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Discovering Legendary Teas
Wondering where different types of tea come from…and the plants they grow on?
Did you know that White Tea, Green Tea and Black Tea could come from the same tea plant?
Wait. Wouldn’t you think that Green Tea comes from a Green Tea Plant and that it stands to reason that Black Tea Would come from a Black Tea Plant?...Well yea…but no.
The trick word is COULD…as in White Tea, Green Tea and Black Tea COULD come from the same plant…but they normally don’t.
Ok so here is the thing: The fundamental difference in types of tea is the color of the tea leaves, which is determined by the level of OXIDATION that the tealeaves have undergone…Just like the apple you bite that begins to turn brown after the bite, tealeaves that have been untreated begin to change color…as they oxidize.
In fact, it is the processing of the tealeaves that creates varying oxidation levels, ultimately creating different tea types.
True enough the growing conditions, the climate and environment, even the weather conditions for a period before the tea harvest affect the leaf material which impacts the character of the tea in your cup dramatically. It is the processing of the leaves that determines the type of tea we end up with.
So back to that COULD word. What this means is that from any tea plant, you could harvest the leaves and by controlling the processing of the leaves you could turn them into various TYPES of tea…
So, a Tea Type really represents primarily the Oxidation Level that the tea leaves have been processed to. And actually, any tea leaves from an actual tea plant, (Camellia sinensis), can be processed into anyType of Tea.
So, the fundamental difference in tea types is the oxidation level that the leaves are processed to, however it is the leaf material, developed by its growing environment, that produces the greatest influence on the final cup character.
The growing environment, climate, elevation, soil type…the Terroir turns out to be a more significant contributing factor to the final cup character than the oxidation level.
Tea Masters & Artisans have learned over centuries how to take the organic compounds produced by Mother Nature during photosynthesis in the tea plant and manipulate them to produce wonderfully desirable beverages at a variety of oxidation levels…
It ends up being a combination of the uniqueness of the leaf material produced in microclimates around the world with techniques developed to coax-out the ultimate release of leaf ingredient into your cup.
True enough an enticing cup of tea is no simple mater. If done well it is a perfect marriage of man and nature to produce excellence for us to enjoy and benefit from.
Although tea growers and processors COULD produce any type of tea from any tea plant…they normally don’t. Why you ask?
Most tea producers have learned over time that the teas grown in their unique terroir are most suited for producing a certain type of tea…which what they do…with excellence.
It then is not a requirement that certain plants are used for certain teas…but that is the way it usually is…
The tea plant is wonderfully adaptable to many climates making it possible to continue to create unique teas, even in areas not traditionally known for tea production. Currently there over sixty-two nations commercially producing tea around the globe.
All this makes us tea enthusiasts the benefactor of the love people around the world have for creating amazing teas…
While all tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, and while aa quality teas have welcome health benefits, as the tea molecule oxidizes, it’s health benefits become better for helping with certain health concerns. This is why enjoying a variety of teas of different tea types is an enjoyable way to expand your health benefits form tea.