Tea 101

by in Uncategorized, May 7, 2012
tea
Which tea is your favorite?

Tea is the second most popular beverage around the world, eclipsed only by water. In general, tea refers to dried leaves of the camellia sinensis plant prepared by steeping in hot water. It can be served hot or cold. In the United States, 85 percent of the tea consumed is iced, a uniquely American preference. One pound of tea leaves yields about 200 cups, making tea one of the cheapest beverages available, following tap water.

The camellia sinensis plant is grown at high altitudes in damp, tropical regions. Tea, like wine, is named for its place of origin, such as Darjeeling, Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) and Assam.

The three most common types of tea in the United States, black, green and oolong, vary by their treatment after picking. Black tea is fermented, or oxidized, for four hours, which produces an amber brown color and strong flavor when brewed. Green tea is not fermented and when brewed tastes slightly bitter and appears yellow-green. Oolong is partially oxidized for two to three hours in order to combine the characteristics of black and green tea. A fourth type of tea gaining popularity in the United States is white tea. This subtly-flavored tea is produced by picking the new buds of the tea plant before they open and drying, but not fermenting, them.

Herbal teas are not considered “real” teas because they are not produced from the camellia sinesis plant. Herbal teas, also called tisanes, are made from steeping fresh or dried flowers, herbs, seeds or roots in hot water. Popular varieties include chamomile, ginseng and lemon balm. Traditionally, indigenous herbal medicines were administered as tisanes. Today, many people believe in herbal teas’ therapeutic qualities, but should speak to their doctors about any possible adverse interactions with their current medications.

Drinking tea can be a tasty complement to a healthy diet. Tea prepared simply with water contains no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and no sugar and contains antioxidants which studies have shown have many health benefits.

There are as many teas to choose from as there are tastes. The teas listed below are a few of the many varieties available.

Assam: A rich black tea from northeastern India, brews to a reddish color and is considered a breakfast tea due to its brisk, assertive flavor.

Ceylon: A full-flavored black tea from Sri Lanka, brews to a golden color with citric notes and produces an excellent iced tea that does not appear cloudy when cooled.

Rooibos:  A South African sweet, earthy and nutty tea that is lacking in tannins which makes it mild and less astringent than other tea types. Also known as redbush.

Chai: An Indian-spiced black tea blend, usually featuring cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and black peppercorns; tastes spicy and complex and is usually served sweetened and with milk.

Darjeeling: A full-bodied black tea from the foothills of the Himalayas in northeastern India, called the “champagne of teas,” brews to a soft amber color and has a pungent, floral aroma.

Earl Grey: A blend of black teas that usually includes Darjeeling, flavored with oil of bergamot oranges, fragrant and exotic, usually drank as an afternoon tea.

English Breakfast: A blend of Indian and Sri Lankan black teas, brews to a rich color with a full-bodied and robust taste that many prefer with milk and/or sugar.

Formosa Oolong: An expensive oolong tea from Taiwan, has the rich flavor of black tea and light tanginess of green tea, brews to a yellow-green color, aroma is reminiscent of ripe peaches.

Gunpowder: A green tea from China with a pungent flavor, roasted aroma and light straw color.

Keemun: A mellow black tea from China, has a strong aroma and a less astringent taste than other black teas.

Lapsang souchong: A smoked black tea from China, brews dark brown and often served as an afternoon tea or with dinner.

Matcha: A powdered green tea from Japan, has a light sweetness and can be used to flavor foods.

What is your favorite tea?

More posts from .
Tags:

Similar Posts

The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor

What does skinny taste like? Just ask Gina Homolka. For six years, low-fat foodie Gina Homolka has been satisfying the tastebuds of a loyal following ...

Comments (2,590)

  1. Tea 101 says:

    [...] Read at source website [...]

  2. Patti_NYC says:

    My favorite tea is Earl Grey, black with a tiny bit of sugar or honey, yum!

  3. Ladyjudianne says:

    my favorite tea is English Breakfast with fat free milk.

  4. Mj_bk says:

    Rooibos is not a tea – its actually a totally different plant. Hence its caffeine free like other herbal teas.

  5. JLF says:

    When I went to China a few years ago I was introduced to Lichee Tea (also called Concubine tea). It is a black tea flavored with lichee fruit so has a hint of natural sweetness and fruitiness that enhances the tea without overwhelming it. I have found an online source to order it and now I am spoiled.
    I also enjoy a ginger-lemon tea both hot and iced.

  6. hzrh says:

    My Favorite would be Chatime Milk Tea. So addictive!

  7. Lady K says:

    Lemon ginger black tea and organic blueberry black tea.

  8. Jenjen says:

    What tea best to drink to allow one to fall asleep easily ? As in good for sleep ?

  9. vegan foodie says:

    My favorite tea is green tea with a little honey. Green tea for the antioxidants and the honey because it is the only sweetener I use.

  10. Hello! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>