Monday, July 23, 2007

New Article: Tea 101

It's that time again . . . The weekly Vee Tea article. This one is on the basics of tea. Here's an excerpt:

White tea is the most prized and least processed of all the tealeaves. It comes from the delicate, immature buds and/or leaves of the first flush. After harvesting, it is simply dried. Traditionally, it is left to dry in the sun. Today, some use ovens or fire, but many still follow the custom of sunning. This minimal processing retains the most antioxidants and results in the lowest caffeine level of the leaf (unpowdered) true teas. White tea has a very mild taste that can be somewhat floral. The leaves/buds are very pale/”silvery” in color and produce a pale infusion. A good white tea will have fine white “hairs” covering its surface.

Green tea can be produced from any flush; however, it is typically produced from the third flush in India and, in areas of China that produce a lot of white tea, from the second flush on. Unlike white tea, the leaves may be twisted, rolled, or otherwise shaped during processing. They are also either roasted (most common in China) or steamed (most common in Japan) to dry them and stop them from oxidizing. There is a wide range of flavors and appearances with green tea. Many people think that green tea is “the best for them” because they read about a study that said (insert claim here). This is, in part, because green tea had the most health claims made about it before Western medicine started investigating tea. Scientists set out to test the folk medicine that thousands of years of Chinese and Japanese tea drinking had accumulated, but rarely did they attempt to compare the different types of tea. Don’t worry, though—green tea is still good for you. Plus, it tastes great.

Read more about Oolong, black, pu-erh, tea flushes, and the classifications of tea in Vee Tea: Tea 101.

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