Tea Glossary
Posted in Nourishment for the Body » Drink It on Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tea Glossary

 

 

From Tea Forte........

 

Green Tea

Best known for its grassy vegetal notes and greenish liquor and leaves, is quickly steamed or pan-fired to denature the oxidizing enzymes and preserve the tea's characteristic freshness.  While all tea is antioxidant-rich, some speculate that the minimal processing undergone by green tea allows more antioxidants to reach your final cup.  Without oxidation, green teas must be steeped more carefully, as they can become bitter if steeped too long or at too hot of a temperature.  Never steep green tea with boiling water; near boiling or even cooler will produce much better results.

 


 

 

White Teas

 

The least processed teas are White Teas. White teas contain only the buds and very young leaves of the tea plant, as a result, they are rarer and often more expensive. Only recently have white teas become popular outside of China. The straightforward, yet delicate taste and health profile similar to green tea has helped white tea burst onto the Western tea scene in recent years.

While white teas are "less processed" than greens, they are actually usually more somewhat more oxidized. Mild oxidation occurs during the "wilting" stage, when white tea is air-dried after it is first picked. White tea is then baked and dried further, and it may be very lightly rolled, but little is done to change what was picked from the plant. One way to tell that white tea is slightly oxidized is that white teas don't usually need to be steeped as carefully as greens. Steeping white tea with boiling water or for longer time periods can still produce good results.

 

 

Black Teas

 

Black tea is the most familiar tea type to North Americans and Europeans. This is the stuff the famous Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Orange Pekoe are made of. Black teas less familiar to the Western world also abound, including our smoky but seductive Lapsang Souchong.

Black tea is the most intensively processed type of tea. The leaves are allowed to fully oxidize (creating their black color) before they are dried, giving black tea more complexity, more astringency and fewer vegetal overtones than one typically finds in other tea types. Astringency is the dry mouthfeel left by tannins in tea that may also be familiar to drinkers of a fine cabernet sauvignon. It is this astringency of black tea that pairs so nicely with dairy and sweetener, and achieving the right balance of astringency is one of the leading indicators of quality.

While the name refers to the color of the leaves, the liquor produced from brewing is generally reddish-orange-brown in color. Good black tea can usually be steeped hotter, longer and stronger than other tea types, which is one reason that black tea usually contains the most caffeine per cup.


 

Herbal Teas

 

Herbal Teas entail everything one can possibly steep or infuse in hot water that did not originate from the tea bush, Camellia Sinensis. Of course this means that Herbals are, by definition, not tea; rather the more precise word for herbals is "tisane." This is an interesting fact, but we try not to be too stuffy about it. Many people are simply more familiar with the term "herbal tea" than with "tisane," so herbal tea suits us just fine.

Herbals include herbs, flowers, berries, spices, roots, fruits and any other sort of flora.  Long used for medicinal qualities, most of the ingredients in our herbal teas have been consumed for centuries or millennia. Herbals include classic remedies like nausea-reducing ginger and sleep-inducing chamomile, as well as more exotic flavors like rooibos: a South African staple that produces a deep red and deliciously floral elixir that is at least as antioxidant-rich as any tea, yet naturally caffeine-free.


 

 

 

Ooooo...The Oolongs

 

The oolongs are a first cousin once removed from the black teas. Oolong tea is partially oxidized to lie somewhere between black and green. While the look is more along the lines of black teas, the taste is closer to the green teas but with a touch more oomph and a rounded mouthfeel. Oolongs are commonly produced in the Fujian province of China and on the island of Taiwan, formerly called Formosa, from which one of the more famous oolong teas is named.



Matcha

Matcha, or green-tea powder, is whisked with just a few ounces of water to create a petite frothy drink.   It’s the tea world’s espresso: more concentrated and higher in caffeine than regular green tea.  While other types of tea are grown in full sun, matcha’s leaves are shaded for several weeks before harvesting, which makes them pump out extra chlorophyll and turn a vivid green.  The leaves are then hand-picked,  steamed, dried, and ground to be sold as matcha powder in tea shops or online.  “It’s very smooth and full-bodied, almost with a touch of sweetness,” says Jessica Lloyd, cofounder and COO of the matcha green tea company Panatea.  It’s also crazy good for you.  With most teas, you don’t consume the whole leaf, just the liquid.  So you get some - but not all – of the antioxidants in your cup, says Lloyd.  But with matcha, you sip even more free-radical fighters.

 

 

 

MY FAVORITES...........

 

 

TeaForte.com

MightyLeaf.com

RepublicofTea.com

TraditionalMedicinals.com

Teavana.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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