The variety of tea

Real tea, as it has been produced and appreciated for thousands of years in its countries of origin, is a truly wonderful and inspiring product. 

White Tea

Obtained from tender buds and young leaves and carefully wilted and dried, white tea is the least processed tea and has literally only touched the process of oxidation. Once reserved exclusively for the Chinese emperor, connoisseurs from all over the world today appreciate the delicate infusions for their complex, naturally sweet aroma.

As a shy relative of the more exuberant black and green tea varieties, white tea is the least processed tea obtained from the Camellia sinensis tea plant, which also leads to the pale colour of the infusion to which it owes its name.

Always surrounded by legends, white tea is said to have many regenerating properties and is subject to particularly festive harvesting rituals. This is how the delicate shoots were harvested during the 5th and 6th centuries by virgins with golden scissors and bowls and were reserved only for the emperor, to whom this vestal pleasure was presented as a tribute.

The characteristic flavours of the white tea - light, floral with traces of fruit and smoke - bear witness to its delicate origin.

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Green Tea

Not oxidized, but carefully processed in many individual steps, green tea is considered a true elixir of life in Asia. With an abundance of vitamins and nutrients and an extraordinary aromatic variety, this invigorating tonic has become an indispensable part of everyday life in the West.

As with wine, green tea is also known for its typical flavours, varieties and manifestations, which characterise the diverse tea cultures of China, Japan and Korea. Each green tea undergoes a precisely timed processing in order to develop its characteristic taste with careful rolling, heating and drying.

Green tea is considered a true elixir of life and has been part of everyday life in Asia for many centuries as a refreshing and inspiring infusion. In recent years, consumption and esteem for the revitalizing hot drink have also increased strongly in the rest of the world, which may be due to the fact that the positive effect on body and soul is now underpinned by various studies. Apart from antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and anti-carcinogens, it is above all the variety of flavours of green tea that inspires us every day.

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Yellow Tea

Yellow tea is the rarest category of tea from the Qing Dynasty, where the finest teas were offered to the emperors as a tribute. A multi-facetted and time-consuming production, which maintains itself in the resulting complex taste and smooth character, makes this tea very rare and difficult to afford. Yellow tea is a slightly oxidized tea that sits between green and white degrees of oxidation. The leaves and buds are traditionally picked in spring and processed into tea. As soon as the buds are picked and transported to the tea processing factory, the withering of the tea is stopped with heat, a process known as "fixation", also seen in green tea production. From here, smaller teas are wrapped in a special cloth and cooled.

At intervals the tea bundles are opened, the leaves heated or "fixed" and cooled again. This stage called "post-oxidation" is unique for yellow tea and can take 3 to 4 days to reach the desired level of oxidation. Once reached, the bundles are opened and "fixed" for the last time before being left to dry in the final stage of production.

Such complex and entirely manual production makes a truly remarkable tea for tea enthusiasts. Yellow tea accounts for less than 1% of global tea production, and is rarely seen outside China.

Oolong Tea

These teas are called "Dark Dragons" in China, which does not mean, however, that they are all strongly oxidized. But with a taste spectrum from sweet, floral and fruity to complex bitter notes - and oxidation levels between 10 and 70 percent - this group is almost as changeable as its mythical namesakes.

Today, Oolong tea is mainly associated with Taiwan, but it began during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in the southern Chinese province of Fuijan. Quickly considered a speciality, it was an oolong that was named the first tribute tea - a custom in which the emperor chose teas of exquisite quality to be delivered as a tribute to his court. Translated from Chinese, this type of tea is called "dark dragon", and is actually as changeable as its mythical namesake. With oxidation levels between 10% (very green) and 70% (strongly oxidized), the shape-shifter also draws the wide bow between green tea and black tea in terms of taste: from sweet, floral and fruity to complex bitter notes.

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Black Tea

Full-bodied, strong, sometimes flowery and sometimes malty, black tea has taken the West by storm. Whether hot or iced, pure or with milk and sugar: the most strongly oxidized variety is on everyone's lips - and offers the same spectrum of health-promoting ingredients as green tea.

About four hundred years ago, the first boxes of black tea arrived in Europe on board Portuguese and Dutch merchant ships. Initially reserved for medical applications as a curative tonic, the powerful infusion developed into a popular and expensive fashion drink in the late 17th century.

This prompted a prominent Parisian doctor to disparage the beloved luxury drink as the "impertinent trend of the century", while others saw it as the cause of "moral misconduct". Despite - or precisely because of - such a reputation, black tea soon became the talk of the town and became the undisputed national drink in England and East Friesland towards the end of the 19th century, while the country of origin, China, drank mainly green tea.

Perhaps the European tea landscape would also look different today if the geographical circumstances had been different. While the completely oxidized and more robust black tea survived the long journey well, the months at sea considerably reduced the aroma of green teas.

Since these early days - and the constantly increasing tea thirst of the West - the production of black tea has spread widely and today enriches us with a great aromatic variety, from the malty Assam of India to the tangy Ceylon teas of Sri Lanka and the golden teas of the Chinese southwest.

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Pu-Erh Tea

You have to confess: Pu-Erh tea takes some getting used to. However, you will never want to let it go again once you have discovered the taste of the earthy and intense aromas of this mature tea. Fermentation is responsible for the taste, a controlled biological process with the help of numerous useful microbacteria, which has such a decisive influence on the green tea leaves from China's well-known tea province Yunnan.

Sheng or raw tea stands for the natural process of a slow maturation of traditionally pressed green teas. The tea is stored in hot and humid environments, where the micro-organisms come into contact with the leaves and give the tea a sweet, silky and full-bodied taste over time.

If you want to go faster, we use shou or ripened tea, green tea leaves stored in a controlled environment to accelerate micro-fermentation. This manual manipulation of the ripening process allows a complete fermentation up to an infusion with a characteristic taste variety of a really old Sheng Pu-Erh.

During preparation, one thing is really important to achieve a perfect Pu-Erh experience: Please wash the tea! Swing the leaves briefly with boiling water to remove dust and natural residues. After this preparation you can pour the tea again and again with boiling water, you can influence the brewing time according to your personal taste.

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Tea blends (flavoured)

Already in the Chinese Song Dynasty, resourceful tea masters tried their hand at mixtures and flavoured varieties. Inspired by this delicious tradition, we only use first-class basic teas for our hybrid tea specialities, which are carefully refined with purely natural spices, flowers and essential oils.

Some of these additives - such as rose, jasmine or a pine wood fire for the smoky Lapsang Souchong - have enjoyed long-term popularity and still give the hybrid tea specialities their characteristic note today.

However, the refined beginnings of modern aromas and blends are often no longer to be tasted. For example, industrially produced teas are often mixed with artificial flavours to mask the lower leaf quality.

At P & T, on the other hand, we honour the original tradition. For our tea blends and flavoured teas we only use first-class basic teas, which are carefully refined with precious, purely natural essential oils, spices or petals.

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Various fruits, leaves, blossoms and roots have always formed the medicinal chamber of humanity. Strictly speaking, they are not teas but herbal infusions. Nevertheless, we appreciate these purely natural products as a pleasantly caffeine-free pleasure, whose richness in taste also comes with numerous healthy nutrients.

In the search for effective remedies and strengthening potions, mankind has always made use of the plant world - from mate in South America to lavender and mint in the Mediterranean region to rooibos in South Africa. The first written mention of herbology can be found in the early Chinese Pharmacopeia (around 3,000 BC) - a work on the art of healing attributed to the same emperor and "divine farmer" Shennong, who according to tradition also discovered the wonderful benefits of the tea tree.

Although the preparation of fruits, leaves, blossoms and roots is called tea in normal usage, the leaves of the tea plant Camellia sinensis are strictly speaking herbal infusions.

Nevertheless, we appreciate these purely natural products as a pleasantly caffeine-free pleasure, whose richness in taste also comes with numerous healthy nutrients.

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