If I am a tea beginner, how should I start? Which teas should I choose?
This is the question that all of us have asked at some point when we come across tens or even hundreds of exotic teas with strange and unfamiliar names, some of them almost impossible to pronounce. But this only happens at the beginning… In fact, all teas can be divided into 6 groups: black, white, green, yellow, oolong and dark teas (including pu-erh). They all come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis, but are processed in different ways. This is what determines the sensory profile of every tea type. Although teas belonging to the same group maintain their uniqueness in terms of taste and aroma, we would like to propose a general guide, without going into too much detail, in order to provide a quick overview of the sensory characteristics and health properties of each tea type.
White tea is a sweet, refreshing and delicate tea, often with very subtle floral notes. It is a light tea, but with a very complex flavour. According to the latest research, white tea is considered, to a greater extent than any other tea, to help accelerate the metabolism and reduce the risk of cancer.
More intense than white tea, green tea can have a creamy and velvety texture. It is noted for its vegetable and notes of fresh-cut grass, sometimes with a touch of citrus and nuts. Green teas have a powerful antioxidant effect. High quality green tea leaves are very delicate and can become bitter if brewed in boiling water. To prepare green teas the water temperature should be lower than for the other types of tea. Check our brewing instructions for more information.
The manufacturing process of Yellow tea begins in the same way as for green tea, but then another step is added. Thanks to this additional processing stage, yellow tea undergoes very light fermentation and is somewhat sweeter and softer than green tea. It is an extremely rare type of tea and is not recommended for complete beginners.
Lightly oxidized (green, ball-shaped) oolong teas are particularly fragrant, with very pronounced floral notes. They have a calming and relaxing effect thanks to their natural fragrance that acts almost like aromatherapy. Their health properties are similar to those of green teas.
Heavily oxidized (dark, loose leaf) oolong teas have notes of honey and tobacco with the presence of fruity, smoky and mineral notes, and more. They are closer to black teas in terms of health benefits.
Generally these are intense teas with a lot of body. They can have notes of nuts, citrus fruits, tobacco, and cocoa. Thanks to the formation of new components during their oxidation, black teas are considered beneficial to health because of their power to eliminate cholesterol from the blood and therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The processing of this tea is very different from that of other tea categories. Dark teas, such as pu-erh, do not lose their qualities over time, but continue to develop new sensory dimensions over years and even decades. This characteristic is due to the microbial action resulting from the post-fermentation process of pu-erh teas.
Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh tea is somewhat grassy and astringent while it is young, but after several years of ripening it develops a sweet, soft and very complex flavour profile. In high-quality aged raw pu-erh teas, you can appreciate delicate fruity notes - one of the reasons why they are highly sought after by tea connoisseurs all around the world.
The production of Cooked or Ripened (Shu) Pu-erh was driven by the use of innovative techniques in an effort to accelerate the fermentation process. Cooked pu-erh has much earthier characteristics than aged raw pu-erh as soon as it leaves the factory. Its fermentation (or ripening) process is much faster and its market price is lower. However, it should be taken into account that lower quality tea leaves are generally used to produce ripe pu-erh tea, so it will always be less complex in taste. Even so, a well-crafted, ripe pu-erh tea is highly recommended for beginners. It develops earthy and woody notes during the fast ripening process and has gained quite a number of tea fans.
Dark teas are thought to offer numerous beneficial effects on health, including reducing body fat, the prevention of diabetes and fatty liver, the elimination of toxins from the body, etc.
In order to appreciate all the richness of flavour of a good loose leaf tea, as well as benefiting from its healthy properties, it is necessary to prepare it correctly. Both the temperature and the steeping time of the infusion are of great importance when preparing tea. If they are not correct for a given type of tea, even a high quality loose leaf tea can become bitter or have little flavour. To avoid an unpleasant experience and to enjoy each of our teas at its best, we advise you to follow our brewing instructions in the detailed description for each of our teas (product record). We also invite you to read our tips on how to make a good cup of tea.