Green, yellow, black or white — all come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but it’s how they’re harvested and processed that make each tea taste different.
White tea is composed of silvery buds, making a pale yellow brew. Delicate and subtle, it has maple, citrus or floral notes.
Green tea is air-dried and then cooked. Chinese green tea is more mature than white and has a fuller flavour, reminiscent of vegetables or honey. Milled into a fine powder called matcha, Japanese versions create a greener “liquor” (what tea pros call brewed tea).
Oolong tea can be any colour from yellow to orange to green, and gives off a floral or fruity aroma.
Yellow tea is aromatic, sweet and astringent. Made in small amounts, it’s rare in North America and very expensive.
Black tea is dark and fragrant — a British staple that can range from pucker inducing to a hint of honey, fruit or malt.
Herbal tea is a popular tea alternative, made not from the tea plant but rather a mix of fresh or dried flowers, seeds, leaves or roots. So if you crave a cup of chamomile or soothing mint to unwind, we won’t judge!
Did you know
Optimal water temperature and infusion time depend on the tea type — generally, the darker the tea, the hotter the water needed and the longer the infusion time.
Here’s how to brew the perfect cuppa in three easy steps.
• Bring fresh, cold spring or filtered water to a rolling boil; let cool 2 minutes. White and green teas should be brewed at 160°F to 190F to preserve their delicate flavours; black tea tastes best at 205°F.
• Warm a ceramic or glass teapot with a swish of boiling water.
• Place tea leaves or bag in teapot; pour in water and steep as desired (1 to 3 minutes for green tea; up to 5 minutes for black). Remove leaves or bag to avoid overinfusing.
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