linda villano, serendipitea, tea brewing
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  The Tea House Times Guest Blog - Linda Villano
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TEA VARIETIES: A Refresher by Linda Villano, SerendipiTea

Monday, May 23rd 2016 @ 1:29 PM

All Tea comes from ONE plant - Camellia sinensis



Photo credit SerendipiTea

….yet there are many different varietals & cultivars of the plant. ALL tea is withered. Withering is moisture evaporating from the leaf. Following is a stripped-down, greatly simplified explanation of production.

WHITE TEA is picked, withered & bake dried.


Yin Zhen
Photo credit SerendipiTea


GREEN TEA
is picked then steamed to neutralize active enzymes. After steaming, the leaf is withered then manipulated to achieve the desired leaf finish, then steamed again


Gyokuro
Photo credit SerendipiTea

or pan fired.


Dragon’s Well (Lung Ching)
Photo credit SerendipiTea


YELLOW TEA
undergoes something similar to green tea manufacturing but after pan-frying, there is a slow oxidation process where the buds & leaves are wrapped in paper or cloth, then left to dry naturally for several hours. The process, called "Sealing the Yellow", is repeated sometimes for days.


Huo Shan Huang Ya
Photo credit SerendipiTea


OOLONG TEA
is basket tossed after withering. There is no steaming, as the enzymes need to remain active. Basket tossing bruises the edges & exposes the leaf's enzymes to oxygen initiating oxidation. Oxidation is the process that contributes to the flavor profiles of Oolong & Black tea. After PARTIAL oxidation occurs, between 15% to 75%,


Tung Ting/Dong Ding
Photo credit SerendipiTea

the leaf can be pan fired, baked or heat-finished by other methods. Note: The oolong process is very complicated & varied with many steps as there are many types & styles of this tea type. The above is an extremely simplified overview.


Da Hong Pao
Photo credit SerendipiTea


BLACK TEA
is roll broken after withering; there is no steaming as the enzymes need to remain active. Roll breaking cracks the surface of the leaf exposing the leaf's enzymes to oxygen initiating oxidation. Oxidation is the process that contributes to the flavor profiles of Oolong & Black tea. After FULL oxidation occurs, the leaf is then finished with forced hot air.


Ceylon
Photo credit SerendipiTea


PU-ERH (DARK TEA)
is made from large leaves of the Dayeh varietal. Pu-erh is either Green (raw) or Black (cooked) ie Oxidized. Black (cooked) tea is fully oxidized, fired & then often aged in specially designed caves or climate controlled rooms during & after undergoing a “composting” procedure through which helpful Bacteria growth is encouraged by introducing moisture to drying piles of tea leaves which are regularly turned & tended. Green Pu-erh is oxidized slightly before being fired & then oxidizes completely slowly over time. Once aged the desired amount, the leaves might be compressed into cakes, disks, buttons, or bird's nest shapes.


Pu-erh Golden Tip
Photo credit SerendipiTea


Pu-Erh Tuo Cha
Photo credit SerendipiTea


Raw PuErh Tea Cake
Photo credit SerendipiTea


TISANES
are not TEA (Camellia sinensis). Tisanes do not contain tea (Camellia sinensis). Tisanes contain botanicals such as HERBS, SPICES, FLORALS or FRUIT to create their flavor profiles. Most Tisanes are CAFFEINE FREE, that is NO CAFFEINE - NATURALLY!


Rooibos
Photo credit SerendipiTea


Sssspicy
Photo credit SerendipiTea


Chamomile
Photo credit SerendipiTea


Strictly Strawberry
Photo credit SerendipiTea


CHEERS!


~ Linda Villano, SerendipiTea

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© All content and images are copyright of author.
--
LINDA VILLANO co-founded SerendipiTea.com in 1995 with Tomislav Podreka. With a passion for all things Tea, she oversees all aspects of the business; including client consulting, concept and design, staff training, sourcing and product development (recipe creations). Having grown up in a family of restaurateurs and chefs, she considers her role as a purveyor of premium teas & tisanes a natural continuation of her family’s culinary tradition.   Linda is a published illustrator and writer. Her illustrations appear in Tomislav Podreka’s book, SerendipiTea: a guide to the varieties, origins and rituals of tea, and she writes articles about tea for trade publications.

Direct url to this guest blog: http://linda.theteahousetimes.com

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