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Vincent and I went to visit a tea factory in Darjeeling. We could not understand the explanations of the guy regarding the different kind of teas. You might look dumb if you go to Darjeeling and you are not able to answer any question regarding tea… So I decided to make some research!

 Some facts


India is the first producer of tea, and mostly black tea. The country also produces semi-fermented tea, green and white, but very less. China, second producer, is the only country to produce all kinds of tea.


According to Darjeeling Planters Association, "Darjeeling Tea is the World’s most expensive and exotically flavoured tea. Connoisseurs will assert that without Darjeeling, Tea would be like Wine without the prestige of Champagne". India alleges that Darjeeling produces only 10 million kgs tea but about 40 million kgs of 'Darjeeling tea' is available in the world market every year.




Thanks to the different manufacturing techniques, even if all the teas come from the same bush, the camelia sinensis (of Chinese origin), there are hundreds of different kinds of teas.


1st step: picking the 3 leaves on top – by hand for good quality tea.

2nd step: spreading the leaves till they wither.

3rd step: rolling the leaves, process almost always mechanical nowadays.

4th step: oxidation.

5th step: heating, to stop the oxidation.


To make it simple:


Sorts of teas



Leaves are put to dry naturally


Leaves are heated at high temperature without oxidation nor fermentation


Fermented and then heated at high temperature (very important oxidation)


The different teas


Black teas have gone through enzymatic fermentation, which gives it its colour and taste. It can be kept for several years without losing its savour.


The main difference between green tea and black tea is that green tea is non fermented and thus rich in tannins (antioxidant substance). Green tea is also rich in caffeine, theine and vitamin C.


White teas are non-fermented teas or properly speaking, non-oxidized teas. Only the first buds still closed are plucked, withered to allow the humidity to evaporate and then the tea is air dried. White teas like Yin Zhen (Silver needles or silver tips) are only plucked at dawn, only at the beginning of spring, during one or two days and only if the weather is optimum. This is the type of tea going through the least processing and therefore keeps the highest quantity of polyphenols, flavanols and other elements. Usually white teas require a temperature of 70-75° C/158-167° F and a quite long steeping time of about 15 minutes. They are smooth and refreshing and give a light yellow crystalline infusion.

Sources : ; ; ;

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