Know Your Tea

Camellia Sinensis is the botanical name for the tea plant. Native to mainland South & South East Asia, the tea plant is now cultivated across the world in both tropical and sub-tropical regions. This evergreen shrub from camellia family can grow up to 17 metres in height and is usually trimmed to between three and four feet , to facilitate gathering.

There are 8 main varieties of Tea : White Tea,  Yellow Tea, Green Tea, Blue Tea, Black Tea, Matured( Pu-erh) Tea, Tea Flowers  & Red Tea

White Tea is a rare delicacy, consisting of the first few tender leaves and new buds of the tea tree, harvested in early spring time .The leaves are silvery white often covered with white down hairs. Totally unprocessed white tea leaves are simply picked and sun-dried and consequently retain the highest concentration of antioxidants.

The rarest and the most expensive tea in the world. Grown on a single mountain range in China, yellow is harvested on just one day a year, yielding only a few kilograms of finished tea. Yellow tea is slightly fermented, the leaves, warm & damp from the drying stage are lightly heated in a closed container, which causes them to turn yellow .

Leaves are not oxidised , thereby retaining their natural verdant colour and delicate flavour. To prevent the natural process of oxidation from occurring, freshly picked leaves are dehydrated wither by Pan Frying ( Chinese Method) or Steaming ( Japanese method) , this is followed by hand rolling, drying and sorting in different grades.

Commonly Known as Oolong meaning “Black Dragon” in China. Blue tea is semi-fermented hence it combines the fresh fragrance of green tea with the rich & aromatic complexity of black tea.

Black Tea is completely oxidised and when processed, undergoes the five primary steps of withering, rolling, fermentation, drying and sorting. Full bodied yet mild, these teas are generally classified based on leaf grades/size & strength.

Pu-Erh teas can be found either loose or compressed .Unlike black tea, matured tea undergoes a secondary oxidation & fermentation, making it a truly unique type of tea. Rolled and shaped, they are dried in the sun and then pressed into cakes or left uncompressed. As with some fine wines, certain matured teas are renowned for improving with age.

Red Tea is also known as Rooibos, it is produced from a bush known as the Aspalathus linearis in South Africa. Red tea leaves are generally oxidised-process which enhances the flavour and produces the distinctive red colour after which this tea is named. 

Strong teas refer to the teas which yield a dark colour, medium to full bodied infusion with prominent aroma & strong flavour as a result of the oxidation which these teas undergo during processing . This includes Black, Matured/Pu-Erh & Oolong Teas .Light teas refer to the teas which yield a natural verdant colour, light bodied infusion with mild aroma & delicate flavour as they are least processed and unoxidized .This includes Green, White, Yellow & Flower Teas.

Herbal Teas or Tisanes are made from plants other than Camellia Sinensis ( the tea plant) hence they are Theine free. Many herbs ,flowers, fruits or spices for example Chamomile , Mint, Lemon Grass and Hibiscus are used to give soothing, health beneficial infusions , also if the leaves of the tea plant are not included, neither the dried product nor the liquor then it shouldn’t be referred to as ‘tea’. The correct name is ‘Herbal Infusion’ or ‘Tisane’.

These teas are meant for consumers who are sensitive to Caffeine. In Decaffeinated tea caffeine is removed by treating the tea with an organic solvent . It is not totally free of caffeine . After Decaffeination, a small percentage of caffeine still remains in leaf.

Pour simmering water over 2.5 grams of tea leaves or a tea bag per cup and infuse for anywhere between 2 to 7 minutes depending on the variety of tea. Remove leaves and serve.

To preserve the unique characteristics of each variety of tea, it is essential to use only filtered water. Undoubtedly, the best tea infusion is prepared with ‘soft’ water, since a high calcium content gives rise to deposits on the surface of the cup.

For black teas, we recommend infusing 2.5 grams of tea per cup in water not exceeding 95ºC for 2 to 3 minutes. Best enjoyed in the Morning .

For all types of Oolong teas, we recommend infusing 2.5 grams of tea per cup, in water not exceeding 95º C for 2 to 3 minutes. Best enjoyed in the Afternoon.

For green teas , we recommend infusing 2.5 grams of tea per cup in 95ºC water for 2 to 3 minutes. Best enjoyed in the Afternoon

It is recommended to infuse 5 grams white tea leaves per cup, in water not exceeding 85ºC for up to 7 minutes. Best enjoyed in afternoon & evening.

Coffee has Caffeine and Tea has Theine. Caffeine and theine are chemically identical, both are stimulants, the only thing that sets them apart is the concentration. Caffeine content goes instantly into our circulatory system jolting us to wakefulness, causing the pulse to beat faster and the blood to pump more vigorously. Theine in tea is a result of oxidised polyphenols which gives it a stimulant effect. We ingest lesser theine in a cup of tea than caffeine in coffee and that releases much slower in the body giving a sense of relaxation while providing prolonged alertness.

Age old beliefs in tea’s healing powers are continuously being validated by new scientific discoveries. Drinking Tea is more than a pleasant hedonistic experience .It is also an investment in a healthier future .Teas are particularly rich in vitamins, Zinc & Antioxidants. 

Digestion & Body Fatigue: Black Teas Improve Digestion and drain the body of excess fluids. It is also very effective against bodily fatigue. Pu-erh tea in particular, helps in the digestion of rich foods.

Immunity: White & Green teas are the least processed and thus contains the highest level of polyphenols and other antioxidants and are known to cool the body and stimulate the immune system 

Weight Loss & Increased Metabolism: Research has shown that green tea consumption can speed up the metabolism when regularly consumed, it helps in weight loss and certainly contributes to a balanced diet, increasing energy output and fat oxidation.

Cancer: The leaves of the Camellia Sinensis tea plant are rich in polyphenols-an antioxidant which is particularly found in Green & White teas and active in fighting & killing cancer cells without damaging the healthy tissue around them.

Diabetes: Green & Oolong Teas delay the onset of type 2 Diabetes and suppress symptoms caused by this disease, including blurred vision and kidney failure .Tea also contain compounds that could potentially replace Insulin- an essential regulator of blood sugar.

Heart Diseases: According to the scientists, Green Tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping keep them stay relaxed and better able to withstand changes in blood pressure. It may also protect against blockage of arteries which are the primary cause of heart attacks.

Healthy Cholesterol Level: Green & White teas inhibit the oxidation of Bad Cholesterol in the blood and thus maintain a healthy good cholesterol level in the blood.

Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s : Green Tea introduces polyphenols into the body, which provide protection against free radicals, thereby slowing the degenerative effects of these diseases, while protecting and repairing damaged brain cells.

Healthy Teeth & Bones: Catechins in tea are natural sources of fluoride which keep our bones and tooth enamel healthy thus prevent tooth decay.

Anxiety & Depression: Theanine (not to be confused with Theine) is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves .It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect. It also reduces stress & relaxes the body.

Anti -Viral & Anti-Bacterial: Tea catechins have strong anti-microbial & anti-viral properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria & viruses. It also reverses the resistance of tough pathogens and thus inhibits spread of many diseases.

Detoxifier & Diuretic: Tea is primarily known to have a cleaning effect on the body due to its detoxifying and diuretic virtues. The nutrients in tea take part in the elimination of damaged cells & free radicals in the body and contribute to curbing damage caused by toxins while maintaining a healthy blood fluid level.

Skin Care: Green & White teas combat skin ageing & inflammation. Antioxidants in these teas slow down the skin ageing and prevent wrinkles. Red Tea is recognised by all scientific institutions for its medicinal benefits and especially for its anti-allergenic properties which cures skin allergies. Rooibos is also very effective in fighting skin problems like acne, eczema and psoriasis. Chamomile has always been used to treat skin inflammations, wounds and ulcers.