Thursday, January 2, 2014
Here is a little history about tea. All tea comes from a single plant, Camellia Sinensis. Green, White, Black and Oolong are from this same plant. The Camellia Sinensis has been cultivated all over the world since its discovery in the 1600’s. Tea Gardens (The name for tea plantations) were even started in Hawaii and South Carolina. But the predominate locations for tea cultivation is still China and India. Green Tea is a combination of the bud and top leaf of the tea plant. After picking the tea is left to air dry. This is a short process to prevent the leaves from oxidizing. The next step is the firing process that locks in the flavors. White tea was considered a delicacy. It is harvested in early spring. The buds are withered and air dried to prevent oxidation. The process White tea goes through is minimal. This creates a delicate sweet tea. Black Tea goes through a full oxidation process of the bud and first two leaves of the plant. High quality black tea is also picked in the early spring. But black tea is withered or dried of an extended period of time. This removes the moisture out of the leaf and starts oxidation. Oolong Tea falls between Green Tea and Black Tea. It has all of the properties of green tea, but with the full flavor of a black tea. It is picked later in the season and larger leaves are used.