Tea Types Organised by level of oxidation
Black Complete
Green None
White Very Slight ( >8 percent)
Oolong Partial ( 35-80 percent)

The most popular class of tea outside of Asia is the most popular tea in the world. This incredible leaf is known as Black Tea. The Chinese in their early color-based system of identifying tea by the color of its brewed liquor identified his as Red Tea.

Black Tea is not fermented, it is oxidized. Complete oxidation creates this truly remarkable class of tea .In the production of black tea, the critical component necessary to effect an even and complete oxidation of the "made tea" (finished leaf) is the juice trapped naturally inside the tea leaf structure. How its juice is allowed to release from its native holding cells and the controlled chemical reactions that follow are the processes that make the manufacture of black tea so interesting.

The actual processing of Black tea divides into two styles: Orthodox and Cut -Tear-Curl or Crush-Tea-Curl (CTC). Orthodox Black teas are those that we otherwise call whole leaf tea.They are graded by size and the nomenclature varies by country.

Grades of Orthodox Tea

Orthodox Leaf is classified as Whole Leaf, Broken Leaf , Fannings and Dust and is graded by Leaf in each class as indicated above.

SFTGFOP Special Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
FTGFOP Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
TGFOP Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
GFOP Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
FOP Flowery Orange Pekoe
OP Orange Pekoe
GFBOP Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
FBOP Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
GBOP Golden Broken Orange Pekoe
BOP1 Broken Orange Pekoe One
BOP Broken Orange Pekoe
BPS Broken Pekoe Souchong
CTC teas are graded by size from largest to smallest
BPS Broken Pekoe Souchong
BOP Broken Orange Pekoe
BOPSM Broken Orange Pekoe Souchong
BP Broken Pekoe
OF Orange Fannings
PD Pekoe Dust
Difference between CTC Teas and Orthodox Tea Manufacturing

Instead of undergoing the traditional rolling process, CTC teas are put into cutting machines that chop the tea and distribute the cell sap over the surface of the finely cut bits of tea. Unlike the internal cell sap changes brought on by the rolling of orthodox teas, the cutting machines do not allow for the natural internal changes within the leaf. After cutting, the tea is quickly rolled into granular pieces and then moved to the oxidation room.

The goal of CTC production is the opposite of that behind traditionally made orthodox tea. CTC teas were created to fill the needs of tea bag packers, who desired that tea would be less bulky and thereby easier to use when filling tea bags. Subtlety of Style and Flavor is not the goal of CTC Teas. Rather these teas produce strong, gutsy and as some would say chewy cup of tea.

Green Tea

The manufacture of green tea is all the more fascinating because there are several subcategories of the class. By describing the various styles of green tea, we show how their manufacture differs.

The purpose of the first step in green tea manufacture is to prevent oxidation and to preserve its appealing green color. The drying process also keeps the soluble solids of the fresh leaf`s juice intact, inside the leaft structure, where they contribute to the flavor, possible astringency and overall healthfulness of the tea manufactured. The fresh leaf that develops into green tea should be dried quickly, completely and thoroughly.

Artisan`s Methodologies Modern Methodologies
Sun Dried Oven Dried
Basket Fired/Charcoal Fired Tumbled
Pan Fired Steamed
White Tea

The least complicated class of tea to describe but not the least difficult to produce. The manufacture of White Tea is an ancient process. White tea in its original, pure form consists of only the tender unopened budsets of particular varieties of China tea bush plants that are cultivated especially for this class of tea. White tea has a specific geographical terroir, style, flavor and definition.

In white tea manufacture there is no de-enzyming, but there is slight oxidation. All types of white tea are believed to contain slightly less caffeine and fewer polyphenols than other forms of tea, but this analysis is difficult to duplicate consistently because of the many variables involved.

Oolong Tea

Oolong teas are made from large tea leaves and the finished tea varies in appearance, ranging in color from rich chestnut brown to greenish gray. Some oolongs have long, slightly twisted leaves that just barely curl up on the ends, while other oolongs have been loosely folded, and still others have been compressed into small irregularly shaped balls. In most cases fine oolongs require several infusions for the leaves to unfurl to their fullest extent.

Oolongs are truly the most complicated teas to manufacture. The key to making a successful oolong is in the processing-in the crafting of leaf. Oolongs are semi-oxidized and the range of oxidation is from 35 to 80 percent, latitude that allows tea makers to tweak the leaf into a tea that reflects their own expression of style.

Oolong teas possess a diverse and appealing range of sophisticated, complex, and richly rewarding flavors and aromas, such as peach, apricot, honey, orchid, melon, leather, amber and sandalwood. Their finish is long and sweet, with just a suggestion of astringency. Oolongs can commonly be infused several more times once fully open, for a total of as many as eight or nine infusions. Oolongs on the low end of the oxidation scale bear a resemblance to the tightly curled, tippy midseason green teas, and on the higher end they look just like a super-large individual -leaf orthodox black tea.