The most exotic teas in the world, White Teas are the rarest of rare teas. The young fine shoots are hand-picked at the beginning of the season with the fine silver doves still attached to it. The complex light flavored tea leaves come from Fujian province in China, Darjeeling in India and some parts of Sri Lanka.
Green Teas are fresh tea leaves with very little processing. They do not undergo the oxidation process. The leaves, after being plucked, are allowed to wither for a few hours. They are then steamed or panned to remove the moisture and trap the antioxidants within the leaves.
The flavors of the green tea changes from region to region; with more grassy-flavored green teas coming from Japan, peachy and chocolaty teas from China and gunpowder flavors coming from Taiwan.
A piece of art, tradition and craftsmanship is seen in a cup of Oolong tea. Oolong tea is oxidized tea and only an expert will know how to extract the right flavor and how much to oxide it. The tea leaves, which may be oxidized from 20% to 80%, are repeatedly rubbed to generate the correct texture and flavor. From soft floral flavors to nutty, toasty flavors, Oolong tea flavors vary depending upon the level of oxidation.
The most commonly consumed tea in the world, Black Tea is created when tea leaves are exposed to hot air for several hours after being plucked. This process helps reduce the water content of the tea by 50% to 60%. The leaves are then rolled, either by hand or mechanically, to allow essential oils to spread and impregnate the buds. The leaves are then passed through a screen and the smallest leaves go on to the next stage whereas the bigger leaves are rolled again. These are then dried in an oven to stop the oxidation process. The end result is a full-bodied tea, treasured by tea lovers across the world.
Pu erh Tea:
This slightly moist tea is piled and aged in underground rooms or caves, giving it an exceptional flavor. It is a full-bodied tea with a dark rich liquor and distinctively earthy flavor. The best part about Pu erh is that, like wine, it only gets better with time.
This is a tisane that is grown exclusively in South Africa. It was discovered over a 100 years ago when the residents of Cederberg area (near Cape Town) realized that the fine needle-like leaves of a mountain bush could be used to make a refreshing hot drink. The fresh tea leaves are bruised, fermented in heaps, sun-dried and sifted to give you a unique naturally caffeine-free brew.
Infused with a wild Argentinian shrub, mate tea comes from the land of South America. The word ‘mate’ means bitter and was used by the people who colonized the region of the Río de la Plata to describe the natives' rough and sour drink. It is usually had with no other ingredient to soften the bitter taste. These caffeine rich leaves sourced from the yerba mate bushes in South America, are quite popular in Syria and Lebanon.