Tea and Herbal Tisanes

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History of Tea

Growing and Processing Tea

Types of Tea

The best tasting teas for tea drinkers are loose leaf unblended teas. The leaf is ideally large, but if not should be well-graded and consistent in size. Also, remember that single estate teas will never taste the same each time because of seasonal changes and climate and also where on the estate a plucking comes from - this is part of their joy.

How fresh tea leaves are processed, especially the levels of oxidation, is decisive in the taste of tea. Oxidation commences when the cells of a tea leaf are broken. This exposes the enzyme, oxidase, to the air and when these react with oxygen from the air oxidase changes the chemicals within the leaf.

If we think of the degree of oxidation as determining the robustness of the tea and the coppery-colour of the infusion, the lightest and least oxidised teas are green teas where oxidation is prevented by disabling the enzymes that cause oxidation. For anyone who wonders why white teas were not mentioned, these are not oxidised at all because its leaf cells have not been broken. At the other end of the scale, black teas are fully encourage to oxidise - the tea leaves are exposed to humidity (80 - 90%) and a low ambient temperature of 22 - 23oC (71 - 74oF). Mid-way between green and black, the oolong teas undergo light and controlled oxidation.

The main types of tea are:

In addition, there are flavoured or scented teas. All the main categories of teas can also be blended with flower, fruit or spice flavours to create new teas. Scented teas are created by adding flowers or blended spices to the tea leaves, whereas flavored teas are produced by spraying leaves with essential oils or synthetic flavours.

Tea Growing Regions


Making and Tasting Tea

Further Reading

  • Dattner, C. (2007) The Taste of Tea, Flammarion. ISBN 9782080300225.
  • Gascoyne, K., Marchand, F., Desharnais, J., Américi, H. (2014) Tea: History Terroirs Varieties, Ontario, Canada, Firefly Books. ISBN 9781770853195.