Some of the most common tea colours and how they stack up...
As we explore the theme of colours, the obvious starting point for us here at Teamusing is to pontificate about the various colours of teas available. While they are not quite as varied as the rainbow or a full Pantone booklet of colours, there are indeed several sections and varieties that afford a colourful look at the world of teas.
Probably the most notable and well-known type of tea is that of the black tea family. These area teas made from Camellia Sinensis Assamic and are the most oxidized of the blends that use this particular plant. That just means they have the most caffeine.
There are many splinters and varieties of black tea ranging from traditional Orange Pekoe to Assam and other dark, luxurious and rich tea flavours. And while the leaves may be close to black, the colour of the beverage is a deep brown which may be lightened with the addition of milk or another illuminating beverage.
This type of tea comes from the red bush known as Aspalathus Linearis and is most commonly referred to as Rooibos tea. Like most teas, this variety can be enjoyed on its own or it can be blended with a myriad of flavours and colours from fruits and flowers to spices and other savoury flavours.
One of the benefits of the Rooibos family of teas is they lend themselves to being steeped with milk for a creamy and smooth delivery, without any of the caffeine found in many other teas. For this reason, it is our favourite form of afternoon tea as it can be taken with milk without keeping our beloved Empress awake throughout the night.
This splinter of tea options has both caffeinated and herbal options available to tea connoisseurs. The key ingredient is orange, naturally. This wonderful fruit permeates the flavour and enhances the colour of the tea as it is steeping.
While many versions of tea may seem yellow in colour while steeping, there is a special yellow tea that is native to China and offers a unique flavour profile. It is also purported to have health benefits similar to those of green tea, but it is said to be easier on the stomach. The bright yellow colour of this delectable beverage is achieved through a natural process called "Sealed Yellowing" which oxidizes and treats the leaves to preserve their colour and aroma.
All manners and varieties of green tea are also derived from Camellia Sinensis Assamic and are the least oxidized of the blends that use this particular plant. The main difference between black and green tea is the amount of oxidization, and corresponding caffeine in the final product.
As with black and red teas, there are countless variations of green tea that will infuse a wide range of fruits, flowers, spices or other flavours — from tropical blends with mango and papaya to chai-inspired options that include all manners of spice and zest.
Again, there are infinite options in this colour spectrum of the tea rainbow; However, don't let the name fool you. While they are called white teas, these are often the most colourful options that can fill your cup. The blends tend to dictate the final colour of the tea, anywhere along the spectrum of colours depending on the ingredients added for flavour.
Once again the Camellia Sinensis Assamic plant is the base, but this time the tea is minimally processed and there is zero caffeine in the final product. Worthy of note is that this type of tea is quite delicate and it is taken best when the water is not too hot during steeping. It is recommended to either stop the kettle before it boils or to let the water sit and cool for ~5 minutes after reaching a boil before pouring over a white tea blend so as to ensure the most flavourful tea experience.
Well, there you have it, a cornucopia of tea colours available for the drinking. We do hope you'll taste the tea rainbow over time and expand your pallet as you explore the world through the lens of Teamusing.