(Date Posted:02/19/2009 20:38 PM)
tea refers to tea that originates from the island of Sri Lanka, located
south of India. Sri Lanka was formerly known as Ceylon, and the tea
refers to the past name.
Sri Lanka is a mountainous island and
as a result, Ceylon tea is grown at a variety of altitudes, and Ceylon
tea has a variety of flavors. Tea is grown from 2500 feet to over 6000
feet. It is said that the best Ceylon tea is grown at 4000-5000 feet.
Ceylon tea is mainly black tea, but recently tea estates have experimented with both green and oolong teas.
History of Ceylon tea
many years, the main crop produced on Ceylon was coffee. However, after
coffee crops were decimated by a fungus in 1869, the remaining estate
owners were forced to diversify into tea to survive.
bankrupt tea estates were bought by Sir Thomas Lipton, whose company,
Lipton Tea, eventually became one of the largest tea companies in the
world. At one point, Lipton Tea owned over twenty tea estates on the
Until 1971, over 80% of the tea estates on the island
were owned and managed by British companies. This changed when the Sri
Lankan government initiated the Land Reform Act which gave control of
the majority of estates to the government. However, since 1990 private
interests have become more involved in the management of the estates.
Estates and varieties of Ceylon tea
There are five estates and five broad varieties of Ceylon tea.
* Dimbula is a region that is drenched by the monsoon during August and
September. The best teas from this region are from the dry months of
January and February. Dimbula is a Ceylon Tea noted for its strength
and powerful aroma. The tea is recommended with milk.
* Galle is
located in the southern part of the island. Tea from this region has
regular-sized leaves and has a golden appearance when brewed. Galle tea
is known for its gentle, subtle taste, and is recommended with milk.
* Nuwara Ellya is noted as the best quality Ceylon tea. Tea from the
Nuwara Ellya region has a bright flavor and the liquid has a golden
appearance. Tea from this region is best drunk with little or no milk.
* Uva is a region to the east of the central mountains and produces tea
with a mellow flavor. The best teas from this region are harvested
between June and September. The Ceylon Tea from this region are copper
colored, with a smooth taste and is complimented well with milk.
Ratnapura is a region that produces low-quality Ceylon tea. The tea
grown from this region is mainly used as part of blends, but some are
also sold alone. Tea from this region has a long-leaved appearance and
a gentle, smooth taste. They can be drunk alone or with milk.
Chai refers to spiced tea from India. The word chai means tea, and therefore it is unnecessary to refer to Chai as Chai Tea.
term for chai is Masala Chai. This term is sometimes used as chai is a
generic term for tea in many languages. For instance, the Chinese term
for tea is 'cha', which is phonetically similar to chai.
tea is very popular in India and is steadily gaining popularity around
the world. Chai is not a type of tea by itself, but is rather a class
of tea due to the wide variety and the fact that is technically a
Chai is generally a mixture of strong black tea, milk,
various spices and a sweetener. Strong tea is used so that the other
ingredients would not overpower the tea. Plain white sugar can be used
as a sweetener, although unprocessed sugar, molasses, honey can also be
For spices, the most common elements are cardamom,
cinnamon, ginger, peppercorn and cloves. Other spices such as nutmeg,
chocolate and licorice are also used, but to a lesser extent.
can also be made using green tea - this is known as green chai - but
because of green tea's weaker flavor, only certain spices are used in
Spices used to make Chai tea
The most common spices used are:
Cardamom: A fragrant spice that comes in green and black varieties. The
green variety is used for chai te. It is recommended that cardamom
should be heated in a hot pan before use, to ensure that the full aroma
is brought out.
Cinnamon: For chai tea, cinnamon chunks or sticks is recommended.
Cloves: Whole cloves are used for chai, and usually one or two is enough for a large pot.
Pepper: Whole peppercorns should be used - they should be ground when necessary.
Ginger: A root, ginger has a strong spicy flavor reminiscent of citrus.
Other spices that are used in chai tea include:
Ajwain: A strong, bitter spice used to aid digestion.
Allspice: A spice that, like its name suggests, tastes like a
combination of pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It comes as
berries, which should be crushed just before use.
Taken from the seed of the cilantro plant, it has a sweet taste similar
to citrus peel. They should be roasted and grounded when used in making
Chocolate: For chai tea, unsweetened dark chocolate is mostly used.
Fennel: Used as a breath freshener and digestive aid, fennel can be either crushed or used whole.
Licorice: A sweet, strongly-flavored root spice, it is often available in teabag form.
Nutmeg: This spice is commonly used for cooking as a topping. Nutmeg
has a subtle flavor similar to a mixture of cinnamon and pepper. If
used in chai, it should be added just before drinking, as nutmeg
quickly loses its flavor when heated.
Vanilla: Beans are
recommended as they offer the best aroma and taste. The seeds should be
removed from the beans before use. Vanilla extracts should only be used
if it is a pure extract.
Tea used in chai
There are several black teas that can be used in making chai.
Darjeeling tea, with its light taste, works well in combination with subtle spices such as cardamom.
strongly-flavored Chai, Assam and Keemun teas are recommended. Both are
strong-tasting teas that will not be overwhelmed by spices such as
ginger. Keemun tea in particular adds a cocoa overtone to Chai. Another
tea that is recommended is Nilgiri Tea, which is versatile enough to
suit most spices.
Green chai tea
A version of chai
that is becoming popular is green chai tea, made from green tea. Green
tea is a tea that is gaining popularity due to its light, refreshing
taste, and it is not surprising that green chai has also developed.
chai is also popular with those who do not like the strong tastes of
black tea, used for usual chai. However, only subtle spices are used in
making green chai tea, due to the green tea's weaker taste. Spices used
for green chai include nutmeg.
Chinese Black Tea
black tea is black tea that originates from China. Chinese black tea is
mainly drunk in the west and northwest of China, although it has also
gathered popularity in Western markets.
Chinese black tea is
known as "hong cha" in Chinese, or "red tea". This name more
appropriately describes the color of the liquid, although in the West,
the term "red tea" is reserved for Rooibos tea, a South African tea
made from the rooibos plant.
Chinese Black Tea originates from the Fujian province of China, but other provinces have also produced black tea.
taste of Chinese black tea differs between varieties. There is quite a
range of tastes, from the fruit-like textures of Keemun Tea, to the
fine quality of Yunnan Tea and the very strong Lapsang souchong.
Varieties of Chinese black tea
There are many varieties of Chinese black tea. The main varieties are Lapsang souchong, Keemun tea and Yunnan tea.
souchong is the strongest Chinese black tea, and one of the strongest
of the tea varieties. The leaves are a dark with a golden tip, and
Lapsang souchong has a bold, assertive and smoky flavor.
smoky flavor of Lapsang souchong comes from its unorthodox method of
production - it is withered and dried over burning pine or cedar.
tea is a Chinese black tea with a fruity, wine-like taste. Like Lapsang
souchong, there is a hint of pine in its taste. It originates from the
Anhui Province and has a relatively brief history, with its first
production in 1875. Some varieties of Keemun tea are bitterer than
Yunnan tea is from the Yunnan Province in southern
China. It has a robust and malty taste, and the best Yunnan tea are
noted for their fineness. There are three varieties of Yunnan tea, and
the best variety contains only the golden tips of leaves.
Yunnan tea should be brewed carefully, as it is a Chinese black tea that can easily taste bitter.
Pu-erh tea and Chinese black tea
is a common error to say that Pu-erh Tea is a variety of Chinese black
tea. The mistake is commonly made because Pu-erh tea has a similar
appearance to Chinese black tea, with the leaves being black.
Pu-erh tea is technically not a Chinese black tea. The processing
method is different and Pu-erh tea cannot be made from Chinese black
tea. Pu-erh also does not pour red like Chinese black tea, but rather
pours dark brown to black.
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:02/19/2009 20:46 PM)
Earl Grey Tea
Grey tea is a black tea blended with bergamot oil - a bergamot is a
small, acidic orange, and the oil is extracted from the rind.
Grey tea has a bright, refreshing taste. A versatile tea, Earl Grey can
be served hot, either by itself or with milk and sugar, and can also be
used to make iced tea. Sold in over ninety countries around the world,
Earl Grey is the world's most popular tea.
History of Earl Grey tea
Earl Grey tea is named after Charles Grey, the second Earl Grey and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the 19th century.
story of Earl Grey tea is enshrouded in legend. The most common version
of the legend says that the Earl received a gift of bergamot-flavored
tea in 1834, from a Chinese mandarin during a visit to China. One
version of the story attributes the gift as a diplomatic pre-requisite,
while another version attributes the Earl as saving the mandarin's son
from drowning and was offered a gift in gratitude.
became very popular in the Prime Minister's drawing room. Twinings,
Earl Grey's tea merchants, were given a sample of the tea and were
asked to create a similar match. The family gave permission for the
blend to be sold to the public, and the Twinings blend includes Chinese
tea, Indian Darjeeling, Ceylon tea and Lapsang souchong, a
strong-tasting and smoky black tea.
Earl Grey tea variations
similar tea to Earl Grey is the Lady Grey. Like the Earl Grey, the Lady
Grey is a black tea blend, but with Seville orange and lemon as well as
bergamot in the mixture. Another similar tea is the Earl Green tea,
which uses green tea instead of black. Earl Green is said to be a
milder version of Earl Grey.
Another tea company, however,
claims to be the originator of Earl Grey. Jacksons of Piccadilly claim
that the Earl had given the recipe to them in 1830. According to
Jacksons, this recipe has been in constant production since then, and
has never left their hands. The Jacksons recipe uses Chinese tea
Contrary to popular belief, the name Earl Grey does
not mean the tea is of good quality! Some brands of Earl Grey use a
heavy amount of bergamot oil to mask the inferior quality of their
black tea. It is always recommended that the tea is bought from a
quality company, and is tasted before purchase.
souchong is a black tea from the Fujian province in China. Historically
considered a "man's tea", Lapsang souchong (or lapsang for short) is
considered to be one of the strongest varieties of tea.
"Souchong" means sub-variety, to differentiate Lapsang souchong from other black teas in the region.
souchong tea leaves are dark with a golden tip. Lapsang souchong has an
amber-red color when brewed. Lapsang souchong has a bold, assertive and
smoky flavor, with a touch of a sweet fruit from China called longan.
Lapsang souchong is said to be the best compliment to spicy or salty
Lapsang souchong is used as part of Earl Grey tea.
drinkers have purported that Lapsang Souchong is especially suited for
drinking after intense physical activity, such as hiking, distance
running or rock climbing.
History of Lapsang Souchong
A legend claims that Lapsang souchong was discovered by accident.
the Qing dynasty, one army camped in a tea factory one evening, while
there were fresh leaves waiting processing. After the soldiers had
left, the tea workers realized there was not enough time for the leaves
to dry before they could arrive at the market on time. To hasten the
drying process, the workers lit pine wood and hung the leaves over the
The tea did arrive at the market on time, and did far
better than the workers had anticipated. The smoked flavor created a
sensation, and the tea quickly became well-known.
Production of Lapsang Souchong
Lapsang souchong is oxidized for a long time, and undergoes several stages of production.
the leaves are harvested, they are withered over pine or cedar fires,
before being pan-fried, rolled and fully oxidized. After the leaves are
oxidized, the Lapsang souchong is then placed in bamboo baskets and
fully dried over burning pine.
Due to the amount of burning
involved in the production of Lapsang souchong, the tea has sometimes
been described has having an "oak" flavor.
tea is a black tea produced from the Nilgiri region, in southern India.
The Nilgiri region - or the "blue mountains" - is a mountainous region,
where tea is grown from 1000 meters to 2500 meters above sea level. Tea
has been grown in Nilgiri since the late 1800s.
Due to the
elevation at which the tea is grown, plus the rainfall which varies
between 100 and 600 centimeters a year, the conditions promote the
growth of a tea with a distinctive and brisk flavor.
is known as a robust, smooth and versatile tea that can be used in a
variety of situations, both by itself and as part of a mixture. Nilgiri
tea is known as one of the most distinctive-tasting teas. Some
varieties have a taste reminiscent of lemons.
By itself, Nilgiri
tea can be drunk with or without sugar or milk and can be made into
iced tea. As part of a mixture, Nilgiri tea can be used to make Chai,
as its strong taste can compliment subtle spices and is not overwhelmed
by stronger spices.
When poured, Nilgiri tea has dark amber color.
Production of Nilgiri tea
Tea is processed using the "crush, tear and curl" (CTC) method. Leaves
processed using the CTC method are not rolled, but are placed through
cylindrical rollers with small teeth. The rollers crush, tear and curl
the leaves, hence the name of the method.
CTC was developed
during the Second World War to increase the weight of tea that can be
packed into a bag or sack. With the popularity of tea bags, this method
has also grown in popularity.
Tea processed using CTC tend to
brew faster and yields more cups of tea per kilogram. The brewed tea
often tends towards a red color, such as the case with Nilgiri tea.
Preparation of Nilgiri tea
preparing Nilgiri Tea, one teaspoon should be used per 6 oz. cup. The
water should be boiled thoroughly before being poured, and the tea
should be allowed to brew for 3-4 minutes.
usertype:1 tt= 0