TEA

ALL ABOUT TEA:

Tea, which everyone is crazy about these days, especially in India and Pakistan. Many households don’t take breakfast without tea, and the evening doesn’t feel complete without it. People find comfort in tea. Let’s explore the history, the process of making it, its types, and its benefits.

History Of Tea:

Tea was first discovered in China. Emperor Shen Nong, also known as the founder of agriculture, experimented with it in the 3rd century. From China, it spread to Japan, then to Europe, India, and eventually all over the world. Initially, tea was primarily used as a medicine, but later it began to be consumed as a beverage.

Tea is available in our homes in the form of dark brown powder, but that doesn’t mean tea inherently exists in this powder form; rather, tea is prepared from tea leaves. The scientific name for tea leaves is Camellia Sinensis.For growing tea leaves, a temperate climate and rainfall are required. When tea plants are first grown, they mature after three years, but then they continue to yield tea leaves for up to 100 years. Tea plants can grow to a height of 10 to 20 meters. When tea leaves mature, they are plucked from the bushes in a process called plucking. Ideally, during plucking, only two leaves and a bud are picked. As soon as the plants mature, the leaves are immediately plucked; otherwise, they spoil.

Tea leaves can be plucked manually as well as with machines. When machines are used, they tend to pluck all the upper leaves at once, whereas manual plucking ensures better quality leaves, although it requires a lot of labor and time. Therefore, most often, machines are used to pluck the leaves. After plucking, the leaves are tied into bundles and sent to factories. The first process carried out in the factories is withering,then leaf distortion after that fermentation is done then drying, grading,and packaging is done.

Withering:

After weighing, the next process is called withering. In withering, the moisture content of tea leaves is reduced to 50% to 70%. In factories, the temperature for reducing the moisture content of these leaves is not set too high; instead, it is kept slightly above room temperature. The reason for not providing high temperature is to prevent the enzymes in the leaves from being damaged.

Leaf Distortion:

Now, the process of leaf distortion involves two methods: the old method and the new method.

In the old method, tea leaves are rolled on the palm of the hand. This causes the enzymes and polyphenols present in the leaves to react with each other, producing granules. This method is considered traditional.

However, in the new method, known as the CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl) method, a machine is used to pass the leaves through, crushing and tearing them while also curling them. In this method, the enzymes and polyphenols react more effectively with each other, resulting in a higher quality product.

Fermentation:

The leaves, which have been crushed, undergo a process in which they are oxidized. This process involves controlled temperature and specific conditions. During this process, the leaves’ color darkens, and flavor develops. It lasts for 3 to 5 hours and is carried out at room temperature. The taste of the tea depends on this stage, and it entirely depends on the manufacturer how strong or refreshing they want their tea to be. Fermentation is considered complete when the leaves change to a brown color.

Drying:

After fermentation, the leaves are dried on drying trays where a temperature of 90° to 120°C is provided. Here, the moisture content is maintained at 3 to 4%.

Grading:

When tea leaves are converted into final tea, they don’t all have the same characteristics. Therefore, tea is graded according to its size, shape, and quality, typically falling into four grades: whole, broken, fanning, and dust.

Packaging:

When the tea is completely ready, the final step is packaging. The tea is packed in tea pouches, tea jars, tea bags, and sachets, and labeled accordingly. Prices are then set based on market conditions, and the tea is distributed in this manner. This is how tea is made available in the market.

Types of Tea:

There are lot of types of tea some of them are following;

Black tea:

In homes, black tea is commonly used. For making black tea, no separate method is applied in factories; it undergoes complete fermentation and oxidation processes, resulting in a dark color and robust, malty flavor. By robust, it means a strong flavor. Speaking of the benefits of black tea, individuals who consume it daily are less prone to cardiac diseases. Black tea contains caffeine, which reduces fatigue and keeps the mind fresh. It also aids in weight loss.

Green Tea:

When it comes to discussing how green tea is made, it’s considered a very healthy tea and is becoming increasingly famous. For making green tea, there’s no need for withering and fermentation. First, it’s harvested or plucked, then it undergoes either a steaming or pan-frying process. Steaming is a Japanese method, while pan-frying is a Chinese method. In this process, the tea leaves are exposed to a bit of heat, which doesn’t affect its chlorophyll content, and the caffeine content is lower than that in black tea. One major benefit of green tea is that it’s very helpful in weight loss.

White Tea:

White tea, which is not very common, is a rare type of tea but highly beneficial and healthy. In the process of making white tea, the rolling and oxidation steps are skipped, and it is kept natural. It contains a high amount of antioxidants, which promotes overall health. It has a delicate flavor and is also beneficial for the skin.

So, here is some information about tea. Tea has many benefits, and now it’s playing an important role in the rituals of many countries. Its leaves absorb sunlight, water, climate, and nutrients, giving us a very pleasant taste that helps alleviate mental stress.

 

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