Tea Glossary

All types of tea come from the same species of shrub: Camellia sinensis. The differences between the various kinds of tea are based on how the leaves are processed. The first stage is harvesting leaves from the tea bush. The second is withering, which involves carefully spreading out the tea leaves until they wilt and become soft. This makes them more supple, enabling them to be rolled without breaking them. The next step is rolling, which involves mixing together various natural substances found in the leaves to promote oxidization (for oolong and black teas). The duration of the fermentation period, which begins during rolling, depends on the type of tea. Longer fermentation generally produces tea that has less taste but is more robust. Black tea must undergo an enzymatic process leading to fermentation, which is what turns it into black tea.

Leaves used for green tea do not undergo any kind of fermentation process. They are rapidly steamed (the Japanese method) or heated (the Chinese, Indian or Sri Lankan method) in order to prevent the enyzmatic process that leads to fermentation.

The jasmine is a climbing shrub belonging to the Oleaceae family that is cultatived in India and China, where it is considered a symbol of love and temptation. Its highly fragrant flowers are often used in perfumery or to flavour teas and herbal teas.

For white tea, the leaves are oxidized only slightly. They are simply harvested and dried first in the sun and then in the shade, which gives the tea a subtle, delicate flavor and a very faint color.