I’ve spent this year traveling for an education to become a Certified Tea Specialist, CTS, with the Specialty Tea Institute in New York City! They are also affiliated with the Tea Association of US with over 100+ years of the tea industry and the president of both was Lipton’s tea taster for over 35 years. The information provided on this site is part of the education I am receiving and I will share with you! July 28th of this year, I will be heading to Sri Lanka for a visit to many of the tea gardens that are found on this beautiful island, once known as Ceylon.
There are 5 basics types of tea but more are being recognized every year. But for purposes of this blog, the 5 basic types of tea are: white, green, oolong, black and dark which are all made from the Camellia sinensis plant. In the clinical sense, the definition of tea is “a simple beverage of LEAF and water”. In the classical sense, the definition of tea is ” the leaf of the Camellia sinensis plant”. Rooibos (pronounced ROY-BOSS) is a different leaf from other than the Camellia sinensis plant (the Redbush plant) but nonetheless, a leaf of the said plant so I believe this should be categorized as a tea as well; not an herbal, not an infusion! The South African customers that I have had are incensed that their tea, which is used for many purposes including given to colicky babies, is considered something other than a tea in the United States. This topic will be saved for a future post!
There are 5 traditional countries of origin of specialty tea: China, Japan, India, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. China is considered the home of tea and in on sense is the country of origin for all teas. White, green, oolong, black and dark teas are all the same leaf from the same plant but the oxidation requirements for each type is what makes them all different. Oolongs are the most difficult as they require a baking at the end of the oxidation process.
Later this week, I will break down the five teas and their components! Stay tuned!