linda Gaylard’s beautifully informative The Tea Book describes the various processes to include:
Who knew that the humble cup of tea went through so much to bring such pleasure to millions?!
2. The quality of the water has an impact on the final brew
I don’t think I would be generalising too much if I said that every tea novice has probably at some point or another used water straight from the tap, boiled in a kettle that was probably worse for wear. It wasn’t until I started this blog and reading a number of other tea blogs or articles online, that I discovered how much of an impact the quality of water has on the final brew. It should be obvious really, given that tea is mostly water!
3. ‘Fruit & herbal teas’ are not technically teas, but ’tisanes’
This one is a biggie for me as I have to train myself to accept that my beloved camomile tea is anything but. Tisanes use different parts of plants to create infusions with various therapeutic properties. Barks,flowers, seeds, roots and leaves can be combined in differing quantities for different purposes.
The most shocking revelation for me is that technically, Rooibos/ Redbush isn’t a tea in the strict sense, but a tisane! The leaves may be put through similar processes as the Camellia plant so that there are a number of varieties of Rooibos in itself, though it is often used as a caffeine-free alternative to black tea.
4. All tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant
As per point 1, I had no idea that essentially, tea comes from the same plant. Albeit there are different varieties of that plant, depending on the climate in which it is grown, now particular varieties of this are grown exclusively to produce specific types of tea.
5. What a tea sommelier does
If you aren’t sure what a tea sommelier is or what they do, you can always read my interview with Linda Gaylard, in which she talks about her life as a sommelier and what that involves. Before this blog (and actually that article!) I had no more knowledge than they were a ‘tea expert’.
I’ve never heard of Yellow tea before!
Can anyone enlighten me?