Whirling in with the white and black

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Whirling in with the white and black

Tea is a highly exotic substance and to savor tea time fully, one must know how to take time out to relax, leave daily worries behind and appreciate the simple pleasures of the moment. It is thus associated with luxury, whatever the circumstances be and is often conducive in creating a pleasant, serene atmosphere.

The finest tea gardens across the globe from the far East to West Africa all have one feature in common. Tea is cultivated in a wet and temperate climate—long bright days, rainy nights and pristine mountain breeze.

The processing, maturity and form of the leaf gives tea its taste and the region in which it is grown gives its character. The most exotic tea comes from just five countries—Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, India and Japan.

Tea is a name given to a lot of brews, but in true essence, ideally one may consider only, black tea, oolong, green white tea, and pu-erh tea the real thing. They are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, a shrub native to China and India, and contain flavonoids a, one of its kind antioxidant. This plant is abundant with polyphenols, a phytonutrient which is responsible for the tea’s health benefits.

.The more processed the tea leaves, usually the less polyphenol content. Polyphenols include flavonoids. Oolong and black teas are oxidized or fermented, so they have lower concentrations of polyphenols than maybe green tea but their anti-oxidizing power is still high. Green tea leaves are not fermented; they are withered and steamed. Black tea and oolong tea leaves undergo a crushing and fermenting process.

The White

White tea is made from very young tea leaves and buds that are minimally processed after picking where as Black tea is allowed to oxidize slightly before being dried to bring out a bolder, richer flavor and aroma. 

White tea is difficult to obtain, for production is limited. It undergoes almost no transformation –once harvested, it is merely withered and dried. Premium quality white tea comes in the form of white buds whose appearance is similar to the petals of the edelweiss flower.

 The Yin Zhen white tea is produced by the “The Imperial Plucking, method” (which is the highest quality, where the bud and one leaf are plucked from the tip of the shoot), performed at dawn on only two days of the year.  The alluring, fine, silvery buds, its delicate flavor, refreshing taste, makes it one of the most sought after, expensive teas in the world.

 According to a recent study, white tea was found to have high anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-collagenase, and anti-elastase properties. This could potentially reduce the risks of developing rheumatoid arthritis, some cancers, heart disease and slow the enzymatic break-down of elastin and collagen, traits which accompany aging. Uncured and unfermented, study reveals that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.

This super food was discovered quite accidentally .According to the ancient legend, The Chinese emperor Shen Nung had stopped his caravan near a river to boil water, in order to make it safe for drinking. a white tea leaf blew into his bowl and he consumed the beverage without knowing. The Emperor enjoyed drinking this  infused water with its unique, refreshing flavor. And thus tea was born!

 Almost all of white tea’s health benefits can be linked to its high levels of antioxidants.

White tea sounds like the king of teas and the health benefits are awesome!

 And The Black

Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas.  Withering of Black tea is a longer process than for Oolong and Green Teas, to create deeper, more concentrated flavors. Pure black teas are named after the region in which they are produced, each region is known for producing teas with characteristic flavors and distinguishable aroma.

Sri Lanka basically produces black tea such as the Orange Pekoe and the Flowery Pekoe. It is aromatic and rich and goes very well with a few drops of cold milk.

Black Teas from China such as Keemun and Lapsang Souchang are mild, low in theine and are rarely taken with milk and sugar. Tarry Souchong , a black tea produced in Taiwan has a heavy ,smoky flavor. Teas from India –Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiris are black teas and are characterized by its rich aromatic flavor and deep amber hue.

In the foothills of Darjeeling, some of the finest teas of the world is harvested.The wide and unparalleled range of Darjeeling tea is obtained by skillful blending of the large leaved plants from Assam with the smaller and robust leaves of Chinese plants. The Chinese plants are resistant to cold and are found in plantations in northern Darjeeling. To the south, we find The Assam plantations more suited to abundant rainfall.

A tea connoisseur can immediately differentiate between tea harvested in spring (“first flush” from late February to mid-April) and the same tea harvested in early summer (“second flush” in May and June) or autumn (autumnal in October and November)

The health benefits of black tea are amazing starting with Cholesterol reduction. It has been suggested that inclusion of tea in a diet moderately low in fat reduces total and LDL cholesterol by significant amounts and may, therefore, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The anti-oxidants in black tea called polyphenols scavenge for cell-damaging free radicals in the body and detoxify them. Consuming black tea also increases mental alertness 

Like all good things, moderation is the key to good health. Too much black tea, such as more than five cups per day, can cause side effects because of the caffeine.

 Brew the Black and white

For steeping, black teas, a smaller dose and longer steeping time are generally warranted. A teaspoon of leaves per cup, and then is steeped for between 3 and 5 minutes. You'll know where you prefer to end the extraction by the depth of flavor and level of astringency you like best. The Chinese add spices, chocolate ,herbs while brewing the black tea. In India sugar and milk is sometimes added , some prefer adding various herbs and spices-- ginger, cinnamom, cardamon, lemon grass ,mulethi or The holy Basil ( Tulsi)

    Since white tea leaves are not as dense and compact as other teas one should use at least two teaspoons of white tea leaves for every cup (8 ounces) of water. Tea brewed over a longer period gives a much stronger flavor and more nutritional value will be received. Some people recommend steeping the tea for up to 10 minutes.

   While preparing a cup of tea seems a simple exercise, preparing any of the hundreds of teas available requires attention and knowledge.

 Making a delicious cup of tea is a play of tea leaves, the amount of water used, water temperature, the time of infusion, and the vessel the tea is brewed in.

Following the correct directions for a tea can make even an ordinary tea satisfying, while brewing a rare, expensive tea incorrectly can lead to a bitter, undrinkable infusion.

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