Tea beverages are in great demand all over the globe nowadays and the best teas are highly valued. There's hardly a single person on the earth who's never tried tea — whether it's black, green fruit, or some other variety. This drink's background is very exciting and originates from China.
Scientists discovered out in 1963 that the earliest tea crops and the first mention of this beverage were in China and neighboring regions — North Vietnam and Upper Burma. However, this crop also grows in other countries as well. In general, India was regarded as the homeland of tea for a long time and «chai» is the Hindi word for «tea». It is worth noting that tea plants in these countries have a lot of differences, although they belong to the same family. For instance, chai tea bushes are growing in China, Burma, and Vietnam, while tea trees are growing in India.
Of course, the leaves of different plants offer different flavors and aroma. Green tea is more common in China and adjacent regions, whereas black tea is more common in India.
Despite this, with all the differences, tea beverages have comparable properties:
- In the heat, it is capable of cooling.
- Hot tea warms well in cold weather.
- It has diuretic characteristics, so it flushes the urinary tract and avoids sand formation.
- It's a weight loss aid.
- Tea includes a whole range of vitamins and antioxidants in addition to its unique properties.
- Soluble nutrients like glucose, alkaloids, amino acids, essential oils, proteins, etc.
There are different stories about the appearance and the way tea started to be drunk in the home country of this beverage. One of the most popular legends is that Emperor Chen Nungu once drank water in which several tea leaves intentionally fell while cooking. He liked the resulting drink so much that he issued a decree that all Heavenly Empire residents began to drink tea.
Note! Whatever the legends in China, the first credible references to the fact that tea was widely popular in the Heavenly Empire originated in 220. And in 420, in the Jin dynasty period, whole tea stores were already spread. And during the Tin Dynasty reign, tea drinking grew into true art. It is worth mentioning that China was the only tea supplier in the world until the 19th century.
This beverage went out much later outside of the Heavenly Empire. Tea went to Europe in the 17th century thanks to the Dutch. It was a green whole–leaf tea. This is how this noble beverage has spread throughout the globe and is still very popular today. There are many different kinds of tea nowadays that have their unique features. Overall, however, tea is still not only tasty but also a helpful beverage for both adults and children. Moreover, tea is used to prevent and even cure certain diseases.
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Black tea history also starts in China. It is made of the same leaves as the green one, but the leaves are dried in a special manner. According to one legend, this leaf drying technique was discovered accidentally. Wuyishan village farmers did not have time to process the tea leaves already harvested when the troops invaded them. So, it was decided the next day that the harvested leaves would be dried on a fire. The flame was put on pine timber at the same moment. As a result, the leaves oxidized and darkened, but the effect of such drying surprised everyone — the tea turned out dark, but very tasty.
Nowadays, traditional black tea is made from the leaves of Camellia, which grows in China. Back in the Han Dynasty, this drink was used for healing purposes. And according to one of the legends, the medicinal properties of Camellia were discovered by Shennong, the Great Patron of Medicine, Agriculture, Crafts, and the Art.
Not only in China are tea plants growing. This crop was carried from China to India only in the 19th century. But despite this, India is ranked second in the world's tea production today.
The best Indian varieties are:
Additionally, there are other varieties. The range, in fact, is very diverse. Moreover, inflorescences of other plants are added to teas to enhance flavor. If we talk about traditional black tea, it can look different from the outside:
- Leaf – dried large and medium leaves.
- Granular – the leaves are rolled into small granules when dried.
- Powder – tea bags (this includes the most low-quality leaves).
- Pressed – pressed into pills, cubes, etc. Any shape can be given absolutely.
Traditional black tea with no impurities or additives can have a range of color shades, from light golden with a pink tint to brown with a red tint, when properly brewed (filled with 95–100 degrees hot water). Professionals and connoisseurs say such a drink has a tart "resinous" taste. And if we compare it with green tea, black has a more pronounced and bitter bitterness. The black tea "flower" aroma is also stronger.
One of the unique properties of this drink is its antidiarrheal effect so that strong black tea is taken in case of stomach and intestinal disorders.
Besides, black tea has a lot of advantages:
- Anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties.
- Contains theanine, a natural antibacterial agent. Black tea improves digestion, protects organs from pathogenic bacteria and microorganisms.
- The composition contains a lot of tanning elements so that a strong drink is an outstanding remedy for intestinal disorders and diarrhea.
- Tea is an absorbent. It perfectly absorbs and removes toxic substances, carcinogens, and microbes from the body.
- High content of antioxidants in the form of polyphenols.
IMPORTANT! The higher the grade, the stronger its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and other beneficial properties!
Green tea is captivating with its subtle flavor and enjoyable aroma. It started to gain popularity from the first days after the opening of this beverage. And it's one of the most famous in the globe today. There is an ancient and lovely legend about how this beverage emerged: In age-old times, Yan-di, the God of the Sun, instructed his subjects to boil water in a vat.
While the water was boiling, the wind blew a few leaves to drop randomly fall in a vat from a tea bush. The subtle refreshing aroma and a fantastic taste of the inadvertently acquired beverage turned out to be so pleasant to Yan-di that he commanded his subjects to brew more of this beverage and distribute it among all the servants.
This beautiful Chinese legend speaks eloquently not only about green tea's taste properties, but also about its ancient origin. In fact, the first written mentions are found in the treatise "Stems and Herbs" by the great healer Shennong. It is noteworthy that the tea beverage was initially used in rituals only. But they tasted it a little later. At the same time, the unique property of tea to affect mood and health was immediately reported.
Immediately afterward, tea became a topic of close study and attention. List all the beverage's useful properties is rather a challenge. And the reality is that many chemical features rely on where the bush grew, under what conditions and how the leaves were handled, etc. Tea properties therefore largely depend on the variety. Overall, more than three hundred different chemicals and compounds were discovered in green tea leaves.
These are the most useful ones:
- Catechins – antioxidants with a list of useful properties.
- Pectins – affect the normalization of digestion and intestinal function, create a protective layer on the mucous membranes of the digestive system.
- Remove radioactive, toxic substances and pesticides from the body.
- Vitamins and minerals.
Thein – essentially a caffeine analog. It has tonic properties.
It is worth mentioning that green tea is an efficient aid for weight loss owing to its properties.
IMPORTANT! Green tea has certain brewing rules:
- Brew it in a preheated kettle.
- Perfect temperature of 60-80 degrees.
- Boiling water is categorically contraindicated as it loses most of green tea's useful attributes.
- In too cold water, tea does not give up its esters, so the aroma will be weak.
Traditionally, the first brew should be emptied. It’s for washing leaves from dust and dirt, heating the kettle and opening the tea leaf pores. Immediately after that, you can pour the next portion of hot water. The first brew is held for no longer than 1 minute. And the time for subsequent brewing is increasing gradually. It is noteworthy that unlike black tea, green tea can be brewed up to 7 times.
Oolong tea is very popular all over the world. However, few people know about it. This drink's name comes from the Chinese "Oolong", which is translated as "Black Dragon". Despite this name, as you would believe, it's not black tea. But neither is it green.
This variety is intermediate between green tea and red tea. It has a hue of turquoise (or blue-green). This variety has a pronounced grassy taste with sharp greenery notes. However, it is worth noting that there are different Oolong varieties that vary in taste and aroma.
This variety of tea got its distinctive taste due to its place of growth. It is grown on the very tops of the mountains of Fujian and Guangdong provinces, and ripe leaves are harvested by hand. The quality and taste properties depend largely on the combination of sun and fog. The skill of growing, harvesting and drying leaves is handed down from generation to generation. That's why Oolong is one of the most popular tea varieties, expensive and elite.
Moreover, this beverage has many useful qualities:
- Promotes weight loss.
- Reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Increases immunity.
- Has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Reduces the risk of cancer.
- Prevents diabetes.
- Stimulates brain functions.
- Relieves eczema symptoms.
And that's not the whole list. Oolong tea also has all the beneficial properties of black and green tea. To date, there is a fairly large choice of different Oolong types. And they differ by fermentation degree:
- 40-70% fermentation – this is highly fermented varieties, including:
- Da Hong Pao.
- Shui Jin Gui.
- Xiao Hong Pao.
- UI Joi Gui (with the scent of cinnamon from the UI mountains).
- Feng Juan Dan Cong.
- Gaba Alishan.
- Da Hong Pao.
- Varieties with weak fermentation 25–40%:
- Tie Guan Yin.
- Dong Ding (tea from a frosty peak has refreshing and toning properties).
- Alishan (grows in Alishan mountains).
- Mao Se.
- Huang Jin.
- Tie Guan Yin.
- Oolong varieties with added flavors:
- Honey Melon.
- Gui Hua, etc.
- Aged varieties:
- Lao Tae Guan Yin.
- Tie Guan Yin Wang.
- Lao Tae Guan Yin.
This is, of course, by no means a full list of all Oolong types. There are also other types discovered in various regions. It is worth noting that the most demand is for flavored varieties. In this case, essential oils or floral petals are introduced to the tea for flavoring.
A curious fact! Oolong's flavored varieties are not regarded by the Chinese themselves, as it is traditionally thought that tea should be without any additives. At the same time, there is great appreciation for aged Oolong varieties in China.
All Oolong varieties are recommended for use due to their unique properties and chemical composition. Moreover, this drink is a panacea for many diseases, it enhances immunity, improves the digestive system, boosts mood and tones.
Rooibos tea has become common throughout the globe in latest years. Like other tea drink types, Rooibos also has many helpful characteristics. At the same time, it has a unique exotic light taste and aroma. If you try it once, you won't be able to give it up. The ready-made beverage has a rather interesting and lovely color – amber orange with a red shade.
Rooibos tea has a rather rich aroma that features woody and nutty notes coupled with a faint fruity or floral hue. Rooibos taste is quite simple but very enjoyable. The tea has natural sweetness with a slight sourness, as well as fruit and floral notes.
In translation, Rooibos means red bush. The habitat is South Africa. The pioneers of the red bush were the Khoi-Khoi tribe inhabitants, who are the Cape of Good Hope's natives. This tree became renowned in the 18th century in Europe. It was first described by the botanist Carl Humberg in 1772. However, it was used as a drink only in the 20th century.
It is worth noting that the red bush was attempted to be cultivated on other continents, but it took no root, and to this day it grows exclusively in South Africa. Harvesting is carried out by farmers from January to March. In doing so, entire branches are cut off from an already mature crop. The chopped branches are then gathered in bundles and sent to a factory. Then they are cut into small pieces of equal length. Next, the feedstock is sent for handling and drying.
And based on the type of processing you get different types of tea:
- Black is obtained after fermentation.
- Green – drying without fermentation.
Naturally, the rooibos taste and aroma differ from red (black) rooibos. Green is not that pronounced like black, but more grassy.
Rooibos has the same guidelines for brewing as any other black tea – 1 teaspoon per 1 cup. The best way is not to pour boiling water, but just hot water (approx. 90 degrees). Although it is not so relevant in the case of Rooibos. For the resulting drink to contain the maximum amount of vitamins and antioxidants, it should be infused for at least 10 minutes. If you brew tea for less than 10 minutes (can be reduced to 3-5 minutes), this will not affect its taste and aroma, but the nutrient content will be much lower.
The red South African bush drink can be cooked several times. The second and third brewing will not differ from the first in taste. But it should be understood that it will lower the content of vitamins and antioxidants. The beverage can be drunk pure or with the addition of honey or milk. You can also enhance the taste with a slice of lemon or orange. Nowadays, Rooibos is popular with adding flavor, especially the Rooibos strawberry. Additionally, this drink is a superb basis for a variety of soft drinks with fruit juices. The tea has excellent taste, hot or cold.
GOOD FOR HEALTH! Rooibos tea has a lot of useful properties. First of all, it does not contain caffeine or theine (caffeine tea analog). Second, like other types of green and black teas, it contains a lot of useful chemical elements, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Among other things, it is worth mentioning:
- Vitamin C.
- Magnesium and manganese.
It also includes more than a hundred different essential oils. The red bush also contains tetracycline, a safe natural antibacterial agent. Tea is used to treat diabetes, to increase pressure, to fight allergies, skin diseases, and atherosclerosis. He is a great help with gastrointestinal disorders.
White teas have long been considered elite and are renowned for their unrivaled taste and exquisite aroma. It is grown and produced exclusively in China in the province of Fujian, located on the country's northern mountains. This area is known for its favorable conditions for growing trees and shrubs. Small swollen buds or young upper leaves that have not yet formed are used to make white tea.
A curious fact! In order to obtain high-quality feedstock for white tea production, only young tea buds are collected as well as two upper unopened and unformed leaflets called tips. You need to collect about 100 thousand tips for one kilogram of elite tea.
Given these production peculiarities, it is not surprising that the beverage belongs to the elite and expensive varieties. In addition, natural raw materials can preserve their pristine flavor and aroma for as long as possible. This is accomplished by minimizing buds and tip handling. In China, this drink has an unofficial name – a drink of immortality. To date, about 10 white tea varieties are known, but only 4 of them are very popular:
- Bai Hao Yin Zhen means silver needles. This variety was named after the tea tree buds covered with snow-white needle-like fur. The buds for this tea are harvested from March to April exclusively by hand. During this period, the buds are plentiful in juice and contain a large number of useful properties and vitamins. The drink is pale green after brewing. It has a gentle and delicate taste in combination with a noble sweetish aroma. This is the rarest, most expensive and elite white tea. If the color has a gray or yellow tint, this indicates a breach in the manufacturing process or poor quality feedstock.
- Bai Mu Dan – white peony. It grows high in the UI mountains like all other types of white tea. Only young buds are harvested to produce this variety with two tea leaves around them. The leaves are not cut or removed. Harvesting takes place from March to April and only in sunny weather since excessive humidity can spoil the drink's taste. Quality and taste depend on the ability of a master to identify and choose the best harvest time. The ready-made drink has a pale green or golden hue. The tea has a pleasantly natural and soft sweetness and floral fruity aftertaste. All this is accompanied by a floral aroma that is unforgettable.
- Shou Mei – only unopened buds and upper leaves of tea bush are used for production. Unique taste and aromatic properties are due to the later harvest (from April to June). This variety is similar in taste to oolongs because it has the same floral honey flavor and a light sweet aftertaste.
- Gong Mei is white tea's most popular type. The already formed tea bush leaves are used for its production. The ready-made drink has a pronounced unique aroma of forest flowers and wild plants. It has a rich taste with a light sweet aftertaste. This type of drink, like no other, lets you feel the link with nature, it gives you warmth and vibrant energy.
Naturally, various kinds of white tea vary in flavor and aroma based on manufacturing technique.
However, they are all equally advantageous:
- Promoting rapid wound healing.
- Normalize blood pressure.
- White Chinese teas are often used for therapeutic purposes.
- Has a rejuvenating effect due to the high content of catechins.
- Contributes to sand cleansing of the kidneys.
- Reduces the risk of cancer.
- Regular consumption of white tea allows for removing toxins from the body.
- It is used to help fight obesity.
- Reduces cholesterol.
NOTE! It should be brewed correctly to make the drink as tasty and useful as possible. Use only water that is natural, clean and soft. Only in it can the whole bouquet of tastes and aromas be fully revealed. Do not use boiling water to pour tea. It is best brewed in hot water with a temperature of about 80 degrees Celsius.
At 4-5 brewings, the qualities of taste and aroma are preserved. Of course, in subsequent brewings, there will be fewer vitamins and wholesome properties, but the taste remains saturated.
Healers have always used nature's gifts to cure many diseases. Often, dry herbs were used to make different infusions. Nowadays in folk and traditional medicine, herbal teas are used everywhere.
Leaves of various flowers, plants, dried fruits, roots, and stems are all rich in various vitamins and trace elements. Of course, not all plants give an enjoyable taste and aroma, so you should know which herbs to harvest, dry, and brew tea.
These plants are among the most popular herbs and leaves:
- Leaves and dried fruits of strawberries.
- Raspberry leaves
- Rosehip fruit.
- Mint and many others.
Indeed, there is a very wide list of medicinal herbs from which phyto teas are brewed and it may differ for each region. Each plant has unique properties of its own. Today, a vast number of diseases are treated with the help of various herbal charges, fighting with excess weight, adding to cocktails, and so on.
Each plant also gives its own taste and flavor. Thyme, rosehip, chamomile, and mint are the most popular teas. And to create unique flavors and unique aromas, these herbs can be combined.
Matcha tea is nowadays considered to be a traditional Japanese drink. But few people know that China is its true home country. In the sixth century B.C. this drink appeared in China. But it came much later to Japan, only at the start of the second millennium.
Why is Matcha now a traditional Japanese drink? The thing is this tea didn't take root at some point and was eventually completely forgotten. It was actively grown in northern Japan, however, in Koshu, Uji and Siduzok provinces. The Matcha is pronounced as "Mattya" in the Land of the Rising Sun and is very popular.
Matcha is actually a regular green tea bush, but its leaves are processed using a special technology that makes the drink have a unique taste and aroma. This tea's main feature is that it comes in powder form. The leaves are first dried and then ground into the smallest powder to accomplish this.
It is worth noting that during cultivation the plant is hidden from direct sunlight. And harvesting begins 88-90 days after planting.
There are two ways to process the feedstock harvested:
- The first option is to remove all the stems and veins from the leaves before drying and then twist and dry the leaves.
- The second option is to dry without deforming the leaves.
The first option enables higher quality to be achieved. The leaves are steamed before drying, irrespective of the treatment option, then dried and ground to a powdery state. The result is a green powder that retains all of the plant's useful properties. The tea has a unique taste thanks to the unique production technology that can not be confused with anything else –light sweetness combined with barely noticeable bitterness. A drink that is well cooked has a thick texture and a green herbaceous color.
A curious fact! Matcha tea was not only used for its intended purpose in the 20th century. This powder was used in the production of certain medicinal and homeopathic medicinal products.
It was also used as an additive for confectionery, ice cream and tonic beverages in cosmetology and even in the food industry.
Matcha that is well cooked can rightly be considered a true cocktail of vitamins. It consists of:
- Vitamin C.
- Iron, zinc, and magnesium.
This tea is highly recommended for daily use due to this set of useful chemical compounds and properties. In addition, this drink helps normalize the body's metabolism.
The very name suggests that Darjeeling tea is an Indian drink Tea is one of the elite varieties with a unique taste and flavor. Darjeeling is a unique combination of softness and light astringency, fruity herbal notes combined with light spicy acidity. And there's always a light pleasant aftertaste after taking the drink. A bright and intense aroma accompanies all of this. These aromatic qualities are due to the unique soil and climate characteristics.
These tea plantations are located in Darjeeling city, at an altitude of 300-2300 meters (usually 1000 meters above sea level) on the ledges of the Himalayan mountains.
The high-altitude mountain climate has features such as high humidity and constant coolness (the temperature ranges from 8 to 25 degrees Celsius throughout the year). Simultaneously, the sour soil and clean mountain air enable cultivating genuinely unique and amazing varieties of the Indian Darjeeling leaf tea. Harvesting starts in March and finishes in November. The most valuable is the first harvest leaves (from March to May).
NOTE! Because this variety belongs to black teas, it has a bright amber color after cooking. The beverage's nobility is displayed by its light, pleasant tartness and fresh aroma. Such tea is brewed with cool (95-100 degrees) boiling water. Infuse it for 3-5 minutes.
Using additives (tea, cream, sugar, etc.) with such a drink is not advisable, as only the taste will be spoiled.
Ginseng tea is an exceptional healing drink. Essentially, it's a regular tea that can be black or green, but with ginseng root added. Ginseng stands for the "root of life" at home in China. The root of this plant contributes to longevity in traditional medicine in the Heavenly Empire and is a natural youth source.
Ginseng tea is an excellent tonic drink that can charge the energy all day long. A truly amazing drink with a unique taste, pleasant aroma and rich in vitamins and nutrients is obtained because of the unique combination of the beneficial properties of tea leaves and the root of life.
This drink's useful properties include:
- Strengthening immunity.
- Blood pressure normalization.
- Improved brain function.
- Promotes concentration and memory improvement.
- Reduces the risk of cancer.
- Restores strength and has tonic properties.
- For women, it facilitates menstruation and is a light natural aphrodisiac.
- For men, it increases testosterone levels and fights against erectile dysfunction.
Thanks to these features, green tea with ginseng is often used in traditional Chinese medicine. It should be noted that the list of useful effects is not complete. And useful properties in many ways depend on the type and variety of tea to use with ginseng. Ginseng tea today can be any black and green tea variety, as well as all oolong varieties.
Important! Do not abuse that drink.
With moderate use, it's not capable of causing harm. But it has a few contraindications:
- Infectious diseases and fever.
- Individual intolerance (ginseng allergy).
- Blood clotting disorders (bleeding).
Ginseng tea is recommended to receive no more than once a day. In this case, he is really able to refresh, energize and fully give all the useful properties.
These elite teas have a range of beneficial properties. It should be recognized, however, that not all the teas provided in stores belong to the elite varieties. Sadly, today we often encounter fakes and drinks produced from tea waste. These kinds of products should be avoided. You can have maximum pleasure and only benefit from high-quality and elite chai tea varieties. Only such drinks can charge you vigorously and give you a nice atmosphere throughout the day.