Trying to determine the provenance and properties of the different types of tea can be extremely challenging given the large amount of tea varieties available to consumers today. What exactly differs black tea from green tea? What about herbal and rooibos tea? Can you identify white tea from Oolong tea and purple tea from Pu-Erh tea?
At Gräfenhof Tee we offer more than a hundred different varieties of tea. We are therefore able to evaluate the teas in clear and easy-to-understand categories. Accompanying our customers on their journey of tea discovery, whether they are new to tea or experienced tea drinkers, is an important aspect of our work. This practical guide to tea varieties helps beginners and experts alike learn more about the world of tea!
Camellia Sinensis Tea Plant
All types of “true” teas originally come from the same plant. The botanical name of the tea-Plant is Camellia sinensis. It is indigenous to southern China and has been cultivated and consumed for hundreds of years.
The two main varieties are camellia sinensis var. sinensis, which grows mainly in China and other East Asian countries and has a softer, more tender character, and camellia sinensis var. assamica, a stronger, more robust plant that grows mainly in India.
Black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, Pu-Erh tea, and violet leaf tea are all produced from the Camellia sinensis tea plant. Each of these types of tea develops its unique properties through different harvesting and processing methods. Some teas are steamed, others are burned in pots. Some can oxidize, others cannot. Some tealeaves are shaped by hand into solid balls, while other tealeaves are coarsely cut or air-dried in their natural form. Some teas are harvested in the first weeks of spring, others in summer and fall.
There are so many different factors that influence the appearance and flavor of tea, and specific tea processing methods have been developed over hundreds of years. Currently, there are six main categories of tea, each with different characteristics and processing methods.
Black tea is mainly grown and harvested in India, Sri Lanka and South African countries. Unlike green tea, several production processes take place after plucking, such as fermentation. This is the only way to obtain the distinctive black tea leaf.
Strong-spicy Assam, delicate light-flowery Darjeeling and slightly malty-citrusy Ceylon flavor distinguish the best teas. In Sri Lanka, black tea is still sold under the name Ceylon. Sri Lanka is the fourth largest tea producer, most of which is exported. In China, there are also cultivation areas that specialize in processing black teas.
The province of Yunnan, in the southwest of China, is known for black tea, as well as for regional specialties, such as the long-aged Pu – Erh – tea (also called red tea) or the Keemun. Both are considered the best Chinese black teas.
Among the best teas in the world is also Darjeeling (also known as flying tea), which is grown at the foothills of the Himalayas. It is processed immediately after plucking and flown out as quickly as possible. Whether traditional black tea blends or extravagant rarities, we will equip you with the highest quality teas!
Green tea, unlike black tea, is not fermented. It therefore best reflects the leaf shape of the original plant, the Camellia sinensis. Due to the gentle processing, numerous minerals and vitamins remain in the tea leaves. Green tea contains the bitter substance tein, which stimulates and excites us through the nervous system. The dry tea leaves contain similar amounts of tein as caffeine in coffee. However, the release of the polyphenol in the body is slower, giving the impression of being fit and awake for longer.
The tein content depends on the type of tea, season, harvest, water temperature and brewing time. The tea plant has been cultivated and processed into green tea in China for several thousand years. This makes China the oldest tea-producing country and the leader in tea culture. No other country grows nearly as much tea.
Meanwhile, only less and less quantities are exported, since the largest part is consumed in the own country. From Chun Mee, which is characterized by small, short and yellow tea leaves with a spicy taste, to Gunpowder, whose spherical tea leaves give off a flowery mild taste, to exclusive varieties, such as Mao Feng, with a delicate white-green and sweet-fruity taste, we can offer you many more exclusive quality varieties.
White tea owes its name to the color of the cup, which hardly colors the water when brewed. Due to the polyphenol content, white tea is said to have health-promoting effects. Polyphenols are highly effective antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and increase well-being.
In the production of Pai Mu Tan, only the large leaves covered in silvery down are used and hand-picked and air-dried several times a year. This quality can only be topped by an even more elaborate form of production. These are of course also included in our premium assortment under the name “White Needles” or “Silver Needles”. For these teas, only the not yet unfolded leaf buds are used. One kilogram of white tea requires about 30,000 hand-picked buds.
Herbal and wellness tea
Herbal teas are infusions of aromatic herbs and plants that promote health, relax and invigorate.
We have designed a range for you to cover all these areas. From specially formulated detox teas, to refreshing herbal tea blends, to feel-good teas, we can provide you with the very best.
Only select ingredients are used in our products. In order for the flavors to fully develop, gentle processing and drying of the herbs are considered a prerequisite. Try our highest quality herbal and wellness teas and discover our strange and lovingly developed blends!
We have made it our business to give fruit tea back its naturalness, according to the motto “Drink what you see!”. Healthy, varied, full-bodied and then still without sugar – that distinguishes our high-quality fruit teas! For this purpose, only flavors of natural origin are used.
The healthy drinking, which every tea lover associates with tea, we realize with exclusively non-candied fruits. Sugar is contained in far too many foods today, which has given the risk of diabetes an enormous breeding ground. Decide for yourself if you want to add sugar to your fruit tea.
In our teas are also the fruits in it, after you also taste. This is the only way to achieve an excellent taste experience. Share with us the fullest pleasure of tea, whether warm in winter or cold in summer!
It is THE energy drink and awakener among teas – matcha tea. It makes you as alert as coffee, tastes good and is also healthy. This 3-fold effect in the total package is hardly fulfilled by any other drink.
The bright green and full of antioxidants Matcha tea wins more and more friends worldwide.
The traditional preparation is simple and variable in handling. First, about two bamboo spoons of matcha tea are placed in a chawan (bowl). This corresponds to about 1.5 grams. With the help of a bamboo whisk and an initially small amount of 70°C -80°C hot water, the powder is now slowly whipped until foamy. This is the only way to prevent the formation of small lumps.
Gradually, the remaining water (about 100ml in total) is added to obtain the perfect, foamy-creamy matcha drink.
Meanwhile, matcha is also used in other areas, such as pastries or in cooking. It thus provides a unique touch to any dish, whether sweet, or spicy. Whether for traditional preparation or also for baking. Choose from our high-quality Matcha Basic, the Cooking Matcha and the very finest Matcha Premium (Black Edition). Be also equipped by us with the best equipment and taste the quality!
Rooibos tea is grown in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Rooibos is harvested in the period from December to April. Unlike other teas, rooibos tea is harvested with machines.
The cut branches are then taken to a central location where they are then finely chopped and crushed to start the fermentation process. This production process later provides the red color and sweet, fruity flavor.
Rooibos tea contains numerous vitamins, is caffeine-free and is also great for a hot cup of tea before bed. Worldwide, the demand for fresh rooibos has been increasing for years.
With us you get a longcut rooibos of the finest quality, where you immediately feel the freshness. The same is true for our green rooibos, which gets its color from non-fermentation.
Our green longcut rooibos tea has an even milder taste and also contains more ingredients than its red brother, which is why it is said to have very pronounced health-promoting effects.
Not to forget and more and more in demand is the Honeybush tea. It also grows as a shrub in South Africa. Due to its mild sweetness, it finds more and more followers who appreciate its light honey taste.
It tastes even milder and sweeter than Rooibos tea.
Yerba Mate Tea
Mate tea is obtained from the dried leaves of the mate tea bush and gets its unique aroma through fermentation. Thanks to a large amount of caffeine, vitamins and tannins, mate boosts the metabolism and thus sustainably increases the ability to concentrate. Even during a diet, a cup before a meal helps to inhibit appetite.
Due to its very positive effects, mate tea is becoming more and more of a lifestyle drink and is finding more and more followers, even here in Germany. Try our delicious blends and discover even more facets of mate tea!
Masala Chai Tea
Chai tea, also known as Masala Chai, is a traditional spice blend from India that has become one of the hottest teas in Germany and throughout Europe. Our traditional blends consist, as in the Indian homeland, of cinnamon, anise, cardamom, ginger, pepper and cloves.
It is usually prepared, as in India, in combination with black tea, honey, sugar and milk. Try our blends! Whether as a spice blend or in combination with tea, we have developed a wide variety of recipes exclusively for you. And according to the current trend, we now also offer blends with turmeric.
Most “vegetable teas” consist of vegetables and spices. We have taken this idea further and added tea to our in-house blends. Enjoy our vegan, calorie-free and exclusively organic vegetable teas!
Currently, our portfolio includes 3 different varieties in.
- From a slightly spicy Rooibos-Paprika blend,
- a carrot-spinach mixture, refined with mate tea
- or a healthy, deliciously spicy tomato mixture.
There should be the right mixture for every taste. And all without flavor enhancers!
Olive leaf tea
Olive leaf tea is made from the leaves of the olive tree.
This traditional tea, from the Mediterranean region, has been around for many years. Also in the naturopathy the olive leaf tea, straight by its healthy contents materials and positive effects on the body, finds ever more follower.
Since its caffeine content is zero, you can enjoy it even late into the evening.