Did you know that tea is the most consumed beverage across the world, next to water? There is nothing as revitalizing and relaxing as starting your day with a cup of a hot drink. Morning tea ritual is a great way to jump-start your energy level too! Some people like chai; whereas some are passionate about it. Check out here for interesting facts about tea.
It’s all about Tea!
Tea (locally known as ‘chai’ in India) is an intrinsic part of the cuisine in many countries. Regular tea is usually made by pouring piping hot water over cured tea leaves. It can be enjoyed hot or cold. This beverage offers enormous health benefits beyond refreshment. Look here for tea nutrition facts about this refreshing beverage. You’ll also get to know the impact of tea on your health.
Over 25 types of chai are available worldwide, which are categorizes in 5 major groups. Every type has a unique aroma, characteristics, and flavor. People often misinterpret that black tea plants produce black tea. All kinds of drink come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. It means black tea, green chai, and white chai plants are very similar! Interestingly, differences arise from geographic, growing conditions, processing style, roasting, and pan-frying.
Have a look at the most popular types
It has a subtle and delicate flavor among its counterparts. This tea is minimally processed. Its leaves are carefully plucked from buds of a shrub and dried slowly. They are super light and have less caffeine.
Green tea taste and aroma are on the lighter side. Its flavor ranges from buttery, grassy to citrus and smokey. It is un-oxidized, that is why leaves themselves remain green. Processing methods like pan-firing and steaming yields green tea. It is a standard part of the cuisine and everyday life in countries like Japan and China. Sencha and Genmaicha are common types.
Of late, it has gained popularity in the West due to the multiple health benefits it offers. You would be surprised to know green tea facts!
Green tea nutrition facts
- It has a higher level of polyphenols and antioxidants, which helps to fight many types of cancer.
- Helps in weight loss
- It helps to combat diabetes and heart diseases.
It is a complicated type of beverage to produce. Multiple processing steps involved; some are quite different from the conventional ones. This type is generally made of large leaves, which are picked, withered, rolled, semi-oxidized and eventually fired. They can offer a wide range of aromas and flavors.
Do you know that this is the most popular tea type in the West? It is of different types. Each one has its own unique aroma, flavor, and appearance. You can consume it with milk and sugar or even with a few drops of squeezed lemon. Distinct color results from the oxidation. Once the desired level of oxidation is achieved, leaves are dried and brewed.
It is actually not a tea. It is made out of different herbs and spices like mint, chamomile, barley, sage, hibiscus, and rosemary. Herbal teas are just plants infusions or decoction which offers a wide array of flavors and enticing tastes.
The scientific name of this plant is Camellia Sinensis. Even though it is native to Asia, it is now grown all around the world. It is an evergreen shrub that produces flower buds and leaves that are used to produce delicious chai we sip. The average lifetime of this plant is anywhere between 30 and 50 years.
- Features: though this is a shrub when left unnoticed, it can grow as a dense tree with canopy. Barks are quite tough.
- Height: shrub can grow up to a height of 9 meters. However, they are trimmed to about 1-2 meters for better cultivation.
- Leaves: leaves of this plant are dark green with a pointed tip and zigzag edges. Each leaf can reach a length anywhere between 5 and 10 cm. They are typically oval with hairy layers underneath.
- Flowers: fragrant flowers are in a beautiful white color, and they usually appear in clusters. They can be spotted on branchlets in the axils of the leaves. Flowers are in decent size with a diameter of around 4 cm with 5-9 petals and 5 sepals. They have both female and male organs in it and are pollinated by bees.
- Habitat: perfect tea often grows on steep slopes and at a higher elevation of around 2100-2700 meters. It is ideally seen to be cultivated in shades. A shrub prefers loose sandy soil and well-drained loamy soil. The Sub-tropical climate is perfect for the growth of this plant.
- Consumable parts: in some cases, people are recommended to eat leaves raw in contrast with making tea because nutrition value is higher in the former. Flowers are consumable as well.
Where does tea come from?
This hot drink is a national one for many countries like Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka, and Great Britain. The history of this beverage dates back to the 3rd century AD. Initially, it was used as a medicinal drink in China. You can conclude that officially, the first tea was sipped by the Chinese.
Gradually, the drinking of chai spread over to other Asian countries. During the 17th century, drinking this energetic beverage has become a fashion among the British, and they showed interest in cultivating Camellia Sinensis in hillside slopes in India. India, China, Sri Lanka, and Kenya account for 75% of the total production in the world.
Step by step involved in the preparation:
The whole thing comprises 6 steps which can be modified and adapted to produce a wide array of tea flavors and types.
- Plucking: the top two leaves and leaf buds of every plant are handpicked, carefully.
- Withering: freshly picked buds and leaves are laid in shelves or large troughs to wither for 8-12 hours. It removes moisture from leaves and makes it look wilted.
- Rolling: you can opt between two types of rolling methods: Orthodox- rollers break and crush leaves. CTC- Cut, Tea, and Curl, machines are used to cut harvested leaves.
- Oxidation: rolled leaves are spread over the trough for few hours for oxidation. Leaves are subjected to chemical processes that result in their breakdown.
- Drying: leaves are dried to put a halt to oxidation. Switch to this step only when the flavor is right.
- Packaging: after leaves are completely dried, they are sorted into grades based on the size of leaves. Smaller ones are preferably prepared to be used in tea bags.
- Astonishing facts about Tea:
- It takes approximately 2000 leaves to prepare one pound of tea.
- The World Tea market is worth a whopping 38.8 billion dollars.
- China and India are the biggest tea producers, they make 2473443 tonnes!
- National tea month in the USA and Canada in January, whereas it is April in Great Britain.
- Adding a small amount to crushed ginger to a beverage has proven to cure cold and morning sickness.
- This one is surprising! The type of heating device you use influences the taste of the tea you prepare. Make sure you have the best tea kettle in your counter to make the tastiest chai! You can also read electric kettle reviews online and opt for one.
This drink has an innate bond with humans. You can comfortably make chai that caters to the needs of your taste buds. So, which is your favorite type? Share some fun facts about tea and the special bond you have established with this excellent beverage!