Warm Up with Tea This Winter
Tea is made by steeping processed leaves, buds, or twigs of the tea bush in hot water for a few minutes. A great variety of tea tastes, aromas and colors can excite even the most skeptical drinker!
Black tea is the leaves of the camellia sinensis after being exposed to 8-24 hours of open air. After the leaves are picked, they are spread out to dry in the open air. After this part of the process, the tea leaves are balled into rolls that encourage oxidization. When fully oxidized, the leaves turn into a rich black color.
Oolong tea is another tea category and is considered to be the most difficult of the four types of teas to process. This is because the leaves are only partially oxidized during the processing. The final step involves steaming the leaves, which neutralizes the enzymes in the tea and prevents further oxidization.
Green teas, like white teas, are closer to tasting like fresh leaves of grass than the other two tea categories. This type of tea is also lower in caffeine and has higher antioxidant properties. The whole process of creating green tea revolves around preventing oxidization from taking place in the leaves. After steaming, the leaves are rolled up, still quite green in color.
White tea has recently become a popular item in the west as it is the least processed tea and thus tastes the most like fresh leaves or grass. White tea is made of the little buds of the tea plant. Like green tea, white tea is steamed or pan fried to prevent any kind of oxidization, and great care is taken to avoid bruising or crushing the tea.