Camellia Sinensis

Tea is made from leaves of the plant Camellia Sinensis a specie of evergreen shrubs or small trees from the flowering plant family Theaceae .

 

Leaves and leaf buds from the Camellia sinensis plant  are processed  by  traditional Chinese methods and used to make tea by adding boiling water .

 

The Camellia Sinensis is also frequently called tea plant, tea shrub and tea tree.

From the Camellia Sinensis comes the Oolong tea, White tea, Black tea, Green, tea, Yellow tea and the Fermented tea.

 

 

Oolong tea is a traditional semi oxidized  Chinese tea produced through a process that includes withering of the plant under the very hot sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. 

 

Tieguanyin is a variety of Chinese oolong tea that originated in the 19 century in Anxi in the Fujian province. Tieguanyin produced in different areas of Anxi have different gastronomical characteristics.

 

Wuyi tea or  Bohea  is a category of black and oolong teas grown in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian, China. The Wuyi region produces a number of well-known teas, including Lapsang souchong and Da Hong Pao. 

 

Wuyi teas are prized because of the completely natural environment of the mountainsides where they are grown. Due to  the lower yield produced by tea bushes in such terrain, the resulting tea can be quite expensive.

 

Tea made from the leaves of older bushes is quite expensive and limited in quantity. Da Hong Pao, collected from what are said to be the original bushes of its variety, is among the most expensive teas in the world, and more valuable by weight than gold. 

 

Commercial-grade tea grown at lower elevations in the area accounts for the majority of the Wuyi tea available on the market. Commercial Da Hong Pao is made from cuttings of the original plants.

Oolong Tea

White Tea

White tea may be referred to as one of several styles of tea which generally feature young or minimally processed leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant.

 

Baihao Yinzhen /Báiháo Yínzhēn also known as White Hair Silver Needle, is a white tea produced in Fujian Province in China. Silver Needle or Bai Hao Yin Zhen or usually just Yin Zhen is a Chinese type of white tea.

 

This white tea  is the most expensive variety and the most prized, as only top buds (leaf shoots) of the camellia sinensis plant are used to produce the tea. Genuine Silver Needles are made from cultivars of the Da Bai (Large White) tea tree family. 

Green Tea

Green tea is a type of tea that is made from camellia sinensis leaves and buds that have not undergone the same withering  and oxidation  process used to make oolong and black tea.

 

Green tea originated in China. Longjing  (Lungching) tea also called Dragon Well Tea is a variety of pan roasted  green tea from the Longjing village in Hangzhou Zhejiang province China . 

 

Bì luó chūn or Bi Luo Chun  is a famous green tea originally grown in the Dongting mountain region near Lake Tai in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China.

 

Also known as Pi Lo Chun, it is renowned for its delicate appearance, fruity taste, floral aroma, showy white hairs and early cropping.

 

Biluochun is called so because it is a green tea that is rolled into a tight spiral, resembling snail meat, and is cropped in early spring.

  

Huangshang Maofeng /Huángshān Máofēng 

The tea is grown near Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), which is home to many famous varieties of Green Tea.

 

Huangshan Mao Feng Tea's English translation is "Yellow Mountain Fur Peak" due to the small white hairs which cover the leaves and the shape of the processed leaves which resemble the peak of a mountain. The best teas are picked in the early Spring before China's Qingming Festival.

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Lu án tea or Lu an Melon Seed tea is used for Chinese medicine. If it is improperly baked it cannot release its aroma and has a bitter taste .

 

This type of tea is suitable for people with gastric problems. The Lu an tea from the bat cave in Jinzhai County is considered to be of superior quality because thousands of bats in the cave provide an ideal fertilizer for the tea plants. 

 

Lu'an Melon Seed Tea's name is derived from the shape of the process

ed tea leaves, which are flat and oval and resemble a melon seed.

 

Unlike most green teas which use the new buds in making tea, Lu'an Melon Seed Tea uses the second leaf on the branch. Each leaf's central vein is removed and the leaves are pan fried and shaped to stop oxidizing enzymes and dry the tea.

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Tianmu tea is an organic green tea plant  grown in the valleys of Mount Tianmu. The terroir of Mount Tianmu gives the tea its distinctive taste and appearance.

Black Tea

Black tea is a type of tea that is more oxidized than oolong green or white tea. Black tea is generally stronger in flavour than the other teas. Keemun or qímén hóngchá is a famous Chinese black tea.

 

First produced in the late 19th century, it quickly became popular in the West and is still used for a number of classic blends.

 

It is a light tea with characteristic stone fruit and slightly smoky notes in the aroma and a gentle, malty, non-astringent taste reminiscent of unsweetened cocoa.

 

Top varieties have orchid-like fragrance and additional floral notes in the flavor.

Fermented Tea

Fermented tea is a class of tea that has undergone microbial fermentation (piling) for several months to many years.

 

The exposure of the tea leaves to humidity and oxygen during the process also causes endo-oxidization and exo-oxidization after which the tea leaves are dried and rolled. The tea leaves and the liquor made from them become darker with oxidation but different from black tea.

 

Yunnan Pu'er or pu-erh is a  fermented tea traditionally produced in Yunnan Province, China. As the tea undergoes controlled microbial fermentation, it also continues to oxidize, which is also controlled, until the desired flavors are reached.

 

This process produces tea known as  hēichá 0r 'black tea'  different from 'western' black tea that is called  hóngchá or 'red tea' in China. Pu'er falls under a larger category of fermented teas commonly translated as dark teas.

The flavour and health benefits of Pu’er tea are related in part to its content of polyphenolic anti-oxidant molecules. In particular, theaflavin which is particular to fully-fermented black teas such as pu’er.

Yellow Tea

Yellow tea is also known as Chinese Huangcha or Korean Hwangcha. When compared to green tea or other tea, yellow tea is easy on the stomach.  This tea promotes weight loss, prevents diabetes and is good for the liver.

 

The yellow color of this hot beverage is unnatural and is attained through a process called ‘Sealed Yellowing’. The tea polyphenols or catechins are first oxidized to attain the yellow tinge and then further treated to preserve the color and aroma of the dried leaves. The yellow tea has a gentle fruity aroma and taste.

Chrysanthemum Tea

Chrysanthemum tea is made from  dried chrysanthemum flowers from the  Chrysanthemum morifolium or Chrysanthemum indicum species steeped in hot water. The resulting drink is transparent and ranges from pale to bright yellow in color, with a floral aroma.  

 

Traditionally in China, after drinking all of the chrysanthemum tea , hot water is typically added again to the flowers in the pot (producing a tea that is slightly less strong). 

 

This process is often repeated several times. Chrysanthemum tea was first drunk during the Song Dynasty (960–1279). This tea is among the  most popular in East Asia.

Jasmine Tea

Jasmine tea Chinese: Mòlìhuā chá or  Xiāng piàn is tea scented with the aroma of jasmine blossoms.

 

Typically, jasmine tea has green tea as the tea base; however, white tea and black tea are also used. The resulting flavour of jasmine tea is subtly sweet and highly fragrant. It is the most famous scented tea in China.

 

The jasmine plant is grown at high elevations in the mountains. Jasmine tea produced in the Chinese province of Fujian has the best reputation.

 

Jasmine tea is also produced in the provinces of Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Zhejiang. Japan is also known for the production of jasmine tea, especially in Okinawa Prefecture, where it is called Sanpin-cha.

Benefits of Jasmine Tea

Modern biological studies have shown that drinking jasmine tea can have health and immunity benefits.

 

Jasmine tea contains several different kinds of antioxidants that provide protection to the membranes of red blood cells. This added protection helps fend off free radical-induced oxidation of the red blood cells.

Kuding Tea

Kuding / kuzding,  kǔdīng chá or 'bitter nail tea' is a particularly bitter-tasting Chinese infusion, which due to their similarities in appearance is derived from several plant species. 

 

The two most common plants used to make kuding are the wax tree species Ligustrum robustum and the holly species Ilex kaushue , the former being more commonly grown in Sichuan and Japan while the latter is most commonly grown and used in the rest of China. 

 

This type of tea may be caffeinated if from the genus Ilex, but is caffeine-free if from the genus Ligustrum.

 

 

Benefits of Kuding Tea

The traditional Chinese medicinal properties associated with kuding include its ability to disperse wind-heat, clear the head and the eyes, and resolve toxin, thus being used for common cold, rhinitis, itching eyes, red eyes, and headache.

 

It is also said to calm fidgets and alleviate thirst, especially when one is suffering from a disease that causes fever or severe diarrhea. It transforms phlegm and alleviates coughing, thus used in treating bronchitis.

 

Finally, it is said to invigorate digestion and improve mental focus and memory.

Some research may suggest that the herb, derived from either Ilex or Ligustrum, promotes blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, and lowers blood lipids, including cholesterol.

 

It has the reputation of preventing deterioration of the heart and brain function and maintaining proper body weight.

 

It has also been found that Kuding made from L. robustum has similar anti-oxidative effects to tea in addition to additional anti-inflammatory properties.

Huqiu or Tianchi tea was supposedly developed as the finest tea in the world.

Luo Jie tea or Gu Chu Violet Shoot  tea was rather expensive and had been an imperial tribute tea.

Jin Qi or Yang Xian tea was made from Ruo leaves from the Indocalamus Tessellatus bamboo. 


 

Songluo tea from Mount Sungluo is easy to brew and has an intense aroma. Songluo tea has medicinal benefits which include the relief of indigestion along with internal heat and energy balance.

Herbal Tea

Herbal teas or  tisanes are beverages made by infusing  herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water. The term "herbal tea" is often used in contrast to true teas which are prepared from the cured leaves of the tea plant. 

Reference

1. Mo, Liyun 莫麗蕓. “南方有嘉木——我本草木”(Jiamu Tea in the South – I Was to Be Vegetation), 美人美茶(The Beauty of People and Tea) (2017): pp. 2 – 27, p. 4.

2. Li, Guang (2007), Ling Chun Chin, ed., "The Traditional Processing of Wuyi Rock Teas: An Interview with Master Ling Ping Xang", The Art of Tea, Wushing Book Publisher (2): 76–83

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oolong

Chinese Tea

Goodness & Health In Every Cup

Drinking tea helps to improve focus and memory while you work , play or study. Benefits of tea drinking include boosting your immune system , keeping you warm in the cold and helping you to relax after feeling all worked up .  Tea drinking is a great cultural  and traditional  way to entertain  your  guests.

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