There are thousands of different kinds of tea available, and the great majority of customers do not have a clear understanding of which kind of tea is which and the distinctions that exist between the many sorts of tea.
Where does tea come from?
Tea may be found all over the globe, but China is where it first gained widespread popularity. Today, Japan, India, and Sri Lanka are the world’s leading producers of tea (Ceylon). More recently, the tea businesses in Kenya and South Africa have grown to be very spectacular, and a growing number of nations, particularly in Asia and South America, are joining the mix. There are some nations that are synonymous with certain varieties of tea; for instance, Japan is well-known for its green tea, while India is known for its black tea. In spite of this, and despite the fact that certain kinds of tea are better suited to particular temperatures and soils, the vast majority of tea varieties are cultivated in each of the main tea-producing nations.
How is tea processed?
The many kinds of tea each provide their own distinctive flavours, scents, and experiences thanks to this process. Tea is selected (either by machine, which is commonly used in tea bags, or by hand, which is often marketed as loose leaf tea), and then it is dried. This is the basic process that tea goes through. It is the differences in where the tea is grown, at what time of the year it is picked, where on the bush the leaves are picked from, how it is dried, and how it is further processed (some of the finest hand-crafted oolong and pu-erh teas go through ten or more stages to completion) that determine the type of tea that is produced as well as its personality and flavour.
Is it actually tea?
The camellia sinensis plant, sometimes known as the “tea plant” or the “tea bush,” is the only source of “genuine” tea. There are several varieties of tea plants, each with its own distinct characteristics, and even more approaches of harvesting and preparing the leaves. Because of these distinctions, there are many varieties of tea, all of which may be placed, more or less, into one of the five categories that follow:
White tea is made from tea leaves that have not been cured or oxidised, resulting in a brew that is clear in colour and tastes fresh. White tea is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant in the same way as green, oolong, and black tea are. There is some evidence that the caffeine content of some white teas may be slightly higher than that of some green teas. White tea typically contains tea buds and young tea leaves, both of which have been found to contain higher levels of caffeine than older tea leaves. This finding lends credence to the notion that the caffeine content of some white teas may be slightly higher than that of some green tea White tea, in comparison to other forms of tea, also has much greater quantities of antioxidants. A specialty of Fujian province in China, the leaves come from a number of different tea plant varieties. The Da Bai (Large White), Xiao Bai (Small White), Narcissus, and Chaicha shrubs are the ones that are the most sought for. White teas may be divided into a variety of grades, each of which is determined by a separate set of criteria regarding the plucking and selection process.
Camellia sinensis, the plant that yields black and green tea, is used to make green tea. The manufacturing of green tea allows for very little oxidation, which gives it a grassy, astringent flavour. Although it is believed to have originated in China, green tea is more often associated with other nations, particularly Japan. In the Western world, where black tea has been the dominant kind for centuries, green tea is quickly gaining popularity. There are several distinct types of green tea, all of which are distinguished from one another in significant ways by the varying growing conditions, processing methods, and times of harvest. There have been many scientific and medical studies conducted on green tea over the past few decades to determine the extent of its long-purported health benefits. Some evidence suggests that people who drink green tea on a regular basis may have lower chances of developing certain types of cancer and heart disease. [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [C It has also been suggested that drinking green tea might help with the management of weight reduction.
Oolong tea, sometimes called Wulong tea, is a traditional Chinese tea, popularly served in Chinese restaurants. With oxidation of 10% to 70%, it is usually somewhere between green and black in color and taste. It lacks the rosy, sweet aroma of black tea but it likewise does not have the stridently grassy vegetal notes that typify green tea. It is commonly brewed to be strong, with the bitterness leaving a sweet aftertaste. Several subvarieties of oolong, including those produced in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian and in the central mountains of Taiwan, are among the most famous Chinese teas. Oolong tea leaves are processed in two different ways. Some oolong teas finish with long, curly leaves, while some oolong teas are rolled into a ball-like form similar to gunpowder green tea. The former method of processing is the older of the two.
Black tea is more oxidized than oolong, green, and white tea. Black tea is generally stronger tasting and contains more caffeine than other teas. Two principal strains of the species are used, the small-leaved Chinese variety (C. sinensis sinensis), which is also used for green and white teas, and the large-leaved Assamese plant (C. sinensis assamica), which was traditionally only used for black tea, although in recent years some green has been produced.
Black tea is grown extensively in China, India, and Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Kenya, Indonesia and several other countries and is the most familiar tea around the world. Black tea is usually used as the base for many varieties of flavored tea.
Pu-erh tea is available as loose leaf or more commonly, and famously, as cakes or bricks of compacted tea. Pu-erh tea is made from a “large leaf” variety of the tea plant and named after Pu’er county near Simao, Yunnan, China. Pu-erh tea is produced as either raw/green (sheng) or ripened/cooked (shou), depending on processing method or aging. Sheng pu-erh can be roughly classified on the tea oxidation scale as a green tea, and the shou or aged-green variants as post-fermented tea (like black teas). Unlike other teas that should ideally be consumed shortly after production, pu-erh can be drunk immediately or aged for many years; pu-erh teas are often now classified by year and region of production much like wine vintages. The best vintages fetch huge sums at auction; tea connoisseurs and speculators pay thousands of dollars for older pu-erh cakes.
Herbal Tea and Flavored Tea
“Tisanes”, which are usually referred to as Herbal Teas, don’t actually contain any tea – the term “tea” is used here to describe infusions of herbs, flowers, and fruits. Herbal infusions can be delicious, but if the product does not contain tea (camellia sinensis) then it will not give the health benefits associated with tea. However, many of the herbs traditionally used in herbal teas have health benefits of their own. Examples of herbal teas include Rooibos (or Red Tea, Red Bush), Yerba Mate, floral-herbal teas with chamomile, chrysanthemum, and rosebuds, herb teas made from mint, ginger, and lemongrass, and many fruit-flavored herbal tisanes.
Infusions that do contain real tea, as well as herbs or flowers, are known as Flavored Teas or Scented Teas. This includes the popular Jasmine Green Teas from China, Earl Grey flavored with exotic Bergamot Oil, Indian chai tea, flambouyant Display Teas, and many flavored green teas, and particularly fruit-flavored black teas.
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