All tea from the Camellia Sinensis plant is naturally caffeinated.
Black tea undergoes a full fermentation process involving of four basic steps - withering, rolling, fermenting, and firing (or drying). First, the plucked leaves are spread out to wither. The withered leaves are then rolled, in order to release the chemicals within the leaf that are essential to its final color and flavor. The rolled leaves are spread out once more to absorb oxygen (oxidize), causing the leaves to turn from green to coppery red. Finally, the oxidized leaves are fired in order to arrest fermentation, turning the leaf black and giving it the recognizable tea scent.
Green tea is often referred to as "unfermented" tea. The freshly-picked leaves are steamed immediately after harvesting to prevent oxidation, then go through withering and firing. This allows the dry leaves to remain green, hence "Green tea". Green tea renders a pale green to golden-colored brew with an aroma ranging between grassy and smoky. It has a more delicate taste than fermented tea , such as Black and Oolong. Reports of health benefits of Green tea have caused the tea to soar in popularity in recent years.
Oolong tea is generally referred to as "semi-fermented" tea and is principally manufactured in China and Taiwan (often called Red or Formosa tea. For the manufacture of oolongs, the leaves are wilted in direct sunlight, then shaken in bamboo baskets to lightly bruise the edges. Next, the leaves are spread out to dry until the surface of the leaf turns slightly yellow. Oolongs are always whole leaf teas, never broken by rolling. The least fermented of oolong teas, almost green in appearance, is called Pouchong.
Pu-erh tea, unique to China, is grown and picked throughout the year, unlike other teas that require a dormant season. Although dark Pu-erh tastes much like black tea, it falls into a category of its own. These teas are not allowed to dry completely. They are composted, allowing friendly bacteria to grow. The tea is then aged, in special underground rooms or caves, adding to its unique character. These aged teas are prized and can be found in vintages, like wine, some dating back 40 to 50 or even 100 years!
White tea is produced on a very limited scale in China and India. It is the least processed of its many varieties. The new tea buds are plucked before they open and simply allowed to dry. The curled-up buds have a silvery appearance and produce a pale and very delicate cup of tea.
Flavored tea is created when additional flavorings are mixed with the leaf as a final stage before the tea is packed. For Jasmine tea, whole jasmine blossoms are added to green or oolong tea. Earl Grey tea is flavored with Bergamot