Camellia Sinensis! Any idea what this is? Well, I can tell you this much that it is something that most of us need at least once in a day to keep our senses calm & active. Didn’t get yet? I am talking about the humble and good old TEA. The beverage that is admired for its plentiful of health benefits & therapeutic properties has been around since the ancient days. The above-mentioned term is the Latin name for the tea plant from where all kinds of teas that we know of come from. And yes, we are going to discuss ‘all things Tea’ in this article.
There are thousands of varieties of tea available each with their own individual characteristics. Among these, the teas that are made from leaf, root, flower or fruit are called herbal teas, and the ones which come from the traditional tea plant are the “true teas”. Even though coming from the same plant, true teas are categorised into four major categories; Black, White, Green, and Oolong, based on the level of oxidisation the leaves go through.
Oxidisation is a natural process during which the water evaporates out of the leaves and makes them absorb more oxygen from the atmosphere, resulting in changed colour and flavour of the leaves. So, when it comes to the categorization, the less a tea is oxidised, the lighter it will be in taste and aroma.
Black tea is something which we are all used to and is a fully oxidised one. As we know it is dark brown or black in colour, it has the most robust taste of all the teas and has higher caffeine content. Black tea is rich in antioxidants such as theaflavins and thearubigens which have cardiovascular benefits and can also keep the cholesterol level under control.
Green tea is no alien to us. It is the fastest growing segments of the tea market due to its popularity surrounding the abundant health benefits it has to offer. As a result of minimal oxidisation green tea retains its vital colour and it has a grassy & fresh taste and aroma. To prevent oxidation, the leaves are pan tossed or steamed. It is rich in antioxidants and aids weight-loss.
Oolong is a partially oxidised tea with characteristics that stand in between green and black teas. Mature and larger leaves are used to make this tea which has a fruity or flowery taste and aroma. This tea is popularly known as the slimming tea because of its metabolism boosting properties.
White teas are the most delicate and healthiest of all types of tea made from the baby leaves and hand harvested with no oxidation at all. To avoid any oxidation process to take place a delicate method of drying is carried out under careful supervision. When brewed properly, at a low temperature and short steeping time, white tea produces fewer amounts of caffeine with delicate flavours and aroma.
Puer tea is a fermented and aged black tea produced in the Yunnan province of China. It’s known and prized for its medicinal properties. Due to the hidden complexities involved in the production of this tea as it’s still a closely guarded secret in China, it’s considered the most mysterious varieties of all tea. The tea has an earthy, deep and rich flavour with no bitterness at all.
Yellow tea is a rare variety of tea again produced only in China which is similar to green tea in appearance although doesn’t have the grassy flavour of green tea. The production of yellow tea has a longer duration and it has a limited harvesting time as well which makes this variety and expensive one.