It is amazing to think there are over 3,000 varieties of tea in the world but they all come from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis. There are many things that influence how a particular tea tastes including where it is grown, the variety of plant, how it is processed, the time of harvest and the part of the plant that is harvested. Plymouth Tea is made using only the bud and the first two leaves, which are picked by hand.
The major types of tea are: White, Green, Oolong, Black, and Pu-erh.
White tea is the most prized and the least processed of all teas. It comes from the delicate, immature buds and leaves of the first flush or the first picking of the tea. It is allowed to wither slowly indoors in a cool dark room. After withering for 12-24 hours, depending on weather, the tea is dried either outside or with the assistance of a heater. This processing retains the antioxidants and results in the lowest caffeine level of the leaf teas. White tea has a very mild taste that can be somewhat floral. The leaves and buds are very silvery in colour and produce a pale infusion.
Green tea can be produced from any picking. Unlike white tea, the leaves may be twisted, rolled, or otherwise shaped during processing. They are also either roasted or steamed to dry them and stop them from oxidizing. There are a wide range of flavours and appearances with green tea. Plymouth Tea’s green tea has a smooth, fresh and invigorating taste with a slightly floral character – it tastes bright and alive offering the experience of drinking the essence of spring. Green tea is great as part of a detox diet or simply as part of your daily routine.
Oolong tea is more processed than green tea. It is semi-oxidized and uses a chemical reaction before the tea is dried. Tea leaves contain enzymes inside them and when they are bruised, broken or crushed, the enzymes are exposed to the air resulting in oxidation. The colour of the leaf will darken and the flavour will become stronger. They are capable of holding very complex, layered tastes and are excellent on their own.
Black tea is the mainstay of the Plymouth Tea range. Available in both loose leaf and tea bags, black tea differs in that it is fully oxidized. After the oxidation is complete, the tea is fired to dry it and to prevent it from going bad. Black teas tend to have the highest caffeine content, although decaffeinated tea is available. Black teas are usually stronger and earthier. Some black teas are smoked. Many black teas, such as our signature blends, are designed to be flavoured or served with milk and sugar. Our Earl Grey tea is flavoured with oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange. The colour of the leaves is very dark brown to black and the colour of the brew is a red-brown colour.
Pu-erh tea is cultured after it has been fully oxidized. The taste is strong, earthy, and can be a bit musky. It is designed to be served on its own and is considered to be the tea for connoisseur.