Tea is considered the most consumed beverage in the world behind water, however 78% of the tea consumed worldwide is black and only about 20% is green. The level of oxidation of the leaves determines the type of tea.
Three main types of tea can be produced based on oxidation of the leaves which depends on how the leaves of Camellia sinensis are processed: Green tea (non-fermented), Oolong tea (partly fermented), and Black tea (fermented).
Black Tea is more oxidized than green tea. The black tea making process involve an additional step of aeration of the cut, withering leaves for several hours which oxidases the flavonoids as well as darkening the leaves’ color.
Brew prepared from Black tea has a dark brown color and a sweet aroma. It has stronger flavor than Green and Oolong tea. Black tea without sweeteners or additives contains negligible quantities of calories, protein, sodium and fat. Tea contributes significantly to fluid balance which is vital for physical and mental health.
Green tea is the most popular form of tea in China. Chinese green teas are made from over 600 different cultivars of the Camellia sinensis plant, giving plenty of variety and regional teas. It is made from un-oxidized leaves and is one of the less processed types of tea (with white tea the least) and therefore contains one of the most antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols.
The taste of oolong varies widely among different sub varieties. It can be sweet and fruity with honey aromas, or woody and thick with roasted aromas, or green and fresh with bouquet aromas, all depending on the horticulture and style of production. Different varieties of oolong are processed differently, but the leaves are formed into one of two distinct styles. Some are rolled into long curly leaves, while others are ‘wrap-curled’ into small beads, each with a tail. The former style is the more traditional of the two in China.