What is tea?
Tea is an aromatic beverage. Its preparation involves pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves. These leaves are from an evergreen shrub native to East Asia. It is the first widely consumed drink in the world. Second only to water. The varying types of tea serve all kinds of taste palates.
Tea takes its origin from Southwest China, where it served as a medicinal drink. Tea commercialization and large scale production didn’t start until the 17th century.
On the other hand, herbal tea is not from the tea plant. It is from infusions of fruit, leaves, or other parts of the plant.
1-Place of origin
There are different types of tea based on its place of origin.
East Asia is home to tea plants with its origination from the borderlands of north Burma and southwestern China. According to its place of origin, tea classifies as follows:
- Chinese (small leaf) tea
- Chinese Western Yunnan Assam (large leaf) tea
- Indian Assam (large leaf) tea and
- Chinese Southern Yunnan Assam (large leaf) tea
2-Method of processing
The different types of tea based on its processing:
- White: wilted and unoxidized;
- Yellow: unwilted and unoxidized
- Green: unwilted and unoxidized
- Oolong: wilted or bruised, and partially oxidized;
- Black: wilted or crushed, and fully oxidized.
- Post-fermented (Dark): fermented or composted green tea
These tea types often have different names depending on the locality of consumption.
3-Based on nomenclature
True Teas Vs. Herbal tea
An evergreen shrub native to East Asia gives true tea, and herbal teas are infusions. Substances like steeping spices, herbs, and roots in hot water make herbal teas. These ingredients combine with real tea to give flavored teas.
True teas are from the leaves of plant Camellia sinensis. Therefore, tea made from any other plants is not technically true teas. Green, white, oolong and black tea are the only real teas. Knowing the tea type lets you know the contents of the tea you are having and, accordingly, its effect on your body.
Preparation of different tea
Black tea brews at a temperature of over 90 °C. Therefore, its making is at or near the boiling point of water (99°C). Most other regions in the world prefer actively boiling water to make their tea. However, a couple of minutes of brewed tea is of taste in the western areas of the world. Also, black tea is used to make masala chai or spiced tea.
In comparison to black tea, green tea is milder in strength and taste. Soaking of the tea leaves in the water of around 80 to 85 °C gives green tea. The bitterness increases proportionally to the time it spends in water and temperature of the water as well. In other words, hotter, the water bitter the taste. Likewise, with the time leaves spend in the water.
Here is an article about white tea benefits vs. Green tea benefits
Traditionally, Oolong tea brewed in purple clay teapots. Heating of the brewing vessel occurs first, after which the water pouring takes place. At around 82 to 96 °C, the tea is ready. Oolong tea, like green tea, can be brewed multiple times from the same leaves. But unlike green tea, its taste seemingly improves with reuse.
4-Cold brew tea
The cooled water is used to make a cold brew tea. The use of hot or boiling water does not take place when making a cold brew tea. Besides cooled water, room temperature water is also handy. However, making a cold brew tea requires longer steeping time to extract the key components, and produces a different flavor palate too.
Cold brews use about 1.5 times more tea leaves than the amount used for hot steeping and need to be refrigerated for 4–10 hours.
Cold-brew tea may warrant the growth and consumption of unwanted bacteria that may be present on the tea leaves. This can cause unwarranted illnesses as a result. In hot brew, this does not happen because of boiling.
In conclusion, cold-brew might not be the best thing for your health.
Butter tea is native to the Himalayan regions. It is a popular beverage in areas such as Tibet and Bhutan. The making of butter tea involves boiling and straining of tea leaves first. The addition of butter and salt follows this. Following this is the churning of the resultant tea for 5-15 minutes. Butter tea can be made with milk too. Unlike most other teas, sugar is not used for butter tea.
6-Pulled tea (Pouring from a height)
Pouring tea from different heights alter the flavor of the tea due to varying degrees of aeration. This act of pouring the tea not only enhances the taste of the drink but also allows for the cooling of the beverage for immediate consumption.
In India, the pouring of milk to the black tea and then pouring the mix from one cup to another is a trend. This allows for the mix to take place properly and, additionally, makes it creamier for consumption. This act of pouring the tea looks like the tea is being pulled from one cup to the other, thus its name.
There are all types of tea for all kinds of weather.