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about tea
history of tea
varieties of tea
tea tasting
tea and health
research
production

 

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 yield.

Black Tea

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

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 lemon.

Green Tea

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, C).

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 sugar.

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.

 

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