What is tea?
Tea is Camellia Sinensis (thea, or camellia, chinensis). It is a plant, but not all plants can be made into tea. The only leaves that can be used to make tea are the ones that come from the Camellia sinensis plant.
There are three related species of this plant: the Chinese tea plant, which has small leaves and is known scientifically as C. sinensis sinensis; the Indian Assam plant, which has larger leaves and resembles a tree more than a shrub; and another tree-like plant that comes from Cambodia and is known scientifically as C. sinensis assamica subspecies lasiocalyx. Additionally, hybrids are cultivated, with the Cambodian plant serving primarily as a source for hybrid creation.
What are the types of tea?
White, green, oolong, and black are all names for different types of tea. The kinds are allusions to the various stages of processing and oxidation. Consider a leaf that has been plucked or has fallen off of any shrub for the most straightforward explanation. The leaf goes through a series of colour transitions before becoming completely dark. When it comes to tea, the oxidation process is inhibited at a number of different phases.
- non-oxidized (White)
- non-oxidized (Green)
- semi-oxidized (Oolong)
- fully oxidized (Black)
What are the grades of tea?
Some of the grades of tea are as follows:
Black Tea Grades
- Flowery Orange Pekoe
- Broken Orange Pekoe
- Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings
- Broken Pekoe
Green Tea Grades
There is no uniform grading terminology for green tea. Chinese greens are graded differently depending on where they come from. Some terms that you may find with regard to Chinese green teas are:
- Young Hyson
- Oolong Tea Grades
Grading for oolongs changes from Fanciest or Extra Fancy (best) to Common (worst). Unlike other grading systems, this one actually rates the quality of the drink you can get from the leaves. The top grades are Fanciest or Extra Fancy, Fancy, and Extra Choice (or Extra Fine).
What are the Major Tea-Producing Countries Around the World?
- SRI LANKA
There are more than 50 tea-growing countries around the world.
How Do I Store Tea?
Keep it dry and out of the light. The best container is a metal box with a double lid or a canister/caddy with a seal and is light-proof. Loose-leaf tea keeps better than tea packed in tins or boxes because it has a larger bulk. Some tea comes wrapped in tinfoil and boxed, if you expect to use it all in a month or two, it is all right to leave it in the original bag. Oolong tea (with 2-3 percent moisture compared to 5-7 percent in others) keeps longer. If tea gets damp you can spread it out in a pan and dry it in the oven. Store tea in a cool, dry place, preferably well ventilated. Tea absorbs other odors easily, so never keep it in the cabinet with spices nor sitting on a counter near onions or garlic. Avoid placing tea in the refrigerator or freezer. Once the tea is tainted by an outside odor, it cannot be salvaged.
Tea should not be placed in a refrigerator since the change in temperatures when the product is used could contribute to “sweating” which could lead to mold formation and deterioration of quality. Similarly, tea should be allowed to breathe so that excess moisture may safely evaporate. Shipping tea in airtight containers for short periods of time is an acceptable practice that serves to protect the fragile product from harmful outside contaminants.
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