All Tea is made from one plant call Camellia Sinensis. The Camellia sinensis sinensis sub-species is native to Southeast China. The plants can live for up to 100 years or more and the leaves are harvested year round. Another sub-species called Camellia sinensis assamica is native to India and all tea consumed in the world comes from these two type of plants.
TEA is being group in to 6 Groups:-
- GREEN TEA (Non-fermented)
- WHITE TEA (Non-fermented)
- YELLOW TEA (Slightly-fermented)
- RED TEA (Fermented)
- OOLONG TEA (Semi-fermented)
- BLACK TEA (Post-fermented)
- The leaves are simply picked, then dried and then packed like White Tea.
- The leaves may be steamed and flattened known as green tea.
- This process permits little oxidation of the leaves and retains the fresh taste.
- The flavour is developed by keeping the leaves warm and moist for a few hours which turns them blacks the chemicals in the leaves break them down by reacting with the air.
- The leaves are then dried by a variety of methods which affects the taste and then graded and pacakaged.
- This Tea can be kept further for more stronger flavour thru years of fermentation.
- The process is the same as the fermented type with the time of oxidation adjusted to make the tea taste more green and bring out certain taste characteristics.
- After processing it may be compressed and stored in cool dry cellars, for many years before it is made available for purchase.
- This aging has further mellowing effect and adds complexity to the flavour.
- A distinctive flavour is imparted to the leaves by exposing them to the smoke from different types of burning wood.
- Smoked teas can range from lightly to heavily smoked.
SCENTED OR FLAVOURED TEA
- These come in 2 types: natural and artificial and there are high or low grades of each type.
- High grade Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea uses jasmine flowers which are overlaid on top of the tea leaves during processing,imparting a delicate flowery flavour.
- Tea flavoured with lychee fruit is also very popular and there are some high grade teas of this type available.
- Beware of scented teas which use low grade leaves and artifical flavours.