Although pu-erh is arguably one of the most influential tea types, few cared about its history until very recently. In fact, without the thirst for knowledge of a select group of tea lovers in the 1990s, the world of pu-erh as we know it today would not exist! Gaining insight and understanding is a theme throughout pu-erh’s history that has helped change the tea’s image, allowing it to grow from a simple bitter herb to a royal tribute, and onward today to a tea that is collected feverishly around the world. Born in Yunnan, China, pu-erh tea is part of a group of teas categorized as post-fermented. Simply put, this means that the tea is alive.
Tea News Blog
Across the world, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in a myriad of ways. For many, the dazzling shows of evening fireworks and firecrackers may be the most exciting and memorable event of the holiday. And while we here at Yezi Tea certainly love that time honored tradition, we thought that there would be no better way to usher in the Year of the Sheep than by taking time to appreciate a quieter moment of the holiday. Just what moment? Well, the sharing of tea, of course!
Part one of our blog on black tea told the history of the famous tea type and how it is made. This week, we’ll start from where we left off by delving into some examples of black teas. So, welcome back tea-friends. Buckle up, and let’s continue!
As mentioned in part one, this blog's purpose is to focus on and discuss exclusively Chinese-grown black teas. Generally speaking, the main types of Chinese black teas are: gongfu cha, xiaozhong cha, and hong sui cha. As most high quality black teas are considered to be gongfu cha, we shall talk about those teas first.
Black tea (or red tea as it is called in China) is a legend in the West, and therefore may need no introduction. However, for clarity's sake, teas that fall under the category of black tea are those that are fully oxidized. This complete oxidation allows black teas the ability to take on flavors, aromas, and colors not seen in any other tea type. While the most popular black teas today hail from India and Sri Lanka, some of the most extraordinary black teas still come from China. The word "still" is important here, for what few people know is that the processing method used to make the ever popular South Asian black teas such as English Breakfast, Darjeeling, and Ceylon, originated in Fujian, China.
In Chinese, Oolong (or Wulong) means “Black Dragon” – and if its name is an homage, black dragons must be mighty complex creatures! Toting a wide variety of flavors, aromas, and aesthetics, oolong is thought of by many to be the most complex out of all tea types. To be considered an oolong, a tea must be partially oxidized, placing it somewhere between green teas (which are not oxidized) and black teas (which are fully oxidized). Just how oxidized the tea is depends greatly on the region in which the tea is produced.
Rare, delicate, and exotic, white teas are the orchids of the tea world. Named after the color of its leaves, which ranges from white, to silver, to pale green, white tea as we know it has been enchanting tea lovers since the late 1700s. Its light and refreshing taste, perfume-like aroma, and beautiful, young, downy leaves are just some of the many characteristics that make white tea so special. Although it is the least processed of the six tea types, the simplicity of how white tea is made utterly contrasts the complexities of the tea type. Just what complexities? Let’s delve deeper into the alluring world of white tea and find out.
The same reason why tea bags became popular in the early to mid 1900s is the reason why they remains popular today. Many people like their teas like they like their sports cars: Fast and strong. While there is nothing wrong with that, we believe that there is a large misconception that loose-leaf teas are not convenient. Without a doubt, pulling a tea bag from its container, placing it in boiling hot water, and within minutes, enjoy a strong brew of tea, is easy. However, preparing loose-leaf teas can be comparably convenient. Loose-leaf tea can be made seamlessly without any special tea-equipment.
Throughout history, many epic battles have been waged. In the tea community, arguably the most distinguished battle is the one between bagged tea and loose-leaf. King Bagged Tea has his army of tea drinkers that boast how easy and quick it is to use tea bags, while Emperor Loose-Leaf's army boasts that the superior quality of loose-leaf tea cannot be mistaken!
We here at Yezi are champions of Emperor Loose-Leaf. With superior quality, complexity, and variety, we believe that loose-leaf tea is the best way to enjoy the splendor that is the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. One may ask: “If bagged tea and loose-leaf come from the same plant, why is bagged tea inferior?”
To answer that, we must first talk about the history of the tea bag.
There is very little that is worse for a tea lover than steeping their favorite tea the way they have always done, just to realize upon first sip that something is not quite right. The wonderful aroma and taste that they have grown to love has now changed into something different. The characteristics of the tea are all wrong, but the preparation was perfect. "What has happened?" they cry out, "What dastardly person has corrupted my tea?" Luckily, we don't need cunning of Sherlock or wits of Batman to uncover this culprit. This dastardly wrongdoer has a moniker and it is: staleness.