How Many Kinds of Tea Are There?

There are many names for different teas, but there are really only three different kinds of tea. Black tea, the kind we usually drink in America, is fermented and roasted before it’s packaged.

Green tea, enjoyed by the Japanese, is steamed but not roasted, and it’s not fermented. A third kind of tea, oolong tea, is partially fermented, then roasted to give it greenish-brown color.

Terms such as orange pekoe and souchong don’t refer to different kinds of tea, but to the size and appearance of the leaves that are used to make that tea. Orange pekoe, for instance, is made from the buds and the finest leaves of the tea plant. Souchong is made from smaller pieces of tea leaves.

There are more than 2,000 different blends of tea!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “How Many Kinds of Tea Are There?”

  1. Though they say the tea leaves ferment, they really oxidise. In China they claim to know 6 kinds of tea. Green tee is mostly roasted too avoid the oxidation, all Indian and Chinese green tees are roasted, it’s just in Japan that they steam it. White is between green and oolong – leaves are let to dry in the sun before they are roasted. (so they oxidise a bit). Then there is a little know yellow tee, which is even between white and oolong, where they leave damp leaves to oxidise a bit, before they are roasted. In oolong tea, the important part of the process is to roll the batches of leaves by hand to breal some of the stems and to release a bit of essetial oil. In the black teas, the essential oils are crucial to the process and are let to develop the typical taste before the leaves are also rosted. Then there is the sixth variant – the dark tee, mostly known by one representative – Pu Erh. Pu Erh is first made as a green tea, then it is put in the barrels to ferment in the true sense of the word – in the way soy beans ferment to make a soy sauce.

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