What is tea?
Mar 14, 2018
Tea - from the Chinese "cha" - tea( drink), tea( in leaves).Thea is a genus of plants from the tea family( Theaceae).Botanists distinguish two types of tea: Thea sinensis - Chinese and Thea assamica - Indian( Assamese).
The Chinese tea bush is an evergreen branchy shrub, at home reaching 10 m in height. In cultural conditions, as a result of pruning, it takes the form of a globular bush about 1 meter high. Leaves alternate, short-petioled, leathery, shiny, elliptical, narrowed to the apex, dark-toped from the bottom, light green on the bottom, sharp-edged along the edges. Young leaves are covered in silvery color. Flowers are regular, single or 4-5 in leaf axils, fragrant. Calyx is green from 5-7 rounded sepals. Corolla of 5-9 white, falling after flowering, petals. The stamens are numerous, fused at the bottom with columns. The fruit is a box that opens with three leaves, with three large spherical seeds.
Blossoms in August-September, fruits ripen in October-December.
Medicinal raw materials are leaves and branches. Tea sifting( dust, crumbs) and shoots also serve as raw materials for obtaining caffeine, theophylline and other medicinal preparations.
For tea, the youngest leaves or tops of shoots( flushes) are torn off. By special technology in tea factories from the freshly picked tea leaf, 4 types of tea are obtained: green, black, red, yellow. To obtain a variety of black tea varieties, the tea leaf undergoes withering, twisting, fermentation and drying. The fermentation process is due to fermentation, which leads to dramatic changes in the chemical composition of black tea. In this case, the content of tannin decreases by almost 50%, and the vitamin PP increases several times. The amount of essential oils decreases, a significant number of compounds become active, or, conversely, others lose their activity. Black tea is fermented.
Green leaf tea is prepared from the leaves of selective varieties of tea bush. The collected fresh leaves are treated with hot steam, and wilting and fermentation are excluded. The loss of tannin in the production of green tea is insignificant and is only 2-3%, so green tea is unfermented.
Red and yellow teas are intermediate species between black and green. Red tea undergoes incomplete, and yellow - partial fermentation, and in connection with this, red tea is close to black, and yellow - to green tea.
The color of green tea depends on the presence of chlorophyll, and the color of black tea depends on theoflavins, theorubigins and carotene. In high-quality tea, the ratio of theoflavins and theorubigins is 1: 10, while according to the international standard, 1:16 is permissible. With a 1: 20 ratio, tea is recognized as unfit.
Black tea in the production of teas takes 95-98% of the total produced tea, and not without reason, most of the inhabitants of our planet drink black tea. But in the Asian countries, green tea is preferred.
The homeland of tea is the mountain forests of Southern China and the Indochina Peninsula. In countries of South-East Asia, in particular in China, tea was known 3-5 thousand years ago. Apparently, from this time begins cultivation of tea bush.
Charles Darwin in his work "Tamed Animals and Cultivated Plants" writes: "In all likelihood, all the nutritional and medicinal properties of the most unattractive plants of each country were discovered by savages, who were forced to do so by extreme necessity, went through countless similar experiments, andThe knowledge acquired in practice passed on to each other and to the offspring obliquely. For example, is it not surprising that in three separate parts of the world the natives were able to distinguish among the mass of other native plants that tea leaves, mate( Peruvian tea) and coffee fruits contain a nutrient and excitatory substance that, in chemical research, is identical in all three plants".
The tea culture came from China to Japan, later the Dutch began to cultivate tea in Java, and the British in the Himalayan regions of India. In Europe, the tea bush first appeared in 1763 in a greenhouse culture.
In Russia we learned about tea in 1567 from the Cossack Atamans Petrova and Yalyshev who visited China. In 1638, Ambassador Vasily Starkov, returning from Mongolia to his homeland, presented as a present to Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich( Romanov) a miracle drink-tea. Tsar's court really liked this drink, which in a short time from a strange potion became a favorite drink of the population. In 1818 in the Crimea, in the Nikitsky Botanical Garden, for the first time a tea plant was planted. The first tea plantations appeared in the end of the XIX century in Chakva near Batumi. In 1913, Russia produced about 100 tons of tea from domestic raw materials.
In the former USSR, about 100,000 tons of tea were produced annually. The main areas of tea cultivation are the humid subtropics of Georgia, Krasnodar Territory, southeast Azerbaijan.
Currently, the main exporters of tea in the world are still countries where its production has a long history: China, India, Sri Lanka. Large industrial tea plantations are concentrated in Indonesia, Japan, Africa, Brazil, France.
Which tea should I choose? In this respect, tea is similar to wine. As among wines it is possible to give preference to a single variety, and among tea varieties it is also difficult to choose an "star" objectively.
Types of tea. The bait tea is easy to recognize: it consists of separate tea leaves. According to their type and size, tea is divided into large-leaf, small-leaf and granular.
The large-sized is considered to be the best, as the tea leaf remains intact and retains all the flavoring and healing properties of the tea.
The quality of is slightly lower.
Granular ( it is also referred to as the STS abbreviation) is distinguished by the strength of the infusion, but it is devoid of a significant part of the aromatic and useful substances.
Packaged tea. For the production of tea in bags used the smallest fraction obtained by sorting - they are responsible for the taste. But here the color and especially the fragrance suffer from the packaging paper. Therefore, more strong varieties of tea are added to the sachets. Only then the drink turns out to be harmonious.
Flavored teas. For the preparation of flavored teas, varieties that do not have their own distinct odor are taken. Sometimes tea is flavored with natural products: herbs or fruits, for which the tea leaves are mixed with crushed dry leaves, flowers or dried fruits. However, dried, these ingredients do not always retain their flavor. It is safer to apply the essential oil of a plant to tea leaves. This is the way tea with bergamot is made. True, this is a rather expensive procedure. Therefore, the price of such a tea is high.
For those who like tea with a soft taste and delicate aroma, our market offers exquisite Ceylon tea "Princess Nuri".
All kinds of Princess Nuri tea originate from the legendary plantations of the island of Sri Lanka( Ceylon): the abundance of sun, heat and crystal clear rivers creates unique climatic conditions for year-round collection of the highest quality tea leaves. Selective tea is thoroughly tested by all criteria: structure, color, smell, etc. Evidence of the quality of the product and its "nationality" is the image on the tea pack "lion with a sword".
Under the brand name "Princess Nuri", depending on the size of the tea leaf and its processing technology, sheet, granulated, packaged and flavored teas are produced.
"Best" is a variety of large-leaf high-quality elite teas that are made from the first two tenderest leaves of a tea shoot.
"Bouquet" - medium leaf tea with an unforgettable taste and aroma;except tea leaves in the blend includes tea buds - tipsy, similar to tiny flower buds.
For lovers of tart and invigorating tea - the "High Mountain" variety, the aroma and tonic properties of which will give the energy charge for the whole day.
"Premium" - cheaper, but high-quality medium leaf tea with dark saturated infusion and very tart taste.
For a person who is unable to arrange a long tea ceremony, tea bags are irreplaceable.
For connoisseurs of "classical" teas with a pleasant tart taste and a beautiful red-brown infusion, of course, Indian teas of the brand "Princess Gita" are known.
Because of India's great length from north to south and the highly different climatic conditions, Indian teas differ in taste and aroma.
Especially I want to dwell on the most famous in the world high-altitude variety "Darjling", whose name comes from the area of tea growing, located at an altitude of more than 2000 meters above sea level in Northern India. It is called "tea champagne" because of the nutmeg flavor and a golden color."Darjeeling" is recommended to use as an afternoon or evening tea.
In southern India, teas are more harsh, with the exception of the "Nilgiris"( according to the name of the mountain massif), where soft blue, fragrant and invigorating tea with unique healing and taste properties is grown in the blue mountains at an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level. This is a bright representative of a series of morning teas. It has a less intensive color of infusion, a tart taste and an inimitable scent.
It is generally believed that large leaf tea( "Best") has a brighter bouquet of flavors, and medium and small leaf teas( Premium, Medium, and Economo) are more tart. You yourself must decide what is the main criterion for you when buying tea. For those who prefer a drink with a pronounced flavor, large leaf tea is recommended, as the tea leaf is less exhaled and better preserves the flavor. The undoubted merit of granulated tea is a very high brewing strength and tart taste. So choose the tea to your taste.