Though most people have had a cup of tea at some point in their lives, it’s only the true tea drinkers that truly appreciate the experience that a really good cup of tea provides.
However, most tea drinkers are completely unaware of how tea leaves are traditionally processed, and even fewer who know about the all-new process that lets you have all the benefits on loose-leaf tea without the hassle-factor.
Why is this new process such a breakthrough in the tea industry? To understand that, we have to first examine the basics of tea.
5 Basic Steps for Preparing Tea Leaves
1. Plucking- Pulling the leaves off of the plants
2. Withering– Allowing the leaves to wilt and soften
3. Rolling- Shaping the leaves and wring out their juices
4. Oxidizing- Allowing the leaf to naturally decompose
5. Firing- Drying the leaf
The most crucial part and what actually defines the categories of tea is Oxidizing. This occurs when the enzymes in the tea leaf interact with oxygen after the cell walls are broken apart.
Varieties and Types of Tea
There are over 20,000 different varieties of tea in the world. Those 20,000 varieties come from 5 basic types, White, Green, Oolong, Black and, Pu’erh
White tea is unprocessed tea. The name comes from the fuzzy white down that appears on the unopened or recently opened buds. It is plucked and allowed to wither dry.
Green tea is plucked, withered, and rolled. The oxidation process is prevented during the rolling process by applying heat.
Oolong tea is made by using all 5 of the basic tea making steps making it the most time-consuming tea to create. It is a very complex category because it is halfway between a green tea and a black tea.
Black tea also utilizes all 5 steps but it is allowed to oxidize more completely.
Pu’erh tea undergoes a process similar to green tea but before it is dried it is aged either as loose-leaf or pressed into dense cakes or decorative molds. The aging process for this tea can last anywhere from a few months to several years.
How Do You Drink Tea?
Are you a teabag person? Perhaps you are a loose-leaf coinsure. You’re probably not an instant tea drinker or you wouldn’t have read this far. Up until now, that was pretty much the only three methods you could experience tea.
The tea for tea bags is usually made out of a lower grade tea called dust or fannings. The bag itself is made out of filer paper, food-grade plastic, or quite rarely, silk cotton or silk.
Loose leaf is bigger pieces of the actual tea leaves which circulate better in the water when making a pot of tea than a tea bag does.
Instant tea is made from extracting tea from processed leaves and then drying the concentrate to a powder form by freeze-drying. You just mix it with water and you’re done.
Tea Drops are not that stuff you squirt into your bottled water to make a flavored drink. They are organic pressed teas that dissolve in hot water.
They are made with actual tea leaves, spices, and lightly sweetened with organic cane sugar. The leaves are delicately ground, unlike instant tea which is basically already brewed tea turned in to a powder.
To prepare this type of tea, all you do is put one Tea Drop in your cup, add 8 ounces of hot water, stir for 5-10 seconds, and then let the tea dissolve for 30 seconds.
There is no swishing a tea bag around to try and circulate water through it. There is no waiting for it to brew. Bust best of all, there is no sacrificing flavor for convenience (which of course is exactly what instant tea drinkers do).
The global tea market is a multi-billion dollar a year industry so the fact that that Tea Drops have been named the most innovative beverage by the Specialty Food Association is very impressive. When you consider that after water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage worldwide, it’s even more impressive.
Impressive but Not That Impressive!
Here’s one more little tidbit of information you can impress your friends with the next time you’re having tea. Opposite Buckingham Palace, The Ruben’s, is said to have a cup of tea that cost about $200. That’s for a single cup of tea!
Next Tea Time…
Now that you know the whole story behind tea, may it add to your overall tea drinking experience.