All Tea comes from ONE plant - Camellia sinensis
....yet there are many different varietals & cultivars of the plant. ALL tea is withered. Withering is moisture evaporating from the leaf. Following is a simplified explanation of production.
WHITE TEA is picked, withered & bake dried.
GREEN TEA is picked then steamed to neutralize active enzymes. After steaming, the leaf is withered then manipulated to achieve the desired leaf finish, then steamed again or pan fired
YELLOW TEA undergoes something similar to green tea manufacturing but after pan-frying, there is a slow oxidation process where the buds & leaves are wrapped in paper or cloth, then left to dry naturally for several hours. The process, called "Sealing the Yellow", is repeated sometimes for days.
OOLONG TEA is basket tossed after withering. There is no steaming, as the enzymes need to remain active. Basket tossing bruises the edges & exposes the leaf's enzymes to oxygen initiating oxidation. Oxidation is the process that contributes to the flavor profiles of Oolong & Black tea. After PARTIAL oxidation occurs, between 15% to 75%, the leaf is then pan fired.
BLACK TEA is roll broken after withering; there is no steaming as the enzymes need to remain active. Roll breaking cracks the surface of the leaf exposing the leaf's enzymes to oxygen initiating oxidation. Oxidation is the process that contributes to the flavor profiles of Oolong & Black tea. After FULL oxidation occurs, the leaf is then finished with forced hot air.
PU-ERH (DARK TEA) is made from large leaves of the Dayeh varietal. Pu-erh is either Green (raw) or Black (cooked) ie Oxidized. Black (cooked) tea is fully oxidized, fired & then often aged in specially designed caves or climate controlled rooms during & after undergoing a "composting" procedure through which helpful Bacteria growth is encouraged by introducing moisture to drying piles of tea leaves which are regularly turned & tended. Green Pu-erh is oxidized slightly before being fired & then oxidizes completely slowly over time.
TISANES are not TEA (Camellia sinensis). Tisanes do not contain tea (Camellia sinensis). Tisanes contain HERBS, SPICES, or FRUIT to create their flavor profiles. Most Tisanes are CAFFEINE FREE, that is NO CAFFEINE - NATURALLY!