Did you know?
All teas are actually the same species of plant, Camellia sinensis. But like apples, there's dozens of different varieties. And like wine, tea can be prepared in hundreds of different ways to amplify different parts of the natural flavors.
Broadly speaking, there are five distinct types of tea: white, green, oolong, black, and pu'er. Each type is oxidized to a different degree and processed in a different way. White and green teas are un-oxidized, while oolong is partially oxidized and black is even more oxidized.
Pu'er is perhaps the most mysterious of all: it's oxidized to the point of fermentation. In fact, pu'er aging techniques are closely-guarded state secrets in China!
Because of the carefully controlled oxidation process, each type of tea tends to have its own distinct flavor: from the mild tones of white tea to the strong, aromatic blacks.
Tea connoisseurs love white teas for their subtle and sweet, yet complex flavors. Like green tea, white tea doesn't undergo any oxidation process. However, green tea is harvested from the mature leaves of the tea plant, whereas white tea consists of baby leaves and buds.
These super young leaves and buds are covered in fine, white/silver hairs, which give white tea its name. Only the healthiest, youngest leaves and buds can be selected for this reason.
In addition to their wonderful flavor, white teas are prized for their health effects. It's believed that white teas contain all the same benefits of green tea, but often in even greater concentrations!
The Hayes Tea White Tea Subscription is the perfect choice if you prefer mild, complex flavors, or if you like to drink your tea without any added honey, lemon, or milk.
Green Tea, the classic drink of China, is the drink discovered in the legend of Emperor Shen Nong and his accidental discovery of tea.
Green tea is made of un-fermented tea leaves, just like white tea. But green tea is composed of mature leaves, rather than the partially-grown leaves used for white tea.
With a milder flavor than black teas, greens tend to be perfect for sipping throughout the day. We also find they complement food very well compared to other teas.
Oolong is the broadest category of teas, encompassing everything between green and black tea. The oxidation can vary heavily, from 10% all the way to 85% oxidized. There are thousands of different Oolongs made all around the world, and each one is unique due to the specific conditions during drying and ozidizing.
Because of all this variety, our Oolong Tea subscription is our most popular. Order now and we'll throw in an extra silicone infuser with your first package! That means you'll receive two adorable infusers the first month to start off your collection!
Black Tea comprises the vast majority of tea consumed worldwide--over 80%! This popularity can be partly attributed to the British influence on the tea industry over the past few hundred years, but really, we think black tea is popular because of its strong, delicious, bold flavors.
Black teas are fully oxidized, or in tea-speak, fermented. The tea processor's careful control of this oxidation process allows the natural flavors in the tea to increase in intensity and variety.
Remember when steeping black teas they can become bitter very quickly if steeped for too long.
This subscription is perfect for people who enjoy their tea on its own or with milk and sugar. Either way, Hayes Black Teas are a great way to discover a wide variety of teas from around the world.
The processing of good pu'er is a secret art, known only to the best tea-makers in the world. Sometimes taking several years, these processes are closely-guarded secrets in China. From the drying to oxidizing to fermentation and continued aging, the complexity of these processes also contributes to the very high prices of pu'er tea.
Until recently pu'er was illegal to import into the United States because the best pu'er, like cheese, can have a thin layer of fungus on the leaves. Like another fermented product, wine, pu'er is sometimes collected by wealthy individuals across Asia, where it's prized for its deep, complex flavors.
In fact, pu'er is perhaps most comparable to whiskey: its aging is a process that never really ends, which is why some people amass such large collections of pu'er.
Hayes Tea doesn't currently sell pu'er for two reasons: the logistics of importing through US agricultural controls, and the high price we'd need to charge to provide high-quality pu'er. We try to offer the best teas at a reasonable price. Pu'er teas are a much more high-end product than most tea, and we don't believe most of our customers want to pay several hundred dollars per pound of tea.