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"Types of Tea" by Nate Schmeling

August 28, 2017

You like tea. At least what you’ve tried. But, if you’re being honest, you don’t exactly know what it is you have tried. It’s not that you’re not picky, you know what type of tea you like—well, not what’s it’s called or looks like—but if you tasted it, you’d know it. No judgement here, I’m working on a tea marketplace startup and was recruited for my technical experience, not my tea expertise. And since I need to learn and you want to learn, let’s learn together, shall we?

There are, roughly, five types of tea. These are white, green, oolong, black, and dark (or fermented). One of the ways the leaves get their flavor is from being exposed to oxygen. These teas range from white to fermented, white having no oxidation and fermented being the most oxidized. The darker, the more oxidized. White tea gets its name in part because it’s the lightest of the bunch and dark tea is called dark tea because it’s the darkest of the bunch. Well, that makes sense, right?

Okay, let’s learn a little more. White tea, such as Organic White Peony, comes from shoots that aren’t fully-grown. It smells like flowers and has an earthier flavor, plus the least amount of caffeine of all the teas, unless you count herbal (Tisane Herbal Infusion, not tea). While green tea has slightly more caffeine (10-30% of coffee) and very subtle flavors with a wider range of delicate undertones.

It seems oolong is a mid-range tea. It can range anywhere from 20-80% oxidation based on the tea masters preference. The range of this teas oxidation allows for many different flavors and delicacies. Each oolong tea, including Iron Goddess of Mercy, has their own technique, story and flavor, so one oolong can be a totally different tea than another.

Finally, we’ve gotten to the heavy hitters. Black teas have 50-65% of the caffeine found in coffee and are fully oxidized. They’re used to create different blends (think signature flavors), ranging from a breakfast tea to an afternoon tea. It is the most popular and well-known variety of tea in the States (and greater West). It’s the kind I’m most familiar with and possibly you too.

Dark tea, such as Dark Rose Love Tea, is a sweeter tea, fermented not once but twice. As such, like wine, it tastes better (and becomes more valuable) with age.

Bonus Round: There is a sixth tea (technically a subcategory of dark tea). It is called Pu’er. The process for producing it is a Chinese state secret, closely guarded. Up until 1995, importing it into the United States was illegal. With no bitterness, it still has a rich and deep flavor. (Woah. Might be worth trying, huh?)

Now, our time has come to an end. I learned somethings about tea, hopefully you did too, and we should both continue drinking/learning about it. P.S. Feel free to reach out to me at [insert company email address] or sign up for updates of my upcoming marketplace that will service your every tea need:


About the Author:

Nate Schmeling

A graduate from Illinois Wesleyan, class of 2015, I majored in Computer Science and English. Two years later, I’m  happily working as a Data Solutions Engineer for Conversant. Outside of that day job, I spend nights writing (self-published novel awaiting your review here, and coding side projects (such as TeaMarket, currently available for early registration here, Otherwise, I relax by wasting time doing nothing productive like everyone else.


*Boulder Tea Shop LLC is a proud and enthusiastic partner of Tea Market!

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