Based on how teas are processed there are mainly 4 types of tea
- Black Tea (Fermented)
- Green Tea (Non-fermented)
- White Tea (Least Processing)
- Oolong Tea (Partly Fermented)
As per the provision of the Tea Act,1953, tea means the plant Camellia Sinesis and all different types of a product known as tea made from the leaves of this plant.
Types of Tea
All four types of tea, i.e., black, green, white and oolong tea are made from the same tea plant, and plucking and processing of the teas finally decide how the tea ends up.
White tea undergoes the least processing, followed by green tea (non-fermented) and oolong tea (partly fermented). Black tea (fermented) is made to go through an oxidation process, to which it owes a distinctive flavour.
Green tea is made by withering tea leaves – and then steaming, rolling and drying them. It undergoes minimal processing. The infused leaf is green, and the liquor is mild, pale green or lemon-yellow.
Black tea involves additional processing (i.e. aeration and withering). Black tea is by far the most common type of tea produced. The infused leaf has a dark brown colour and a sweet aroma.
It is partially or semi-fermented tea. A full-bodied tea with a fragrant flavour and sweet fruity aroma, it has some qualities of both black tea and green tea due to its manufacturing process. It is more suitable for people who prefer a low caffeine option.
For White teas, unmatched subtlety, complexity and natural sweetness, it is appreciated by tea connoisseurs. It is considered to be a far greater source of antioxidants than green tea because the tea leaves undergo minimum oxidation.
According to the Tea Board of India, tea quality broadly refers to all the characteristics of tea by which its market value is judged. It is the sum total of internal and external factors like aroma/flavour, strength, colour, briskness and character of the infused leaf.
Tea quality not only varies from one garden to another, but also between the same type of tea manufactured at different times within a particular garden.
Aside from processing, the quality of tea can be affected by genetic, environmental and cultural factors, i.e.:
- Genetic properties of the tea plant and tea bush
- Soil and climate conditions, including temperature, humidity, sunshine duration, rainfall, etc.
- Field operation such as pruning, fertilising, shading, plucking round and plucking standards
Tea Producing Regions of India
Following the success of tea cultivation experiments in Darjeeling and Assam in the 1800s, endeavours in other parts of India with similar natural conditions were undertaken. These efforts led to thriving tea industry in at least ten distinct tea producing regions of North-East and South India:
- Dooars and Terai