The best teas
How many people in the world - so many opinions about what teas are the most delicious and healthy. In addition, to determine the best varietal tea is also difficult because there are quite a few species and varieties of this ancient drink. We will try to understand all this diversity and decide on the best varieties.
What is this plant?
Before we talk about how tea is, varieties and types of this drink, think about the plant contributing to its appearance. The tea plant is an evergreen plant, the “native” region for it is the high-mountainous regions of Tibet, northern India and China. In the modern world it is called Camellia and there are the following types:
The main difference between these species is that the Chinese camellia has small leaves and prefers the cool climate of Asian highlands, and the Assamese, with larger leaves, is the humid tropics of the north-eastern regions of India, Yunnan and Sechuan provinces in China.
The Cambodian tea plant, grown in a number of Indochina districts, is a hybrid form obtained by crossing Assamese and Chinese.Camellia Assamese in nature can grow up to 15 meters in height, but for industrial cultivation for ease of processing and collection, its growth is limited to 1.5–2 m. Young leaves and shoots, from which they make different sorts of tea, grow every five days, allowing you to collect them year-round. Features of the collection and processing of leaves of the same plant allow to obtain the following types of tea:
- the black;
- oolong (oolong).
Where is he growing?
Since tea is grown on the territory of just a few states, then besides other accepted classifications, it is divided by country of origin into:
The “youngest” tea plantations are located in Africa, in such states as Kenya, Cameroon, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe and in some other former British colonies. African teas are only black.
Approximately 10% of the total world-grown tea is produced in Ceylon, as Sri Lanka used to be called. These are mainly black teas and very little green.
In Japan, only green tea is made, and most of it goes to the domestic market, and only a small fraction is exported.
In terms of the amount of tea produced, India ranks second in the world, second only to China. Most of the manufactured products are granulated and sliced black teas and quite a bit - green. In addition, an elite tea variety such as Darjeeling is grown on the highland plantations of this country.
The undoubted leader of the tea world market is China, which supplies popular black and green teas. In addition, only in this country are made oolongs, puers, white and yellow teas.
How are they treated?
After collecting the tea leaf is treated in various ways, such as:
Depending on the processing method, different teas are obtained.
One of the main types of processing of harvested tea leaves is fermentation. After the leaves are harvested, they are slightly dried and twisted, and then laid out in a layer up to 10 cm. During the twisting process, the leaves begin to secrete juice, which oxidizes in the open air and begins to ferment at a temperature of +250C +270C. High humidity and constant access of oxygen promote enzymatic processes.By the time this process can take from several minutes to 3 hours, and to stop it, it is used to dry the sheet at high temperatures. The longer it takes, the darker the tea will be. By the time of fermentation, the teas obtained are:
- Non-fermented (green).
- Slightly fermented (white and yellow).
- Semi-fermented (various oolongs).
- Fermented (black).
- Over-fermented (pu-erh).
Let us consider in more detail each of these species.
A feature of the manufacture of such tea is that immediately after collecting the sheet is dried, thus stopping the processes of oxidation and fermentation.Green teas at the final stage of processing can:
- steamed immediately after collection and dried after rolling the sheet;
- dry under the sun.
But the most popular and common is tea, roasted at the final stage of processing. The best teas of this type:
- Dong Ting Bi Lo Chun ("Emerald Spring Spirals from Duntin").
- Xi Hu Lung Jing ("Dragon Well from Lake Xi Hu").
- "Pumpkin seeds from Liu An" (Liu An Gua Pian).
Brew green teas with soft water, heated to no more than 900With, receiving infusion dim yellowish-green color. It has a rich taste, and the aroma is memorable and bright.
For quite a long time, they were the preferred drink - only emperors of the Middle Kingdom and their confidants drank such tea, and the export of these varieties from China was punished with death penalty until the 20th century. It is produced only in the Chinese provinces of Hunan and Fujian, from high-quality raw materials - small young buds of the tea plant. Because of this, all its types are elite teas.Due to the use of different raw materials, they are divided into two groups:
- “Big”, for which buds with 2-5 leaves are collected (Ying Shan Huang Ya, Ho Shan Huang Ya);
- “Small”, for which only separate buds are harvested, are allowed with an intact and healthy adjacent tea leaf (Meng Ding Huang, Gui Shan, Mao Jian, “Silver needles from the Immortal Mountains” (Jun Shan Yin Zhen)).
They are significantly different from other types of tea, both in taste and flavor. Because of the rather high caffeine content, yellow teas invigorate perfectly, restore strength and activate the protective mechanisms of the human body.Yellow tea is known mainly for rare amateurs and experts both here and in other European countries.
It was so named after the color of the thick cannon covering the kidneys from which it is made. It is made, seeking to preserve all the natural properties of the tea leaf in almost its original form. Therefore, in the process of its production, raw materials are only withered and dried. For the production of expensive elite varieties such as "Silver Needle" (Bai Hao Yin Zhen) and "White Peony" (Bai Mu Dan), only the buds of special varieties of tea bushes are used, as well as the leaves that have just come out of them.Less expensive and more affordable white teas are also available, such as Gong Mei (“The Gift”) and Shou Mei (“The Old Man's Eyebrows”). For their production they use large and damaged and rejected for elite varieties of buds and young leaves.
White tea is very capricious and requires strict compliance with the rules of storage and transportation. However, in its healing properties, due to the combination of substances contained in its composition, it surpasses all other types of tea. Scientists have found that the Chinese reasonably consider white tea to be an elixir that gives immortality, since its constant use preserves health and prolongs youth.
This is a semi-fermented tea, it is like an intermediate between black and green tea. In the Russian market, oolongs (in the other transcription - oolongs) appeared relatively recently. Oolong tea is also called blue-green or turquoise due to the particular shade of dry tea leaves in some varieties and infusion in others. A special feature of the production of such teas is a special care with which tea leaves are twisted, trying not to break, after which they are left in the shade for fresh ferment for a slower fermentation.The peculiarity of this variety is the uneven fermentation of tea leaves, since it is strong enough along the edges, but in the center it is almost absent. Due to this, oolongs are distinguished by a special aroma and taste, combining the tartness of black and light tenderness of green tea. In addition to fermentation, oolong is flavored with various vegetable and fruit extracts, both natural and artificial. Such teas are exported, as the Chinese prefer to use the pure product without any additives.
This species belongs to the highly fermented, which means that under the influence of oxygen, 70 to 90% of the sap of tea leaves are oxidized.In China, it is traditionally called red tea, describing the color of the drink, but the Europeans consider it black, starting from the color of dry tea leaf. Today it is subdivided into the following types of tea: baikhovi (leaf), granulated, pressed, packaged.In our country, all of the listed species are known and sold, only the fermented Pu-erh, sold in the form of discs, tiles and tablets, is more known from extruded ones. Regular black tea in this form is found in regions located not far from China, for example, in Buryatia.
The most popular Chinese black teas are:
- Yunnan, better known in Europe as Dian Hong. This tea belongs to the elite and expensive varieties. It is not only amber-red, but, according to experts, the richness of the combined flavors of dried fruit and wood.
- Qi Meng Hong Cha, or Kimun, the most famous and popular type of red tea among Europeans. It is distinguished by a complex taste, in which the aroma of honey, cinnamon and pine bark heated in the sun, a light taste of dried fruit and wine perfectly “get along”. The color of the brewed beverage is garnet-red, which does not change during repeated brewing.
- Darjeeling - Elite Tea. Top grade, valued by collectors for the variety of tastes and shades of spring, summer and autumn harvest. It is cultivated, as already mentioned, in the mountainous regions of Indochina, where the special soil composition, rather low temperatures and high humidity, and even the location of the plantation form the unique taste of this variety.
- Assam (Assam)- leaf tea grown in the Brahmaputra river valley in northeast India.
- Ceylon- high-quality tea from the island of Sri Lanka, familiar to the older generation from childhood through the pack "with an elephant."
Quality black tea
Depending on the quality of the tea leaves, black tea is divided into three main groups - high-grade, medium-grade and low-grade.
In the most high-quality and high-grade tea are unblown buds and young leaves of the tea bush. It is divided into several types:
-bake- made from young buds and leaves;
-orange- elite large leaf tea, so named because of the beautiful slightly orange hue;
-orange peck- pekoe and orange are mixed in it, this is a tea blend, but not containing kidneys.
Varieties of the middle class are made from cut or broken leaves, obtained in the process of manufacturing high-grade species.Brocken Baking and Broken Orange Pekoe is a medium grade tea, the first grade in our understanding. Low-grade teas are made from waste products and crushed leaves. This category includes soluble, granular and packaged teas. Most of them are produced in Ceylon and in India. Such teas are strong and brewed quite quickly, but their taste and aroma are not very good.
In China, this is exactly what black tea is called. It is traditionally made from green and then pressed in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan. A peculiarity of Pu-erh is that, like a good brandy, age only improves its quality and taste. Moreover, in it the processes of fermentation continue throughout the shelf life. This tea is of two types: Shen - light, made traditionally, and Shu - dark Puerh, produced according to modern technologies.