Tea Craft: The Different Types of Tea

It’s remarkable that so many different types of ‘cup of tea’ come from the same plant - the Camelia Sinensis.

Black and green tea are the most drunk and well known. But added to these two giants: white tea, yellow tea, purple tea, puerh tea, oolong tea, flowering teas.

The fundamental difference between these teas is how the leaf is processed – see our Stories about the different type of teas.

Within each type of tea, there are so many further variations in flavours and colours - not only because of different processing methods, but also because of the ‘terroir’ – the local natural environment. Factors include altitude, climate, soil minerals, water source, cultivation methods and not forgetting – brewing method!


Vanilla Infused Black Tea Pouch 100g

Net Weight: 100g

A naturally sweet Sri Lankan Orange Pekoe black tea infused with fine Sri Lankan vanilla pods for a nuanced yet distinctive medium-bodied tea. Works well with or without milk and sugar.

The East India Company - Lifestyle


Our Vanilla Infused Black Tea is a broken loose leaf tea from the highland central area of Sri Lanka, blended with vanilla pod pieces and natural vanilla extract. It's a medium/light-bodied black tea with natural sweet notes.

The black tea grade is a FBOP. The FOP part means 'flowery orange pekoe', which denotes two leaves and a bud ['flowery'] in black tea grading language. 'B' stands for broken, indicating that the leaf is no longer whole following processing, and has been broken or cut - which means it will brew a little faster.
Vanilla has become a classic accompaniment to black tea, but started life on the other side of world, in the Americas. It was cultivated by the Aztecs; Montezuma himself liked it in his drinking chocolate! Bought back to Europe by the Spanish and later cultivated in Java, it prospered too in Sri Lanka where the tropical rainforest was well-suited to the growing of orchids - of which vanilla is a type!

We use whole Sri Lankan vanilla pods (actually the unripe fruit of the plant), and natural vanilla extract to flavour our Sri Lankan black tea, for a nuanced yet distinctive flavoured black tea.
A caramel, amber-coloured liquor.

An unmistakeable soft and sweet aroma and flavour on a medium-bodied black tea, that lingers pleasantly in the mouth.

Our artisan Tea Master Lalith hails from Sri Lanka and he loves nothing more than being able to bring together the very best in Sri Lankan ingredients.
This high-grown black tea tends to hold its clarity very well when cooled (whereas some black teas can become quite cloudy), so it makes a pleasant iced tea with a low astringency and a natural sweetness, for a very healthy alternative on a hot day.

It's best made hot and a little stronger than normal and then allowed to cool. Add crushed ice, a split vanilla pod from your store cupboard and drink it black or with a splash of coconut milk for a cooler with a difference.




Brewing Time



Black Tea, Natural Vanilla Pods, Vanilla Essence (Extract)


Store in a cool, dry place avoiding direct sunlight and strong odours. Once opened, store in an airtight container and consume within 3 months.


What makes Black Tea black?

It all starts with a small ‘just-plucked’ green tea leaf, usually about 5 cm long, delivered fresh by the picker to the local factory for processing. Whilst varying by region, there are always 5 core steps to making a Black Tea.

Step 1 - ‘Withering’: the leaves are spread out in warm air for up to a day to reduce the water content by about 20%. The leaves wilt and lose some of the vibrant green colour.

Step 2 - ‘Rolling’: the wilted leaves are soft and malleable and are placed in an ‘orthodox’ rolling machine. It presses the leaf and breaks down the cell walls, releasing the enzymes required to start the oxidation process. Sometimes the leaf is broken more by a rotavane ‘mincing’ machine that produces smaller grades of tea. If a very small teabag grade is required, a Cut-Tea-Curl machine is used.
Step 3 - ‘Oxidation’ [not fermentation, which requires a microbe involvement]: takes half an hour or so depending on the conditions. Chemical reactions are now creating the natural chemicals that deliver flavour and [reputed!] health benefits. The leaf darkens, just like a cut apple after a few minutes.

Step 4 - ‘Firing’: the oxidised tea is fed into a dryer at about 120 Celsius. This does 3 things - it destroys the enzymes, so oxidation stops; secondly it removes nearly all the water [about 3% remains]; and thirdly, it darkens the colour from light brown to dark to almost black, depending on the length of firing.

Step 5 - Sorting: tea exits the firing process in different sizes, which will complicate brewing - hence the last stage of the process is grading – fired tea is poured into the top of a sifting machine with different mesh sizes from top to bottom. It vibrates and the different sized tea leaves are separated as the tea travels from top to bottom, the biggest leaves being left the top.

Our spirit delivers no ordinary products

  • FAQ

    Does this tea contain caffeine and is there more or less than in coffee?
    Yes, all tea like coffee, contains caffeine. The amount in both teas and coffees does vary, depending on the type, but typically Sri Lankan black tea is lighter than other teas in caffeine content, usually between 50 and 90mg for a normally brewed 230ml serving. This compares to about 95mg for a normal cup of coffee. The best advice is to treat tea and coffee similarly if you need to manage your caffeine intake.

    I’ve heard that tea contains theanine. What is it and what does it do?
    Tea does indeed contain theanine, which is an amino acid [the building blocks of proteins]. Tea is one of only a few sources of theanine. It represents about 1% of dry weight and is at its highest concentrate in shade-grown teas like matcha and gyokuro. Whilst not yet proven in scientific studies that would permit specific health claims to be made, it is believed by many to be able to reduce mental and physical stress, promote relaxation and a sense of well-being. But not only that, it is more recently being thought to aid cognitive function. It’s one explanation for tea’s famous ability to create calm in a crisis [the Great British solution to all problems – ‘putting the kettle on’] and to stimulate when a little boost is required.

  • Delivery & Returns

    UK Standard Delivery: £3.95
    UK Next Day Delivery (mainland UK only): £9.95 (Order before 12pm)
    International Delivery is available, please see our delivery page for details. For more information and Terms & Conditions, please see our Delivery page.

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