4 Main Types of Tea

Tea is usually divided into four main types, three of which depend on the degree of oxidation. The four main varieties are green tea, oolong tea, black tea and white tea. Each variety comes from the tea plant or Camellia Sinensis Black tea is historically the most common in the western world, but green tea is rapidly gaining popularity.

Green Tea

Popular varieties of green tea are gunpowder, matcha, genmaicha and Sencha green teas. Sencha green tea is the most popular tea in Japan and is usually consumed in the form of loose leaves with a relatively mild taste and strong green color. Compared to other green tea varieties, Sencha contains the largest amount of the polyphenols, a healthy compound found in tea.

Also originating in Japan, matcha tea is made by grinding green tea leaves into a fine powder before adding hot water. 


With Oolong tea the oxidation period is shorter compared to black tea and longer compared to green tea. The oxidation process is discontinued as soon as the leaves give off a fruity fragrance (note that the degree of oxidation in oolong teas varies considerably depending on the species). One way to think about oolong tea is as in between green tea and black tea. Oolong teas are mainly produced in southern China and Taiwan from a special variety of the Chinese plant. The liqueur has a light yellow or yellow color such as green tea and a unique fruity, malty or smoky taste. 

Oolong tea is partially oxidized. During this process, the leaves can be rolled into balls, rotated or otherwise formed. Many oolongs are roasted after oxidation to further develop their aromas and flavors. However, there are additional processing techniques, such as rolls and shape, that further differentiate Oolong from black tea and green tea. 

Oolong tea means black dragon in Chinese and is one of the most diverse teas due to the variety of ways it can be processed. AnXi oolong tea is usually rolled into a tightly squeezed ball and is usually the least oxidized of the oolongs. Tieguanyin or Iron Goddess oolong is one of the most popular oolongs in China originating from the AnXi province.

Black Tea

Black tea is completely oxidized and has a darker appearance, stronger flavor and higher caffeine content than other teas. While tea leaves are heated almost immediately in the production of green tea, black tea leaves are first dried in the sun. Once dried to the right amount, the leaves are then rolled to break their cells, causing the leaves to oxidize faster when exposed to oxygen.

The caffeine content of black tea accounts for about half the coffee content. Often, black teas can be consumed with sugar, milk or lemon and offer the same health benefits as other teas. 

Black tea is by far the most commonly produced type of tea, especially in the west. Usually made from the Assam variety of the tea plant, black tea became popular in the UK by way of India. The pasted leaf has a bright red or copper color, and the liqueur is bright red and slightly astringent, but not bitter and carries the characteristic aroma of tea. 

White Tea

White tea, like black and green tea, is extracted from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis. The Camellia Sinensis variety and white tea production process are the main reasons why white tea is rich in antioxidants. White tea is also more expensive because it can only be harvested in early spring and within a few days. 

White tea has floral-fruity shades that add a natural sweetness that can be played by adding a slice of lemon or honey. In appearance, it is pale yellow tea, although some varieties may also have a bit of green. White tea is one of the milder teas when it comes to taste. For this reason, white tea is generally a good choice for all tea drinkers.

Of the five different teas white tea is the least processed. White tea is made from the most delicate and freshest buds and leaves. Production follows a delicate process of wilting, hardening and drying, creating delicate aromas of white tea, a delicate mouth feel and a subtle fruity or sweet finish. White teas usually have less bitterness than other teas and can highly affected water temperature and infusion time more so than green teas. Most white teas are brewed best at a water temperature of 85 ° C.