Buying Guide

How To Choose Your Chinese Tea

There are many different types of teas to choose from that are offered on the market today. Some consumers purchase tea based solely on it's flavor profile, while others are searching for some kind of healing property that will either improve  their health or help a certain ailment. When buying tea online it is important to understand the terminology used when describing certain types of teas and how they are made. For instance, many novice tea  drinkers will expect their tea to be in a bag or pouch but this is only  one of the ways that it is sold. By understanding the many different  terms regarding each type of tea that is being sold, the consumer will  have a better understanding how that particular tea was grown, handled,  and made as well as the price ranges.

Forms Of Chinese Tea

The most common type is the tea pouch which is what many find in the supermarket. Normally this is the least potent of teas, however there are some companies that do produce a substantial product. In fact bagged tea is the least desired types to  buy for the experienced tea drinker. This type of product is usually manufactured by a machine and it's potency has been reduced due to the process of breaking down the leaves to a powder.The flavors are minimal as the potency of any kind medicinal aid. Loose leaf tea is presumed to be the second most common type of tea. A first time buyer will notice  the difference in the aroma of loose leaf tea and bagged tea.

Loose leaf shares similar properties as  ground coffee such as the robust aromas and the pungent flavors. The tea brick or cake is the most ancient forms of tea and the most pungent and flavorful due to the long fermentation process it under goes, some Pu-erh cakes are aged for 15 years. Only the highly skilled tea  producers will make this ancient form due to it's complexity. The skilled producers will gather whole tea leaves and compress them into  the molds that are then aged. The most common form available for retail is a small dome shape designed for an individual cup of tea. Although  tea bricks are less common today, consumers will recognize this type  mainly by the term Pu-erh. Black, green, and post fermented teas are main types found available today and the brick or cake form can be used  for beverages or eaten as a food.

Types Of Teas And Their Health Benefits

Anyone new to Chinese tea may find all  the selections confusing as well as the different reports regarding  tea's health benefits, such as can tea really cure cancer or reduce  stress? Camellia sinensis is the species of plant that all teas in China  are made from and the differences come from the processing and the  amount of fermentation the leaves under go if any at all. This is what  determines white, green, black and so on. When a consumer is searching  for an herbal tea they should take note that this type of tea is not  technically a tea at all, instead they come from different plant sources  and do not contain any leaves from the camellia plant. However, herbal  teas or rooibos teas do offer many health benefits as well.

Black Tea

Black tea is the most common type of tea found in the masses and many consumers  will mainly identify to this type of tea. This can be found in  supermarkets and is ideally sold as rose or red tea blend. The majority  of tea drinkers will make the ever popular sun tea from this type. Black  tea has a dark earthy tone and is a popular alternative to drinking  coffee, containing about one-third of the caffeine when compared to a  regular cup of coffee. Other names of teas that fall in the black  category are earl grey, breakfast tea, morning thunder, etc., all these  names are reference to the full fermentation of black tea along with  other flavors in the blend. When drank on a daily basis, black tea can  reduce the risk of a stoke and reduce the "bad" cholesterol levels that  can lead to a heart attack. It can also aid as at tool for weight loss  but the most significant research that was found was how this type of  tea increases blood flow to the brain helping mental alertness. Use as  an astringent for oily skin as it helps reduce common break outs of  pimples on the face and body.

White Tea

White tea is light in taste and contains the least amount of caffeine. White tea  is known for it's healthy dose of anti-oxidants and improving the skin's  complexion. There are many high end skin care companies that market  their best products because of them containing white tea. Anti-oxidants  have been associated with the prevention of certain types of cancers as  well as it's anti-aging properties.

Yellow Tea

It is similar to the process of making  green tea, yet tastes white tea. It is also known a as a higher quality  tea and it gets the name from how the leaves are partially dried to  yellow-green. It has a less grassy flavor than green tea and drinkers  will note the subtle flowery and sweet aroma. There has not been much  research done on it's health benefits, however since it is harvested  from very young leaves, it is presumed that anti-oxidants found in the  yellow tea are more potent. So if yellow tea is available for purchase,  this may help regulate the blood sugar levels, mental alertness, and  cardiovascular function.

Green Tea

Green tea is considered one of the finest teas in Asian countries especially for  how it is processed. The leaves are primarily picked the first of the  spring from the sweetest and newest buds of the plant. Green tea is not  fermented which lends this tea it's sweet floral tones. This slimming  tea helps maintain cholesterol levels that are already within the normal  range, are good for skin and teeth, and can be used as part of your  diet to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. In Chinese medicine it is  known for it's cooling effect on inflammation.

Oolong Tea

Also known as wulong or black dragon tea. Oolong tea is considered one of the more complicated teas to produce on the  market. It requires skill and many years of experience of making this  type of tea in order to orchestrate the enormous range of flavors,  aromas, and colors. The fermentation greatly ranges when making this tea  and those who are familiar with oolong tea will agree. Oolong tea is  popularly known for it's detox characteristics, curing a headache, and  aiding indigestion primarily after a greasy or fatty meal. In the West,  it has gotten notable recognition for it's weight suppressant abilities  as well as helping the respiratory system.

Post-Fermented Tea

The process of making post-fermented tea is much like crafting an aged wine. The tea is fermented in two  different stages, once to dry out the leaves and a second time to age  the fermented leaves further. By doing this the flavor profile results  in a smooth taste and rich dark color.

 Researches are finding that by doubling the fermentation process, this  tea can produce powerful phytochemicals, or chemicals that are found in  plants that can have an impact to certain diseases and conditions like  cancer, arthritis, cholesterol levels, and stabilizing metabolism. In  China, post-fermented tea is considered as a medicinal aid due to it's  incredible healthy attributes.

East Versus West

The East has been utilizing teas as a  form of medicine for centuries and they believe in the art of prevention  rather than prolonged cures. In the West, we tend to break a whole down  into smaller parts and then isolate certain nutrients that are then  synthesized and market the extracted result. If this sounds complicated,  it should because in the end, breaking apart the whole of a natural  remedy it's purpose or potency also breaks down. The side effects of new  age medicine has impacted the health risks more rather than actually  treating the issue. So the West has leaned on the ancient Eastern  methods of healing in the hopes of creating a more efficient end result.  In the study of modern science in the Western world, researchers have  begun taking a closer look inside the healing effects of the different  types of teas. They now believe that certain kinds of teas and tinctures  of the tea plants actually promote healthier lifestyles as well as  prevent many common ailments that prescriptions drugs are failing at.

Drinking tea is a true form of art. As  the producers of fine tea take great passion in their products, so  should the consumer when they purchase and store their tea. For  beginners who are just learning about the basic types of tea it is best  to try the whole tea products first, then as your palette progresses,  venture onto the more complex flavor profiles of the Oolongs and so on.  The best teas are the ones you like drinking most and by trying new  blends and different types of tea will only enhance the overall joy of  the journey to incredible flavors.