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Types of Tea

Types of Tea

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Published by Prachi Sasture

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Published by: Prachi Sasture on Aug 12, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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What is Black/Green/Oolong/XXXX Tea Anyhow?
The first thing that you need to know about tea is that all tea comes from the same plant. Thedifference between the different types of tea have to do with how the leaves are processed.So why the different varieties? Well, it has to do with the amount of oxygen the leaves absorbduring the processing. A lot of oxygen produces dark-leaved black teas, while less oxygen is whatgives green tea leaves their color. Tea leaves that are not processed at all are what white tea is madeof.Black Tea|Green Tea |Oolong Tea|White Tea|Rooibos Tea|Herbal Tea
Black Tea
Black tea is the most "processed" of all teas. This involves four basicsteps - withering the leaves, rolling, fermenting and finally drying. This process actually ferments the leaves, which is what gives this type of teaits recognizable scent and flavor. Black tea has the highest level of caffeine content between Black, Green, White, Oolong and Rooibos teas.Some of the best known Black teas of the world hail from the Darjeelingand Assam regions of India. Black tea characteristics vary from region toregion, but generally black teas are strong with a flavour of tannins thatthe fermentation process creates. If you steep black tea for too long youcan get a bitter flavour, which are the tannins in the leaf being released.
After the harvest, the leaves are first withered by blowing air onthem.
Then black teas are processed in either of two ways, CTC (Crush,Tear, Curl) or orthodox. The CTC method is used for lower quality leaves that end up in tea bags and are processed by
machines. This method is efficient and effective for producing a better quality product from medium and lower quality leaves.Orthodox processing is done either by machines or by hand. Hand processing is used for high quality teas. While the methodsemployed in orthodox processing differ by tea type, this style of  processing results in the high quality loose tea sought by manyconnoisseurs.
 Next, the leaves are oxidized under controlled temperature andhumidity. (This process is also called "fermentation", which is amisnomer since no actual fermentation takes place.) The level of oxidation determines the quality of the tea. Since oxidation beginsat the rolling stage itself, the time between these stages is also acrucial factor in the quality of the tea.
Then the leaves are dried to arrest the oxidation process.
Finally, the leaves are sorted into grades according their sizes(whole leaf, brokens, fannings and dust), usually with the use of sieves. The tea could be further sub-graded according to other criteria.
Indian and Ceylon tea is usually named after the region of origin:Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon, etc. and further by estates and grades for quality leaf: e.g., "Darjeeling Lingia FTGFOP1".In Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka the grade names are an indication of thesize and/or appearance of the tea but not the quality. There can be a lack of uniformity in the market grades which makes it difficult to describethem with accuracy. Ceylon teas can be divided into two groups:1.The leaf grades originally made by the Ceylon tea pioneers.2.The smaller broken grades which are used today.List of Ceylon tea leaf grades:
Orange Pekoe (O.P.) - Long, thin, wiry leaves which sometimescontain the tip. The liquors are light or pale in colour.
Pekoe (Pek.) - The leaves are shorter and not so wiry as O.P., butthe liquors generally have more colour.
Souchong (Sou.) - A bold and round leaf, with pale liquors.
Broken Orange Pekoe (B.O.P. or BOP) - This grade is one of themost sought after. It is much smaller than any of the other leaf grades and contains the tip. The liquors have good colour andstrength.
Broken Pekoe (B.P.) - Slightly larger than B.O.P., with rather lesscolour in the cup; useful primarily as a filler in blends.more black teas»» 
Broken Pekoe Souchong (B.P.S) - A little larger that B.P. and inconsequence lighter in the cup, but also used as a filler in blends.
Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings (B.O.P.F.) - This grade is muchsought after, especially in the UK. It is much smaller than B.O.P.and its main virtues are quick brewing, with good colour in thecup.A small quantity of Tippy or Flowery grades (including Flowery OrangePekoe (F.O.P) and Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (F.B.O.P) are made.They are much more expensive to produce than run-of-the-mill grades, asthis involves sorting out the tip by hand.In Assam, the main leafy tea grades produced are flowery pekoe (FP),orange pekoe (OP), pekoe (P), pekoe souchong (PS), and souchong (S),with broken tea grades BOP = Broken Orange pekoe; FOP = FloweryOrange Pekoe; TGFOP = Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe;FTGFOP = Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe.All types are sold as either "single" teas, meaning just one variety, or as blends. Blend names are usually more general e.g. "Assam Tea".
Nutritional Information
Plain black tea without sweeteners or additives contains negligiblequantities of calories, protein, sodium, and fat. Some flavored tea withdifferent herbs added may have less than 1gram of carbohydrates. (top
)Source: Wikipedia
Green Tea
Green tea is often called an unfermented tea. Fresh leaves are allowed todry, then are heated to stop the oxidation/fermentation process. Methodsof rolling green tea vary, but generally, in China, many plantations stillhand-roll the leaves.
Nutritional Information:
Proponents of green tea note that its medicinal benefits have beendescribed for over 1000 years. The Kissa Yojoki, or Book of Tea written by Zen priest Eisai in 1191, describes how drinking green tea can have a positive effect on the five vital organs, especially the heart. The book discusses tea's medicinal qualities which include easing the effects of alcohol, acting as a stimulant, curing blotchiness, quenching thirst,eliminating indigestion, curing beriberi disease, preventing fatigue, andimproving urinary and brain function.

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