Tea is the second most popular beverage of the world, just after water. A cup of hot steaming tea is not only refreshing but helps stimulate your senses. Whether you chitchat with friends over a cup of tea or just sit back and relax sipping tea on a rainy evening, tea is just indispensable. Tea is not only an energy booster, but this popular beverage has enormous health benefits too. The antioxidants present in tea help eliminate free radicals and toxins from blood. Although the tea culture originated in China, this beverage is now the most popular beverage of the world. If you want to know more about tea and its different varieties, then read through this article.
Different Types Of Tea
You must be fascinated by the fact that all the different tea leaves come from the same plant known as Camellia sinensis. However, it is the processing method that makes each leaf distinct from the other. Depending upon their processing methods, the chemical content of the leaves vary from one type to the other. These different chemical substances give tea their distinct properties and flavors. The best quality of tea is produced from the young leaves. Almost 2000 to 3000 leaves are needed to produce one pound of finished tea. The most common varieties of tea are white tea, black tea, green tea, and oolong tea.
Green tea is known to have the most health benefits. Dieters are often prescribed to consume green tea which helps in weight reduction. Green tea leaves are processed by steaming. As no fermentation process is associated with green tea, the leaves retain their original green color. After steaming, the leaves are then rolled in various shapes like a ball, long roll, or twisted flat. Green tea is rich in antioxidants that help eliminate harmful free radicals from the body.
Oolong tea lies in between green tea and black tea. These tea leaves are processed by semi fermentation. The leaves are partially oxidized before they are dried. The leaves are then allowed to wither. As the leaves come in contact with air, they get their characteristic dark color. Oolong tea is usually exposed for 10 to 70 percent of oxidation.
Black tea gets its characteristic color due to the oxidation procedure during its processing. Black tea is the most oxidized variety of the tea available. This tea is relatively stronger than the other varieties of tea due to more content of caffeine in it. During the processing method, the tea is left to wither for 14 to 24 hours. The leaves are then twisted to extract the enzyme in it. This is the preparatory phase for the oxidation procedure. The leaf still retains its green color at this point of time. Next, the leaves are left for fermentation in a cool humid area. The polyphenols and pectin react with oxygen to give the tea its distinguishing flavor and color. The degree of fermentation varies from makers to makers. In the last step, the leaves are dried or fried and sealed in its preferred flavor.
White tea leaves are plucked young and undergo minimal processing unlike other tea varieties that have five to six processing steps. The leaves are steam dried or air dried and sealed in tight containers to retain their green color and natural flavor.