Tea is mostly grown in the sub-tropical regions in Asia. Today,
there are almost 30 tea producing countries with black tea the greatest yield.
Oolong and jasmine tea are also very popular but green tea has the smallest
Black tea is fully fermented, and gains its color and character
from the processing of the leaves. Once picked, the leaves undergo a series of
five steps, called the "Fermentation Process".
Black tea is grown in China, India, Sri Lanka, and Africa, and
is the most common type of tea in the western world. The leaves range in color
from brown to black, often with golden or silver tips. The bright copper liquor
has a full, round aroma, and a flavor ranging from malty to flowery. This is the
only type of tea that can be taken with milk and sugar.
Oolong is a semi-fermented tea. It undergoes the same treatment
as black tea, but instead of rolling the entire leaf, only the edges of each
leaf are rubbed. The result is that only the cells at the edges of the leaves
are disrupted and will ferment. Additionally, oolong teas are fermented for less
time than black teas.
There are two main types of oolong: one grown in China, and the
other grown in Taiwan (Formosa). China oolong, fermented only 12-20%, has a
distinct fresh taste, and produces a pale yellow liquor. Formosa oolong on the
other hand, is usually 60% fermented, and is known for its golden liquor and
exquisite flowery aroma.
Oolong is especially good for digestion, so is naturally a great
tea to drink after a large meal. It should never be drunk with milk or sugar or
Green tea is unfermented. After the leaves are picked, they are
immediately pan-fired or steamed to prevent any oxidation. They are then rolled,
dried and sorted. Green tea has a more subtle, delicate flavor, and far less
caffeine than fermented tea. It is said to be medicinally beneficial, because
the unfermented leaves retain a higher concentration of natural vitamins and
polyphenols than their fermented counterparts. Green tea contains minerals
(iron, sodium, potassium) and an assortment of vitamins (carotene, A, D, B1, B2,
Green tea is grown mainly in China, Taiwan and Japan. China
green tea is known for its mild and subtle taste, refreshing aroma, and pale
hues. The leaves range in appearance from silver to deep emerald. Japanese
tealeaves are often brilliant green, reminiscent of the lush gardens they are
grown in. They produce liquor that ranges from jade green to light yellow, with
a fragrant puckery and slightly sweet taste. Japan only produces green tea and
has perfected the harvesting techniques. The Japanese government subjects all
tea for export to rigorous inspection and checks the leaves, stems, moisture,
content, flavor, taste and color. Tests are also undertaken to determine tannin,
caffeine, vitamin and mineral contents.
Green teas should be enjoyed in their pure form, without milk or
The key point in tea quality is the production. The tea garden's
reputation is based on their ability to preserve the natural quality of the
leaves. Traditionally (and still today for the highest grades), tea
manufacturing was undertaken manually. Today, most high-production tea gardens
employ machines. One garden's processing will yield characteristic appearance,
bouquet and flavor panels.