It’s Tea for Two Tuesday. Seriously, it is.
Pu-erh tea is fermented tea, which is to say the leaves are fully oxidized and fermented, and, um, often moldy (in a good way). Think wine or cheese. I’ve never had it, but I’ve been assured it is an acquired taste. Until 1995, it was illegal to import pu-erh teas into the US.
The most common type of tea in the US is black tea. Black tea leaves are fully oxidized which basically means the tea leaves absorb oxygen after they’re picked (think rust on a car). The oxidation turns the leaves dark brown and black and impacts the taste of the brewed tea. They have the highest caffeine level of the teas (but not as much as coffee).
Oolong teas are semi-oxidized. Which make them the middle child of teas.
Green teas are not oxidized which is to say they’re dried without being allowed to absorb much oxygen which in turn is why they stay green. Green teas are subtle both in terms of flavor and caffeination.
White tea is pretty rare. It’s a delicate tea made from little tiny baby tea leaves picked at an exact time. It’s considered the healthiest of teas—but you’ll pay for all that healthiness.
None of this matters if you don’t like tea. Or if you only drink herbal tea which it turns out isn’t tea at all. Tune in tomorrow (or some other day) for more on the whole herbal tea thing.