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The secret of the perfect cup

miracle Birth

Tea is produced in different countries of the world, with different climates, growing conditions, soil type and many different methods of processing and production. As a result, we get many varieties and types of tea.

Despite all this variety, all tea is made from one plant - Camellia Sinensis (Chinese camellia).

Tea picking is the subtlest art, on whose possession its quality depends. The classic method of collecting Indian and Ceylon tea is to pluck the "two upper leaves and the kidney," that is, the youngest shoots of the tea bush. Tea pickers walk through rows of tea bushes, the height of which is maintained at hand level for ease of picking. Despite the invention of special machines, they could not replace manual labor.

During the season, leaflets from each tea bush are collected approximately once a week. Each region has its own special kind of tea, methods for its collection and processing. Green tea predominates in China, and black tea prevails in India and Sri Lanka. The tea harvesting season in India is divided into four periods: during the first and second harvests (March-July), the best tea is harvested, the autumn harvest is harvested from "tired" bushes, and such tea cannot boast a rich taste.

Long way

Immediately after collection, excess moisture is removed from the tea leaves by withering or drying. According to Indian traditions, the leaves are dried in the open air or in a draft, the process can take from 8 to 24 hours, depending on climatic conditions. When the moisture content has decreased by about 50% and the leaves are sluggish, they are ready for the next stage of processing - curling. For this, special machines are used, but not all varieties of tea are twisted by machine or even undergo this process.

Then the tea is fermented, turning green tea leaves into familiar black tea thanks to the oxidation process. The difference between green and black tea is due to the difference in the degree of fermentation. The range of options is huge: from unfermented Chinese white tea, weakly fermented pushong tea, semi-fermented oolong tea, and fully fermented strong Indian black tea. In Ceylon and India, the fermentation process takes place at an ambient temperature of about 25 ° C. The process takes about two hours and is completely controlled by the masters to ensure the desired level of acidity of the tea, which will affect the taste of the infusion.

Then the process is stopped by the method of exposure to hot air. This can be conventional hot air or oven drying, wok-roasting, or hot steam (Sencha tea). As a result of drying, the moisture level of the tea leaves is further reduced. In classic Indian and Ceylon tea, it should not exceed 2%, which increases the shelf life of the tea.

Aromatization of tea is no less important part of its production. To do this, many different methods are used: essential oils are sprayed from a spray gun over a tea leaf in a drum mixer, pieces of dried fruit soaked in essential oil or dried flowers are mixed with a tea leaf in a few turns, giving tea soaked with their fragrance. So, jasmine tea is a combination of green tea leaves with fragrant jasmine flowers, Earl Gray combines black tea with the aroma of bergamot oil, and lapsang suchong acquires its characteristic flavor as a result of smoking a tea leaf over burning logs.

After drying, tea gets to a sorter who sorts the tea according to leaf size: whole leaf from large leaves, small leaf from leaf fragments of medium size, “sowing” - small fragments of tea leaves. What remains of the leaves during curling and drying is called “dust”.

Without much ado

To ensure that the whole difficult and long way of tea from bush to cup was not passed in vain, tea must be able to properly brew. It does not require long tea ceremonies, the main thing is to know the three basic rules:

1. Amount. If you brew leaf tea in a teapot, it is recommended to put one teaspoon of tea with a top or one tea bag per person (based on 250 ml of tea for each). If you prefer strong tea, add one more teaspoon of leaf tea or one tea bag "for teapot ". If the tea is green, then it can be used in less quantity, as most tea lovers prefer a lighter infusion of green tea. Herbal teas can vary greatly in volume and weight. Use two heaped teaspoons per person for rich fruit mixes (containing rose hips, raisins, apples). For lighter herbal mixtures (chamomile, mint or rooibos), one heaping teaspoon per person is sufficient.

2. Water. Always use fresh water for brewing, it contains the maximum percentage of oxygen, which helps to reveal the nature of tea. For black tea, oolong tea and all herbal teas, fill in water at the moment of maximum boil. It is better to brew green tea with hot, but not boiling water - 70-80 ° С. To do this, simply boil the kettle and let it cool for a few minutes.

3. Time. Depends on how strong tea you want to get. For black leaf tea and oolongs, from 3 to 5 minutes are enough, green and white - 2 - 3 minutes, to herbal teas - 5 minutes. Tea bags are brewed at 1-2 a minute faster due to the smaller leaf size.

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