Red tea (hóng chá) was named by the color of the infused liquid or the red edges of the oxidized leaves, as opposed to the color of the main body of the processed tea leaves. Many also call it “black tea“, but they are different types in Chinese tea industry. Red tea is a completely oxidized (fermented) tea. Black tea is a partially oxidized tea (similar to oolong tea), and natural oxidation continues during storage.
Chinese black tea (hēi chá) was named by the color of the oxidized leaves. Black tea is partially oxidized, and natural oxidation continues during storage – which also makes the taste better. Black tea can be compressed to make compressed tea or tea bricks. Depending on where and how it is grown, and how long it has aged, brewed black tea differs in color and flavor.
Yellow tea (huáng chá) is processed similarly to green tea, but with a slower drying phase, where the damp tea leaves are allowed to sit and turn yellow. The tea generally has a very yellow-green appearance and a smell different from both white tea and green tea. Similarities in taste can still be drawn between yellow, green and white teas.
White tea (bái chá) is the least processed form of tea, with an even greater antioxidant activity than green tea. The leaves are picked and harvested before they open fully, when the buds are still covered by fine white hair. Hence the name. White tea is similar to green tea, in that it’s undergone very little processing and no fermentation.