Saturday, April 10, 2010

Classifications of tea

Tea can be classified into 8 groups.
They are green, yellow, red, white, oolong, black, compressed aged and scented teas.
These groups have varieties that are based on geographical production,
elevation, curing and processing techniques.

Green tea
  •  Non-fermented variety or least processed and raw.  
  • The main goal is to retain the pure and natural flavor of the chlorophyll in the green leaves.
  •  The scent is usually a fresh green, slightly floral with a refreshing, mellow and rich taste.
  •  Taiwan oolong green tea and Japanese green tea is set apart by the latter being raw,unseasoned and uncured ground leaves, and the former being slightly cured. 
  • Japanese green tea is harder on the digestion due to the fact that it is raw and uncured. 
  • Excellent with salty foods or savory desserts.

Yellow tea
  •  Mildly processed and fermented.
  • Processing is quite similar to green tea.
  • Appearance is usually straight and furry with a refined refreshing taste.

Red tea 
• To achieve the strong sometimes mellow but harmonious taste of this tea, the green leaves are left to turn black by piling them up for fermentation.
• The scent of this tea can range from a smoky pine to camphorous with a rich liquor aftertaste.
• Excellent with sweet desserts.
 White tea

• The processing in this group entails drying in the shade and curing it in the breeze.
• Made from tender shoots of the tea trees.
• Has the lowest caffeine content.
• It has a furry, silvery appearance.
• The taste is refreshing, refined and mild.
• Excellent to stimulate the digestion after a heavy meal.

Oolong tea/Semi-fermented

• This is a semi fermented tea.
• This is not green tea contrary to the popular misnomer.
• Oolong means black dragon due to its curled and twisted dried leaves and not for its color.
• The processing is a combination of techniques used for green and black teas.
• Processing techniques may be any of these techniques of air drying, hand rolling or hand twisting.
• After curing, the appearance of the leaves will vary from tightly curled rolls or fine,
round, twisted and with a green luster.
• This is a delicately seasoned tea.
• The appearance of the tea is usually tightly twisted, hand rolled naturally.
• The flavor ranges from a mellow sweetness, very moistening with a floral and honey overtones.
• The best of this tea comes from Taiwan.
• Excellent after a seafood meal.
• Has properties to emulsify fat and cholesterol.

Black teas

• This is a fully fermented and highly cured tea.
• Among the Chinese this sometimes known as "red tea."
• The processing entails drying, rolling, firing and aging.
• Has an appearance that ranges from a fine dust to solid and twisted.
• Aroma is usually rich, robust and fresh with hints of caramelized sugars.
• Excellent with or after a heavy, oily or greasy meal.
• Contains fat emulsifying and cholesterol properties.

Compressed aged tea
• This tea is made from processed tea leaves.
• Usually from tea trees that are between 150 to 1000 years old.
• It is then compressed into different shapes and has 3 classifications:
  1.   Bing Cha means tea cake
  2. Tuo Cha means peg-top (refers to the shapes of the tea) 
  3. Zhuang Tea means brick tea

  • This tea is priced when it is given time to age and is therefore increase in value as it ages. Like fine wine.
• The fragrance of this tea ranges from an aromatic fruit to camphor to aged wood.
• Appearance of this tea is usually solid to rough roll.
• It has to be broken down into smaller parts with a tool that looks like a letter-opener.
• The flavor of this taste will range from a sweet to mellow with a dark liquor after taste.
Scented tea
• Sometimes also called flower scented teas.
• The base of the tea will range from any of the previous 7 classifications of tea.
• It is then scented with flowers - jasmine, rose, osmanthus or milk or pine needles or fruits.
• It adds higher floral notes to the existing tea.
• Excellent with pungent or spicy food.
• Popular in Northern China.


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