- Tea, Tea wonderful tea
- let's have a cuppa. Take tea and smile!
Camellia Sinensis is
of the Evergreen Family with the Chinese and Japanese varieties capable of
withstanding very cold temperatures.
Camellia Assamica - a
more tropical variety, grows much larger, more tree like than bush. ·
Tastes & quality levels are created by climate, soil, altitude &
the all important processing.
The main kinds of
tea: Black · White ·
Scented · Compressed · Green · Oolong
is the green
tea leaf that has been fermented / oxidized.
White tea is the new buds plucked before opening
Scented is done in
Compressed done in China since the Tang dynasty, small versions for
Oolong tea is the same leaf with the centre left green & just the
outside edge of the leaf being fermented.
·Made up of
amino-acids, carbohydrates, mineral ions, caffeine & polyphenolic
compounds · 75 to 80% water drops to approx. 3% after processing
· Estimated caffeine levels per 6 oz. cup are: 8.3 mg. for green tea 12.5
mg. for oolong tea 25 to 112 mg. in black tea 60 to 120 mg. on coffee
· High quality teas are
hand picked and hand processed & harvesters aren't allowed garlic or
onion so as not to taint the highly absorbent tea leaves.
· Mechanical harvesting affects the quality of the pickings so those are
frequently used for blendings or tea bags.
· Flushes (new shoots appear), several in hotter climates - Second
flushes = finest teas.
· Different grading systems are used in different countries:
- India uses a lettering system, eg. FTGFOP=Finest Tippy Golden Flowery
- Japan uses the terms "Sencha, Bancha, Matcha, and numbers
- Formosa (Taiwan) uses the terms "Choice, Fancy, Superior
- China uses special specific names and grade numbers. The terminology is
based on the processed leaf size = O.P. refers to the size & cut of
the black tea leaf.
determines the price in the self-drinking teas.
· Blends are reliant on tea-tasters & their talents. Tasting requires
a 5 year apprenticeship & they make their
judgements on the appearance
of the leaf before & after brewing, the liquor colour and of course,
through slurps & spits into a spittoon on wheels.