TYPES of Tea … White, Yellow, and Green
For my Black Tea sensibilities, White, Yellow,
and Green Teas (despite diligent care in preparation)
simply have a very neutral, all-too-grassy taste
for which I just cannot seem to develop a taste.
Although failing miserably at appreciating
anything but Black Tea … I HAVE taken great care to try,
and what I AM able to do, is suggest what names of tea
to look for which will allow you a good quality sample
of a White, Yellow, or Green Tea.
What did not work for me, just might work for you.
WHITE TEA is tea that has been least oxidized
of all the types of tea. Best when aged,
White has the ‘weakest’ tea taste and yet,
is usually the most expensive.
For trying WHITE Tea, I suggest Bái mǔ dān
… or the more flavourful, Shòu méi
(which is second only to the more expensive
Bai hao yin zhen, or, Silver Needle).
For me, its “delicate” taste is
YELLOW TEA has a slightly higher level of oxidation.
Brew Yellow (as well as White) Tea in water
that is cooler than that of a rolling boil – about 85 degrees.
I simply could not develop any ‘taste’ from either White
or Yellow Tea – despite my genuine desire to realise one.
Photograph: This Japanese Green Tea
is flavoured with Sakura – cherries,
to give the wonderful taste of fresh cherries
to the tea.
Here, garnished with Rose petals, the Japanese varieties
being cultivated differently than the Chinese,
make for the only type of Green Tea that (for me)
offer some tea flavour.
Added equally (1 tsp and 1 tsp) to a
19th century-style Orange Pekoe (Black) tea
made for a very nice pot of tea indeed.
GREEN TEA comes from leaves that have been
cooked in large woks (or, in Japan, steam)
in order to limit oxidation.
Price – Quality – makes the difference between
a cup of horrible ‘cabbage broth’,
or a tea that is palatable. (And, try as I have,
I cannot escape the ‘grassy’ taste in even more
expensive ‘Greens’. Perhaps you will appreciate
what I cannot … Form your conclusion, though,
on Quality Green Tea.)
Keep in mind that Green Tea should be brewed
at a lower temperature (about 80 degrees).
OOLONG TEA is tea that is allowed to oxidize far more
than any of the previously mentioned varieties.
Brew Oolong tea at the 95 degree mark.
Look for the name “Alishan”.
PU’ERH TEA is a product of Yunnan province in China.
It is a fermented Green Tea … in which the fermentation
process continues as the Pu’Erh ages.
(For me, strictly personally – an all-too “earthy” taste.
As much as I wanted to, I just could not appreciate
this tea at all.)
There are two types of Pu’Erh:
‘Raw’ Pu’Erh ages for a much longer period of time than
‘Ripe’ Pu’Erh, which has had its fermentation process
By way of general explanation, the Pu’Erh tea-making process
follows (essentially) the following stages in which:
the leaves are Picked … and left to Wither.
They are then heated in a large wok over a wood fire
and sun-dried for several days
before being covered and left to ferment.
Pu’Erh leaves are sorted and separated
from any residual impurities.
Steamed and Pressed into cakes,
the Pu’Erh is then paper-wrapped for distribution.
As noted earlier, Raw Pu’Erh
will continue to age (and improve) after purchase.
Pu’Erh is considered to be
exceedingly beneficial to health.
It is definitely preferable to buy Pu’erh tea
that has been aged.
SERVING PU’ERH Tea [ Gong fu in Gaiwan ]
(Suggestion Only: Number 1 teapot or Gaiwan)
Separate Pu’Erh from the tea cake by breaking from the centre
of the cake, outwards. Maintain the shape of the cake:
do not break from the outer edge.
1. Warm the teapot using boiled water.
2. Pour off the water after 20 seconds:
Wash the Teapot, Wash the cups … leave for 10 seconds.
First Infusion (the rinse)
3. Use the chachi tool to add the Pu’Erh to the teapot or Gaiwan
… use approximately 5 grams for every 100ml.
4. Add just-boiled (not rolling boil) [ 95 degree + ] water
to the teapot: this will ‘rinse’ the tea leaves to ‘open’ them.
5. After 5 seconds – Pour off this first infusion ‘rinse’
into the teacups;
(note the colour of the liquid – light or dark
and mentally adjust second brew time accordingly:
less if darker; more if a lighter colour).
6. Discard this water from the teacups.
Second Infusion (for drinking):
7. Add water (just before rolling boil) to the teapot
8. Brew for 20 seconds – (may wish to increase according to
the colour of liquid previously noted and the taste desired –
Tea is a matter of personal taste: Experiment!).
9. Quickly dry outside of teacups (from previous rinse spills).
10. Pour from teapot, through a strainer, into a Gong dao (Fairness Pitcher) …
11. … and from pitcher into teacups.
12. Serve the tea … smell the aroma; savour the taste.
Benefit from the healthy attributes of Pu’Erh tea.
Third Infusion (second for drinking)
Add water (just before rolling boil) to the teapot
Brew for 15 seconds
Pour through strainer into the Gong dao …
… and from pitcher to teacups.
Whilst neither White, Yellow, or Green teas
suited my taste,
it may be that you will succeed where I did not.
To that end, I sincerely hope that the above
thoughts will be of some help, should you wish
to try these varieties of tea for yourself.