A Newbie’s Information to Tea: Half One

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Not all teas are created equal; right now, we start a dialogue on the several types of tea, how they differ in taste, and how one can correctly brew them.

BY EMILY MENESES
SENIOR ONLINE CONTRIBUTOR

Characteristic picture by Alice Pasqual through Unsplash

Although tea is a café staple, there’s nonetheless loads in regards to the drink that many don’t perceive. What crops do tea leaves come from, and what separates the several types of tea from each other? How do the totally different sorts of tea differ in taste, and do they have to be brewed in numerous methods? In our “Newbie’s Information to Tea“ collection, we’ll information you thru all of those questions and aid you start mastering the artwork of tea in an effort to brew a pleasant cup at your café or at dwelling.

A woven basket sits on the ground. The basket is filled with freshly picked Camellia Sinensis leaves.
White, inexperienced, oolong, and black tea all come from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Picture by Patricio Hurtado through Pixabay.

Camellia Sinensis: The place All Tea Begins

All tea comes from the leaves of a single plant, Camellia sinensis—a species of evergreen shrub. The leaves of this plant usually emerge in early spring. After harvest, the leaves are processed in quite a lot of methods, leading to several types of tea.

On this article collection, we’ll be exploring the primary varieties of tea: white, inexperienced, oolong, and black. We’ll even be relating fermented teas (the best-known of which is pu-erh) and natural teas, which aren’t made out of Camellia sinensis however somewhat from herbs, flowers, and grains. In right now’s first installment, we’ll take a look at white and inexperienced tea.

White Tea

Out of all of the varieties of tea, white tea is the one which requires the least quantity of processing—actually, it basically requires no processing in any respect. White tea will get its title from the fuzzy white down discovered on the younger Camellia sinensis buds it’s harvested from. This tea is made just by harvesting the youngest leaves and buds of the tea plant, then drying them in direct daylight. This permits oxidation to occur naturally.

The tea leaves usually take one or two full days to air dry, and in situations the place the encircling local weather is just too moist or wet, they could be gently tumble-dried on extraordinarily low warmth. When brewed, white tea is usually pale inexperienced or yellow in shade and identified for its mild physique, delicate aroma, and subtly candy, floral, fruity, and nutty notes.

A plain white porcelain teacup with no handle is full of brewed white tea, a pale yellow-green color liquid. Beside the cup is a small white teapot with a lid and a handle on the side, similar to a pot handle.
White tea is essentially the most delicate tasting of the primary varieties of tea. It’s identified for its mild physique, delicate aromas, and mildly candy and fruity flavors. Picture by Kiran Kok through Unsplash.

Brewing White Tea

Due to how delicate white tea is, it ought to by no means be brewed with boiling water; attempt to preserve your water at slightly below 170 levels Fahrenheit. When you don’t have a temperature-controlled kettle, you’ll be able to convey water as much as a rolling boil, flip off the warmth, and let it sit for a few minute earlier than pouring it over the tea leaves. For each one to 2 teaspoons of tea leaves, use eight ounces of water. Steep your tea for 3 to 5 minutes, relying on how sturdy you need it to be.

Inexperienced Tea

Inexperienced tea requires minimal processing, following the identical course of as white tea with one extra step: initiating oxidation by making use of warmth by pan-firing the recent leaves over a wok or steaming them for 20-30 seconds. The pan-firing technique is usually used for Chinese language inexperienced teas (corresponding to gunpowder inexperienced tea or dragonwell inexperienced tea). The steaming technique is attribute of Japanese inexperienced teas (corresponding to sencha or genmaicha).

When brewed, inexperienced tea reveals a inexperienced or yellow shade. In comparison with white tea, it’s extra earthy and savory, with toasty, grassy, and vegetal flavors. Inexperienced tea can be extra nutty and buttery than white tea, whereas nonetheless sustaining mild floral undertones.

In a white and blue china teacup on a white saucer, there is green loose leaf tea brewing. Beside the cup is a wooden scoop with more dried green tea leaves. Both are on top of a carved wooden board.
In comparison with white tea, inexperienced tea reveals grassier and extra vegetal flavors. It additionally has extra of a umami taste, with a slight toastiness that comes from the leaves being heated over a wok or steamed. Picture by Apple Deng through Pixabay.

Brewing Inexperienced Tea

Like white tea, inexperienced tea is delicate and due to this fact shouldn’t be brewed with boiling water. When brewing inexperienced tea, your water ought to be between 175 and 185 levels Fahrenheit—in any other case, you’d danger your tea growing bitter flavors. For each teaspoon of inexperienced tea leaves, use eight ounces of water. Steep your tea for about three to 5 minutes earlier than serving.

Some Professional Suggestions

When brewing any sort of tea, preserve the next ideas in thoughts for the perfect outcomes:

  • When serving tea, it’s greatest to pre-warm your teacup. You are able to do so by pouring a small quantity of scorching water into your cup, then tossing it out earlier than pouring your tea.
  • Keep away from utilizing faucet water or laborious water—doing so can alter the fragile flavors of the tea. Attempt to all the time use spring, filtered, or purified water.
  • When you don’t have a temperature-controlled tea kettle, utilizing a thermometer might help obtain correct brewing situations.
  • Protecting your tea whereas it’s steeping is important to permitting the flavors to completely develop. Because of this it’s greatest to make use of a coated teapot or kettle.

Keep tuned for half two of this text collection, the place we’ll discover oolong, black, fermented, and natural teas in depth.


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