One plant - several types of tea
Tea creates harmony and balance
“The first cup quenches your thirst
The second removes your solitude
The third removes your sorrows and worries
The fourth cleanses your soul
The fifth lifts your spirit up to the Immortal gods. ”
Second to water, tea is the most widely used beverage in the world, and with the meditative and health-giving benefits of tea, it experiences a true renaissance in the 21st century. But why are we fascinated time after time by the tea? Perhaps, because it has an ability to reflect both old and modern values that we are seeking to adapt in today’s life time.
Unlike coffee, the tea has a spiritual side that invites an inner calm and immersion. The 90 ‘s were looking for quick stimulants such as double espresso, and during the turn of the century the Cafe Latte had the center of attention.
But tea is not a quick stimulant on a busy weekday. Enjoying a cup of tea is an experience that stimulates the soul and collects your thoughts, and perhaps it is precisely for this reason that it still awakens the excitement of the world. Tea is unique and should be enjoyed with respect and dignity.
Like all other tropical goods, tea has experienced periods of great as well as less great demand. For some years tea has been really popular, while the other year has stood in the shadow of other pleasures. The history of tea is an exciting tale of dedicated monks, trading warriors and young British merchants who traveled with great ambitions.
Many of the young tea-pioneers died early from tropical diseases; But those who survived witnessed the establishment of one of the world’s largest plantation industries.
For the quality teas, only the top jade-green buds are picked. Two leaves and a bud: the middle top bud and the two side leaves.
The freshly picked leaves are brought to the factory, where they are spread out into large vessels on a wire mesh. Under the wire, hot air is blown via mechanical fans under the leaves. During this process, the leaves lose about 30% of their original liquid content and become soft in the consistency. The leaves are dried for 12 – 18 hours, depending on their water content and the current climate.
After drying, the soft leaves are cut into pieces in a roller machine. During this process, the leaf cells are crushed and release juices and enzymes that give the characteristic “black tea” flavour. Crushing takes place in a rotating roller machine, where the leaves are lightly squeezed between two plates for a uniform structure. The leaves are still moist and green, but through this process they get the desired size and shape.
By oxidation, the crushed leaves are spread out on large tables in a room with controlled temperature and humidity. When the cell juices of the leaves and enzymes associated with the crushed leaves come into contact with oxygen, the color of the tea leaves, taste and scent changes. Although it has been said before that the tea ferments, this is not a process in which bacteria start the fermentation process. In fact, it is an oxygenation process, or oxidation process, in which the leaf’s own organic microorganisms set the process in motion. The oxidation lasts about three to five hours and is important for the final taste of the tea.
The burning takes place by passing the leaves through a hot air oven for about 20 – 25 minutes. The air is between 120 and 140 degrees warm and after 15 minutes there is just 4% water left in the leaf.
The leaf contains a natural sugar, which during the heat affects the taste and gives the leaves the dark color.
Green tea is known for its pure taste, beautiful color and good qualities. The leaves of the green tea are grown in plantations in many parts of Southeast Asia, where they are harvested and reprocessed before being transported to Denmark. Green tea is a purely natural product and is often referred to as the original tea.
The green tea is an unoxidized, pure natural product that is only dried and heat-treated with steam, or with a short roasting, to close the leaf cells and thus prevent any oxidation process from beginning. If the leaves start to oxidize, it will change the taste of the tea.
In China, a significant part of green tea production is still carried out by small producers, especially small top-level productions.
The leaves are spread out on mats and lie a few hours in the sun before they are heated with steam or turned around quickly on large, wok-like plates. You use your hands to turn the leaves, and this process requires both speed and a lot of training. The leaf is still green, but not quite as powerful in color. The Chinese teas are often more dull in color compared to the Japanese green teas.
A. C Perch’s Teashop sells many varieties of the green teas, all of which provide a unique taste experience. You can read more about the green tea and buy them online here.
When you harvest white tea, you only pick the top, baby buds – just before they unfold into a real leaf.
The leaf buds can only be picked a few times a year, and too much water during this period can destroy the harvest. The harvest often happens early in the morning, since the buds are still well protected from the sun at that time.
After picking, the leaves are spread for drying. The drying period is different from each type of tea, but usually takes two to three days. Especially weather and humidity play some important roles for the final result, as this type of tea is immensely fragile. In general, not much white tea is produced and it is particularly expensive because you only pick the middle top bud on the plant.
When you talk about Silver Tip teas, it’s because the leaves on this type of tea is silvery and the cup gets a white-yellow shade.
In the past, it was said that these special teas were reserved for the emperor and other nobles. They were therefore harvested with a virgin hand and gold scissors.