Tea is available in many varieties. And, flavored teas, which are a number of the most popular teas, are made from every variety of tea that can be produced. The main aspect in obtaining a delicious flavored tea is the quality of the tea base.
Teas are grown in thousands of tea gardens throughout the world, and some are better than others. To put it simply, the best tea gardens are those who pay attention to the important points that go into growing various kinds of tea. And, the best tea comes from the best tea gardens.
Types of tea differ primarily in how they’re harvested and produced. All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, nevertheless the variations in harvesting and processing the tea gives this one plant a variety of flavors.
Black tea, which is the absolute most commonly consumed tea in the Western world, is fermented tea. The tea leaves are plucked, dried and then fermented to turn them a strong red. (This is why black tea is called red tea in nearly all of Asia.) Black tea is a very healthy beverage. However, the fermentation procedure that black tea undergoes changes the anti-oxidant levels in the tea leaves, and reduces some of the health benefits, particularly when you compare them to other tea varieties.
Green tea is left unfermented. The leaves are withered and dried and then graded and packaged. This simple processing leaves green tea extract in a very natural state. The leaves brew up to a green or pale amber color and possess a natural, sometimes grassy, flavor. Green tea has been revered for the health benefits.
Because green tea extract undergoes so little processing, the tea’s anti-oxidants are left inside their natural state. These anti-oxidants have been shown to work at preventing serious illnesses like heart problems and cancer and at slowing the aging process.
White tea can also be unfermented, so it’s the exact same anti-oxidants and health great things about green tea. However, white tea is different from green tea extract because it’s harvested so early. White tea leaves are harvested only in early spring, ahead of the buds have even opened, and while they’re still covered in a superb white hair. This early harvest gives the tea a really light, sweet and delicate flavor. White tea is harvested just annually, which makes it the rarest of all teas.
Oolong tea is a semi-fermented tea, somewhere between a natural and black tea. The fermentation time varies from country to country, but is significantly shorter than the fermentation amount of black teas. Oolong teas also retain a large percentage of the natural anti-oxidants, making them a really healthy tea, as well. In particular, oolong tea is considered to be a very effective weight loss supplement.
Each of these teas has different processing requirements, but all must originate from a carefully tended tea garden.
The very first work of the tea gardener’s year begins in February or March, once the tea plants are pruned. Enough time of pruning, along with enough time of the very first plucking, varies by climate.
The very first harvest begins while the tea plants are ready. The best tea gardens still pluck the leaves manually, so that they’ll choose only the leaves that are truly ready for processing. The leaves are withered first, sometimes in the sun, and sometimes in sheds, based upon the area. White teas are often withered right in the fields.
Next, the tea must be processed. This process can be very different based upon the tea variety. Black teas are fermented at this time, where as green teas are steamed or fired next to stop fermentation from occurring. Oolong teas are bruised to start the fermentation process and then fashioned into a ball utilizing a cloth sack. They are shaken or tumbled regularly throughout the fermentation process and checked regularly so that they are allowed to ferment the ideal amount of time. 花茶 Once fermentation is complete, the leaves are steamed or fired to stop the fermentation process.
Steaming or drying the leaves must be handled carefully to produce the right flavor. Next the tea must be finished. This finishing process includes sorting the leaves according to grade and sometimes, firing them or roasting them one final time before they’re sent off to be packaged.
For flavored teas, the flavorings are added only at that point. Many tea gardeners make flavored teas only using flavors that they have use of inside their area. For instance, much of the world’s jasmine tea is manufactured in China, where in fact the jasmine blossoms are the greatest and most fragrant in the world.
The tea must be properly stored in order to maintain flavor. It is crucial that tea leaves be stored in airtight containers to ensure that no moisture is let in.
During summer time, green tea extract growers may produce a second, third, and sometimes even fourth harvest. Tea gardens in a few areas and producing some varieties will continue to harvest tea until frost. However, it’s the very first harvest of the year that creates the best quality green tea. Subsequent harvests will be a lowered grade of tea.
During summer time, the tea gardener will even do fight with weeds and insects. Since the best tea gardens are organic – meaning no herbicides or pesticides are employed, keeping the gardens without any weeds and pests can be very labor intensive.
Autumn is when tea trees go through their heaviest amount of growth. During this time period, gardeners will amend and aerate the soil and fertilize the trees. By October, the tea trees should be pruned again before winter months comes. Pruning must be carefully timed to ensure that the spring buds can look at the ideal time.
During winter, tea gardeners must pay attention to their young tea trees, as many may need protection from the cold. Additionally, many tea farmers will prepare new areas for gardening and plant new tea trees if the weather permits.
Quality tea gardens are labor intensive and require great skill to maintain. It’s only the tea gardeners that have this skill, patience and tenacity that produce the best teas.