According to the manufacturing process, teas are divided into three basic types: black, green, and semi-fermented.
Black tea is the type of tea most commonly consumed in Western countries. It is fermented, which means that fermentation has been encouraged to blacken the tea before firing. The leaf goes through several processing stages. First, it is spread out on racks and exposed to warm air. Then, it is exposed to hot air, which turns the infused leaves bright red or copper. Black teas are made from Assam or hybrid plants. They are higher in caffeine than green or semi-fermented teas.
Well-known black teas are Ceylon, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, and English Breakfast.
Green tea is unfermented. In order to kill the enzymes that cause fermentation, it undergoes a process of steaming. The infused leaf is green, and the brewed tea is very light in color. It contains only a small amount of caffeine, and its taste is slightly astringent, but not bitter. Green tea is most popular in China and Japan. Due to its medical properties, it has recently become popular in the West as well.
Well-known green teas are Gunpowder and Imperial.
Semi-fermented tea, also called red tea, has been partly fermented before firing. It is a compromise between black tea and green tea - more delicate than black but stronger than green. Its liquor is yellowish, and its flavor characteristically malty or smoky.
Well-known semi-fermented teas are Oolong and Pouchong, both semi-fermented China teas.