All tea brands and styles Camellia sinensis An evergreen shrub that produces small white flowers; it grows quickly and is ready for harvesting after three years. Like wine, tea represents several broad classes, and thousands of individual kinds, styles, varietals, and blends. Black tea, Oolong tea and Green tea
Black tea Most often served in the US and UK in teabags the leaves are first withered by blowing air on them. CTC (Crush-Tear-Cut) or Orthodox.
The CTC method crushes the tea leaves, producing leaves of fannings or dust grades that are commonly used in tea bags and are processed by machines. Effective for producing an adequate product from medium and lower quality leaves of consistently dark color.
Orthodox: The withered tea leaves are heavily rolled either by hand or mechanically through the use of a cylindrical rolling table Next, the leaves are oxidized on the floor in batches or on a conveyor bed with regulated air flow. The level of oxidation determines the quality of the tea. Since oxidation begins at the rolling stage itself, the time between these stages is also a crucial factor in the quality of the tea.
Then the leaves are dried to arrest the oxidation process. Finally, the leaves are sorted into grades according to their sizes (whole leaf, brokens, fannings and dust), usually with the use of sieves.
Oolong Tea Oolong Tea is a type of semi-oxidized tea, produced in China and Taiwan. The best oolong tea is hand-picked during the spring and winter seasons and processed entirely by hand using traditional techniques.
Oolong tea exhibits aspects of both green and black teas and offers the greatest range of flavors, from the light floral green style to the sweet richness of the dark style. Oolong teas are full-bodied, smooth tasting and benefit from multiple infusions.
First the leaves are withered in direct sunlight and then shaken gently in bamboo baskets to lightly bruise the edges of the leaves. Next the leaves are air-dried in the shade until the surface of the leaf turns slightly yellow. The process of shaking and drying the leaves is repeated several times.
The oxidation period for oolong teas is less than that for black teas and depends on the type of oolong. This can vary from about 20% for a green oolong to 60% for a classic Formosa oolong.
After the desired oxidation level is reached, the leaves are panfired at high temperatures to prevent further oxidation. Due to the higher firing temperatures, oolong teas contain less moisture and have a longer shelf life than green teas.
Green tea Green Tea is the most widely produced and consumed type of tea in China and Japan. The highest quality green teas are picked during the early spring and then processed by hand. Leaves are pan fired or steamed to preserve their freshness. Rich in Vitamin C and low in caffeine.
Traditionally, green teas are withered, heated, rolled and dried. The fresh leaves are spread out on bamboo trays and exposed to sunlight or warm air for one to two hours. Then the leaves are heated to prevent oxidation and preserve freshness. Finally, the leaves are rolled into various shapes and then dried. The rolling also helps regulate the release of natural oils and flavor during steeping.
In China, green teas are often panfired in very large woks and then rolled by hand into various styles: twisted, flat, curly or balled. In Japan, the plucked leaves are quickly steamed on a bamboo tray over water or in a steaming machine, making them easier to shape. The leaves are then rolled by hand or machine before being dried.
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