Let's talk on the same terms: green tea, white tea or Oolong tea
Teas are categorised into 6 classes according to the degree of fermentation/oxidisation during their processing: green teas are un-fermented; white teas are lightly fermented by almost unprocessed (rubbed, rolled or baked); yellow teas are partially fermented, but being put through a unique process called ‘Men Huang’ to produce the unique yellow appearance and yellow tea taste; Oolong teas are semi-fermented and black teas are fully fermented. There is also a sixth category called compressed tea (Pu-erh tea) that the teas continue to ferment after being produced. The confusion starts when a tea brew without milk added is called black by the western cultures. With the increasing popularity of green tea in recent years largely due to their numerous health benefits, it adds another dimension to the confusion – many call any leaf tea green including herbal teas (teas made of all other plants and parts apart from Camellia sinensis leaves). The classification becomes more intangible when white tea is mentioned: it is a black tea with added milk by western culture and the white tea in Chinese is a unique class of teas that are lightly fermented by least processed, nothing to do with if milk is added or not. The discussions about teas, especially their health benefits are intense these days. Let’s start from getting the terms right so that at least we know we are talking about the same products.