Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured or fresh leaves of the Camellia sinensis. It is the most widely consumed drink in the world after water. There are many different types of tea but two principal varieties are used, the small-leaved China plant and the large-leaved Assam plant. While others have vastly different profiles that include sweet, nutty, floral, or grassy notes. Tea has a stimulating effect on humans primarily due to its caffeine content.
Drinking tea is often believed to result in calm alertness; it contains L-theanine, theophylline, and bound caffeine. While herbal teas are also referred to as tea, most of them do not contain leaves from the tea plant. It is consumed because it alleviates tiredness, refreshes the spirit, fights off illness, cures depression, or boost energy. This is a drink that many in the world wake up to every morning, some cannot do without after a meal, and others want a cup the minute they reach home from work.
History Of Tea
It was discovered by Emperor Shen Nung of China who came across the camellia sinensis plant back in 2737BC; a few leaves stirred by the wind fell into a pot of boiling water as his troops took refuge under the tree, giving the world its first taste of tea. Others claim that tea originated in 1500 BC–1046 BC in China and was discovered by the Shang Dynasty as a medicated drink.
The widespread use of tea became evident by the Chinese Han Dynasty, but tea had been a part of Chinese culture long before that. By the end of the 3rd century AD, tea had become China’s number one beverage. By 8th century AD, Chinese were already trading tea to Tibet, Arabs, Turks, to the nomadic tribes of the Indian Himalayas, and also along the “silk road” into India.
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It processing is five basic steps; some teas don’t utilize all of these steps, while other teas repeat them several times. Basic processing is plucking, withering (allowing the leaves to wilt and soften), rolling (to shape the leaves and wring out the juices), oxidizing (see below), and firing (drying).
Types Of Tea
They are roughly defined as any tea that undergoes partial oxidation (10-90%), but this fact is not useful by itself. “Baking” is also a common technique in making oolong tea. The regional styles and cultivars used tend to define them more than anything else. Oolongs typically have much more complex flavor than Green or White teas, with very smooth, soft astringency and rich in floral or fruity flavors. Because of their smooth yet rich flavor profiles, Oolongs are ideal for those new to tea drinking.
The name is derived from the fuzzy white “down” that appears on the unopened or recently opened buds – the newest growth on the tea bush. White tea is simply plucked and allowed to wither dry. Some minimal oxidation does happen naturally, as it can take a full day or two to air dry the tea leaves. It produces very pale green or yellow liquor and is the most delicate in flavor and aroma.
All puer tea comes from the southwest region of Yunnan, China. There are two types of Puer: sheng puer and shu puer. Sheng puer is a simple non-oxidized tea whose finished product will change naturally over time. Shu puer starts out as a sheng puer but goes through one more deliberate and accelerated “post-fermentation” process to speed up this change into a matter of weeks as opposed to years.
The tea is completely made within a day. The brewed liquor of a Black tea ranges between dark brown and deep red. It offers the strongest flavors and, in some cases, the greatest astringency. It is the only style of tea regularly consumed with milk and sugar (though some dark Oolong drinkers may disagree) and is the most popular bases for iced tea.
The green tea process is defined by preventing oxidation. Shortly after picking, the leaves are “fired” (rapid heating) to arrest oxidation and keep the leaf “green” for the duration of production. Green teas are typically steeped for shorter amounts of time and at lower temperatures which will produce a lighter cup with less caffeine.
Health Benefits Of Tea
- It contains antioxidants.
- It reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- It protects your bones.
- It boosts the immune system.
- It may improve focus.
India is a country where tea is available at street stalls to fine restaurants but people prefer those small stalls for tea as a there basic technique for Indian tea which gives that authentic taste. Indian tea is consumed with milk and sugar. Sometimes they mix some spices in the tea. In India, tea is popularly known as ”chai”.
The name “chai” is the Hindi word for “tea,” which was derived from “cha,” the Chinese word for “tea.” The term chai means a mix of spices steeped into a tea-like beverage. Recipes for chai vary across continents, cultures, towns, and families. But the traditional ingredients of a spiced tea usually include black tea mixed with strong spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and black peppercorns. The spiced tea is typically brewed strong with milk and sweetened with sugar or honey.