Posted in Nourishment for the Body » Drink It on Wednesday, November 11, 2009
From Tea Forte........
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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