is the most popular and prolific Japanese green tea. The leaves are lush and emerald and infuse into brilliant, chartreuse cup of tea. After they are picked, the leaves are steamed and rolled into their traditional shape. Sencha represents a range of flavors, some vegetal, some grassy, and some like seaweed. Traditionally popular, this enigmatic family of teas has endured for generations.
is steamed immediately after picking to neutralize the active enzymes that cause oxidation. The leaf is then withered and shaped to achieve the desired leaf finish (long needle shapes, rolled pellets, etc.), then steamed again or pan fired. Because there has been no oxidation, the tea remains green.
is made from unopened buds that are withered and bake-dried immediately after harvest. There is minimal oxidation, as the leaves are not rolled or tossed to release the enzymes that initiate the process. White tea has a very delicate flavor and is nearly colorless in the cup.
is the most popular style of tea in western countries. It is roll-broken after withering. Roll-breaking cracks the surface of the leaf exposing more of the leaf’s enzymes to air and initiating fuller oxidation. Complete oxidation results in a dark, richly colored drink. The leaf is then finished with forced hot air.
is not steamed, as the enzymes must remain active. It is basket- tossed after withering to bruise the edges and expose the leaf’s enzymes to oxygen, initiating partial oxidation. After 15% to 75% oxidation occurs, the leaf is pan-fired to stop the process. Partial oxidation results in delicate, nutty flavors and floral aromas.
are herbal, floral, fruit or spice infusions that do not contain tea. Rooibos (South African “red tea”), chamomile and mint are popular examples. Most tisanes are naturally caffeine free, however, some herbs have stimulant properties. Yerba Mate, although a tisane, contains matteine, which is very similar to caffeine.