Sometimes finding the right tea for you can be complicated. There are so many!
So here’s a rundown of the seven tea families to help you decide which is your cup of tea: Black, Green, White, Yellow, Oolong, Pu Erh and Spiced/Flavored teas.
Still the most consumed tea in North America, most black teas offer a strong and full flavor due to the fact that they are fully oxidized. Black tea can be served hot or cold, with or without milk and sugar, and go great with spices, flowers, lemon, you name it! Black teas can also be re-infused several times, so just keep the leaves dry by leaving them out on the counter, and have another cup later in the day.
If steeped the appropriate amount of time, black teas can be delicate, crisp and aromatic, with very little astringency, and if steeped for longer, they can be bold, malty and full of character. In general, black teas should be infused with boiling water (190°F-200°F) for 3-5 minutes. Black tea suits a variety of tastes and preferences! Thé de Cru recommends:
Fresh, vegetal, bright, crisp and clean, green teas are the purest form of tea out there. The leaves are not oxidized, leaving their natural green color and their grassy taste. It is not necessary to add anything to a fresh green tea as its natural flavor is complex and distinct, depending on the variety.
Japanese Green teas are highly vegetal, with a strong chlorophyll flavor and a slight astringency. They should be steeped for no more than 2 minutes, and with hot water, not boiling. Simply bring your water to a boil and let it rest for a few minutes, allowing the water to cool down to around 160°F, the optimal temperature for these teas:
Chinese green teas tend to be more full bodied, herbaceous and strong. They can be steeped from 2-3 minutes and at 170 F-180F. If you like the fresh taste of tea, but don’t like very grassy flavors, these are the teas for you:
Unique to the provinces of Sichuan, Anhui and Hunan in China, yellow teas have clean, fresh and bright flavor profiles. Usually incorrectly classified as green teas due to their appearance, yellow teas are steamed allowing for their particular flavor, reminiscent of fresh green asparagus. Steeping time is 2-3 minutes, with hot water, around 170°F-180°F. Because of its complicated production method, yellow tea is not as easily found as it was in the past, so catch it while you can! :
Once reserved only for members of Chinese elite, white tea has now found its way into homes and tea houses around the world. Known for its refreshing and rehydrating properties, white tea is commonly consumed hot as well as cold, and is frequently blended with flowers and fruits, enhancing its delicate flavor. As just the buds of the tea plant are used, white tea is extremely delicate, smooth and clean flavored. With a very low caffeine content, it is a soothing tea, perfect for relaxation. It should be steeped for at least 3-5 minutes, allowing the flavor to develop, and at a lower temperature, around 160°F-170°F. For fans of clear and soft teas Thé de Cru recommends:
Produced in China and Taiwan, Oolong teas are incredibly diverse and unique. This semi-oxidized tea family is perfect for those seeking a flavor somewhere between green and black tea.
There are two kinds of Oolongs: green oolongs are usually pellet-like in appearance, made with large leaves and bursting with aromatic, sweet and floral flavor. Black Oolongs, also known as “Black Dragon” due to the color and sinuous shape of the leaves, have a more stone-fruit and earthy flavor.
Before being steeped Oolongs must first be rinsed. Simply pour a small amount of water (180°F-190°F) over the leaves and throw away the water immediately. This will allow the leaves to open up slightly and will create a brew with no bitter undertones. Steep for 2-3 minutes and don’t throw away the leaves after the first steeping! You may find you like the second or third infusion more. Thé de Cru recommends:
Aaahhh, Pu Erh. The most exotic and enticing tea China has to offer. As with oolong teas, Pu Erhs can be classified into two kinds: Shou and Sheng.
Shou Pu Erh (meaning ripe, also known as black or cooked) undergoes an artificial fermentation process that creates a rich, dark, smooth, earthy, heavy, sometimes musty, and strong brew that is full of character. Sold in brick form and loose leaf, this tea is unlike any other, and can be kept for several years. Over time, the flavor will mellow and grow in complexity without deteriorating.
Sheng Pu Erh (meaning raw, also known as green or uncooked) undergoes a natural fermentation process, creating a herbaceous, sweet and slightly astringent brew. It can also be kept for several years, and, like a fine red wine, get better over time.
Thé de Cru offers our Pu Erhs in loose leaf form:
Spiced and Flavored teas are made with natural or artificial flavors and are the most sought out teas in North America today. From classics, such as Jasmine, Chai, Mint and Earl Grey to new concoctions such as Saffron and Lavender, flavored teas are perfect for those seeking flavor profiles that go beyond what natural teas have to offer. When choosing a flavored tea, make sure that the aromas added are natural and of high quality, ensuring a better cuppa. Here at Thé de Cru, we offer only naturally flavored teas, using our whole and fresh spices to fragrance the best leaves we can find!