Since its discovery in southwest China thousands of years ago, the humble tea leaf has been transformed into an infinite richness of tea types from all corners of the world, influenced by growing conditions and local traditions and tastes.
The categories, or “colors,” of tea — green, white, oolong, black — arise from different processing techniques and oxidation, a natural process that dramatically alters the properties of the leaf. Think of how an apple gradually browns when bruised or cut open and exposed to the air.
Green teas have been consumed throughout Asia for thousands of years as much as a health tonic as for their energizing, revitalizing effects. Green tea lies at the start of the tea spectrum.
Straight off the bush, the leaves are heated by steaming or firing to lock in their bright, vegetal, green character. The result is an uplifting flavor profile, ranging from fresh and grassy, to toasty and nutty, to rich and savory.
When fresh tea leaves are left to wilt slightly just after harvest, the result is white tea, the simplest of all the tea crafting styles.
Infusions of white tea may be light in color but are certainly not light in terms of taste, with a flavor profile that can be fruity and succulent or herbaceous, smoky, or slightly spicy.
Though sometimes overlooked in favor of more well-known tea categories, oolong tea offers the most diversity of aroma and flavor. Painstakingly detailed crafting can last for days, requiring a demanding schedule of rolling, massaging, and firing to develop a particular oolong’s distinctive character.
The oolong spectrum ranges from fresh and floral “green” oolongs to ripe and fruity mid-range teas all the way to dark, resinous and spicy.
Black tea offers some of the deepest flavors on the tea spectrum, thanks to vigorous rolling and bruising to stimulate oxidation of the leaves. Similarly to how fruit turns brown when bruised, tea leaves also change color and flavor with such handling.
Black tea can start as ripe and fruity, progress to classic malty and robust flavors, and go all the way to spicy and resinous.
SCENTS & BLENDS
The practice of scenting tea is centuries old. During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), when processing of loose, whole-leaf tea first came into usage, makers experimented by adding flowers and fruits to both tea and tea cup to delight courtly drinkers.
At P & T, we draw our inspiration from the noble tradition, creating refined recipes from high-quality base teas and 100%-natural aromas of precious flowers, spices and essential oils.
Although “herbal tea” is a common term, strictly speaking, any brew not made from the camellia sinensis plant should be called a tisane or herbal infusion. For centuries, cultures around the world have been drinking infusions of herbs, flowers, and spices for their stimulating, soothing, or healing effects.
We pay homage to this immense wealth of flavors from Mother Nature with a range of fine herbals selected for their therapeutic merits and for caffeine-free enjoyment.
Source: Paper & Tea