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With growing regions all over the world, from Sri Lanka to Nepal, China to Kenya, South America to the Black Caspian Sea, our obsession with a good cuppa Rosy Lee doesn’t mean we should ignore all the other delicious leaves beyond the industrially processed bag.
Comparing hand-crafted leaf tea to teabags is a bit like comparing a sirloin steak to a processed hamburger. There is nothing wrong with either, but it’s indisputable as to where the best flavours can be found. The lovelier leaves do cost a smidge more to produce and require deliberate attention, but the results are worth savoring.
All teas come from the same species - camellia sinensis - it is how the plant is grown, harvested and crafted that produces the following teas:
White tea is dried, and is the least processed of all tea varieties. It retains the highest levels of antioxidants.
Green Tea has almost become a social statement and people speak highly of their green tea habits. It is fired or steamed at extremely high temperatures shortly after harvest and the flavour varies as widely as cultivars of white wine.
The best hand-crafted black tea leaves are highly coveted and can be floral with accented flavours of chocolate and caramel. Black tea is paired well with sweet dishes.
Oolong lies artfully between green and black tea. The lighter leaves are green and fruity whereas the gdarker are roasted and nutty.
Pu Erh Tee
Pu Erh tea is fermented and has similar benefits to kombucha in that it aids digestion. It’’s traditionally made in large disks known as ‘cakes’, which are then crumbled into the teapot. The flavour is earthy and umami.