Tea is perhaps the most popular and common beverage in the world. In fact, tea is an integral part of the traditions, customs and culture of many nations.
Legend say that this miracle drink was created during the reign of Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2737 BC. It was a sunny beautiful day, and the Emperor was sitting in the shade of a tree, a wild tea plant (Camelia Sinensis), while his servant boiled some water. A few leaves of this tree have fallen into the boiling water and the Emperor was curious to taste this mixture.
Today, the majority of people enjoy drinking white, oolong, green or black tea, but not everybody knows the differences between these kinds of teas.
White, oolong, green or black tea come from the same tea plant. The processing methods are different. The result is a wide variety of flavors, colors and aromas. However, all varieties are tasty and definitely healthier than soft drinks.
White tea is the least processed of all tea types. The tealeaves are usually, dried and withered in the sun without any other processing. Perhaps for this reason white tea is the lightest in flavor but is more effective than other types of teas against bacterial viruses. It can even retard and stop the growth “Streptococcus” and “Staphylococcus” infections.
It is hard to say why this type of tea is called white tea. Maybe the name comes from its light color or from the white hairs present in its unopened buds.
However, white tea is an excellent tea and can be served both hot and iced.
Oolong is a kind of tea that is not too popular in the United States perhaps because it is served hot and for this reason is hard to find in cafeterias and restaurants.
Oolong tea is often called the champagne of tea. Its origins are in the “Fuijan” a Chinese province and like champagne, the quality of this tea depends enormously on the marker’s skills and on the soil conditions.
Oolong tea is a partially fermented tea and for this reason, it can be classified as green or black tea.
The process is as it follows:
1| Outside drying;
2| Fermentation – until the leaves are 70% green and 30% red;
3| Tea leaves rubbing:
4| Drying on the charcoal.
Oolong tea comes in a wide range of flavors from very light to strong and even very strong. However, regardless of flavor, oolong tea is considered one of the best types of tea.
Japanese Tea Ceremony (video)
Today, green tea is one of the most popular kinds of tea. Green tea is usually imported from Japan or China.
Green tea is generally produced in four steps:
1| First, it is partially withered;
2| Then it is steamed;
3| Drying and rolling of the tea leaves;
4| Firing of the tea leaves.
The result is a non-oxidized kind of tea that is less astringent than black tea.
Green tea is well known for its health benefits such as protecting against and even slowing the growth of many cancer types, reducing disability in older people and reducing the occurrence of specific disease such as periodontal disease.
Chinese Tea Ceremony (video)
Black tea is definitely the most popular type of tea in the United States and Canada. Most of the people are used with “Orange Pekoe” tea that makes an excellent iced tea. However, not everybody knows that “Orange Pekoe” is in fact, black tea.
Black tea comes usually from India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Africa. Black tea is also processed in several steps:
1| Inside withering;
2| Rolling of the tea leaves
3| Fermentation of the tea leaves;
4| Firing of the tea leaves.
The black tea is extremely astringent tea with a high level of caffeine than any other types of tea. Black tea has also health benefits such as treating headaches, lowering blood pressure and preventing Parkinson’s disease and atherosclerosis. It may be an excellent cure for diarrhea.