YOU CARED TO KNOW ABOUT TEA
(These materials presented
here have been collected from various source just for the
sake of information.)
Tea is a drink made by infusing
leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis, or Thea sinensis)
in hot water. The name 'tea' is also used to refer to the
leaves themselves; and it is also the name of a mid- to
late-afternoon meal in the British Isles and associated
countries, at which tea (the drink) is served along with
The Word Tea
The "word tea" in most of mainland China
(and also in Japan) is 'cha'. (Hence its frequency in names
of Japanese teas: Sencha, Hojicha, etc.) But the word for
tea in Fujian province is 'te' (prounounced approximately
'tay'). As luck would have it, the first mass marketers
of tea in the West were the Dutch, whose contacts were in
Fujian. They adopted this name, and handed it on to most
other European countries. The two exceptions are Russia
and Portugal, who had independent trade links to China.
The Portuguese call it 'cha', the Russians 'chai'. Other
areas (such as Turkey, South Asia and the Arab countries)
have some version of 'chai' or 'shai'. 'Tay' was the pronunciation
when the word first entered English, and it still is in
Scotland and Ireland. For unknown reasons, at some time
in the early eighteenth century the English changed their
pronunciation to 'tee'. Virtually every other European language,
however, retains the original pronunciation of 'tay'.
There are about three thousand variation of tea
depending upon its plantation, genetic "parentage",
processing, blending etc But all tea comes from one plant
i.e Camellia sinensis (This plant is a bush but if allowed
to grow wild, it can reach the height of about thirty feet.)
In general the tea can be categorized into three main categories
i.e green, black, and oolong. There are, of course, many
different varieties within these three main categories.
The major differences between them are a result of the different
processing methods they undergo. Black teas undergo several
hours of oxidation (Fermentation), oolongs receive less
oxidation or are semi-fermented, and green teas are not
oxidized at all.
The preparation of Black tea involves hours of oxidation.
All tea comes from tropical or subtropical climates. Tea
plants will flourish where it is warm and where rainfall
is heavy. While the rainy seasons are vital to the survival
of the tea bush, the best teas are produced during the dry
season. However, while the plant grows best in hot climates,
the best quality tea is made in the cooler climates at altitudes
of 3,000 to 7,000 feet. The slower growth of the tea leaves
at high altitudes produce more flavorful tea. Black tea,
currently accounts for approximately seventy percent of
world tea consumption. Popular variations such as English
Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Darjeeling, Ceylon, Assam, and
Keemun are all black teas. Many studies have indicated that
black tea may possess some of the healthy properties associated
with green tea, although the evidence is not as strong.
More research is needed to determines black tea's role in
Green tea is not fermented or oxidized at all;
the freshly harvested leaves are rolled and fired immediately.
As a result, green tea usually has more of a vegetative
or herbaceous quality than blacks or oolongs. Most greens
tea produces a greenish-gold liquor. A cup of green tea
is generally much lighter than other teas. While Asian cultures
have believed for centuries that green tea has properties
beneficial to human health, modern science is just now discovering
that this may be true. The green tea is more valued for
its medicinal benefits.
Oolong tea, which is partially fermented (oxidized)
tea, accounts for less than three percent of world consumption.
Some tea enthusiasts insist that Oolong tea, which usually
has a delicate flavor, is the champagne of all teas.
There are different
grading schemes for tea. Some of the well known grades are:
Flowery Orange Pekoe (peck-oh),
Broken Orange Pekoe
Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings