3 Reasons Tea Differ. - Teaspoon Tea Co

3 Reasons Tea Differ.

Jul 08, 2024Pamela Merryweather

All teas come from the same plant ‘Camellia Sinensis’ so why does every tea taste different and why are there so many types?

It all depends on where it is grown, how it is processed and when and where it is picked. In this blog, we will explore each way tea differs from one another.

1. Location

Tea typically grows in warmer more tropical climates, there are two variants of the tea plant;

  • 'Camellia Sinensis' which mostly grows in cooler climates with typical seasons and produces a smaller leaf. It is usually used to produce green, oolong and white teas as the seasons produce a fragrant flavour and the leaves are less suited for the longer process to produce black teas.
  • The other variant is 'Camellia Sinensis Assamica' which is grown in a warmer climate with more rainfall, the leaves are large and more resilient making them perfect for use in black teas.

As the climate is unique to each place different flavours are produced in each region of tea product. Different teas are usually named after the region them come from such as Darjeeling and Yunnan. Darjeeling being a place in northeastern India and Yunnan being a Province in China.

Throughout the history of tea, it has travelled throughout the world starting in eastern Asia in countries such as China and Japan, then it moved to countries such as India and the African countries such as Kenya.

2. Production

Teas are categorised in types such as Black, Green, White and Oolong tea. So how does a tea become a certain type if they all come from one plant? It all comes down to how it is processed, Black teas being the most processed and White teas being the least.

The tea goes through four main processes: Withering, Rolling, Oxidising and Drying.    

  •  Withering refers to when the tea is initially plucked from the plant and starts withering, each tea goes through this stage for different amounts of time with white tea in this stage the longest and green tea the least.
  • Rolling creates the shape of the leaves when brewed and the tea will either roll, twist or curl.
  • The oxidising process refers to the tea being exposed to the air for it to react, Black teas are oxidised the longest under controlled temperature and humidity and green teas are oxidised the least and white teas aren’t oxidised at all.
  • Drying is used to stop the oxidisation process and preserves the flavour green teas are dried several times to reduce oxidisation.

These processes create the differences in taste and flavour and the colour of the drink at the end.  Want to know more about the processing methods of tea? Then read this blog post

3. Grading

Grading refers to the different sizes and conditions of the leaves. It can refer to the place it is plucked on the plant and if it is part of the leaf or the full leaf. Most teabag teas use a dust tea grading due to its small fine shape so it can fit in a teabag but loose leaf tea uses the full range of tea grading. The largest tea grade is orange pekoe which is whole leaves, and the grades decrease in size until it gets to the smallest that is dust. There is a separate set of grades which refers to how the leaf has been broken down called Broken orange pekoe where the leaf has been teared or cut.

The world of tea stretches across the glode and ultimately effects the way tea tastes from its location, processing and grading. When your next looking at your favourite tea, look out for its origin and leaf grade.



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