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Title: Miscellaneous Types of Tea
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From: USA
Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:02/19/2009 20:56 PM)
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Miscellaneous Types of Tea

Generally, most types of teas can be classified into one of four categories: black tea, green tea, oolong tea and herbal tea.

However, in addition to this, there are also a number of more unusual teas that do not fit into these categories.

The following pages contain information on several of these more unusual yet equally fascinating types of tea and their preparation methods:

  • Bubble Tea (Boba Tea)
    Originating in Taiwan in the early 1980s, Bubble Tea is now a growing phenomenon that is taking the world by storm! Find out all about this extremely popular and unique flavored drink!
  • Darjeeling Tea
    One of the world's most expensive teas, learn about the different varieties, taste and preparation of Darjeeling Tea - the champagne of teas!
  • Decaffeinated Tea
    Health conscious tea drinkers may be concerned with the level of caffeine found in many types of tea. Learn about the different varieties and the process of making Decaf Tea.
  • Detox Tea for Cleansing
    Certain types of tea are renowned for having beneficial cleansing characteristics. Learn about the properties and health benefits of Detox Tea.
  • Iced Tea - Preparation and Serving
    Increasingly popular as a healthy alternative to soda and other artificial drinks, learn about the properties and preparation of Iced Tea.
  • Organic Tea for Health and Nutrition
    Only grown and treated using 100% natural fertilizers and pesticides, organic tea is increasingly becoming the preferred choice for the discerning environmentally and health-conscious tea drinker.
  • Pu-erh Chinese Tea
    An unusual type of fermented tea with several health benefits, learn about the different varieties, taste and preparation of Pu-erh Tea.
  • Rooibos Tea (Red Tea)
    A very popular variety of caffeine-free tea with a unique red appearance, learn about the properties and health benefits of Rooibos Tea.
  • Sun Tea Preparation Guide
    Usually made in summer, when the temperature is at least 100°F, learn about the properties and methods of making Sun Tea.

Bubble Tea (Boba Tea)

Bubble tea (or Boba tea) is the generic name for any tea that contains tapioca pearl. Before consumption, the tea needs to be shaken to mix all the ingredients, and it would form bubbles - hence the name Bubble Tea!

A versatile drink, bubble tea comes in many variations of flavor and color. Due to its versatility, it is fast becoming one of the most popular tea drinks in the world.

Other names for bubble tea include black pearl tea, boba ice tea, boba drink, boba, pearl tea drink, pear shake, pearl milk tea, tapioca ball drink, QQ and many others.

Drinking bubble tea

Bubble tea is normally served cold and in a clear plastic container, with the tapioca pearl resting on the bottom.

The tea itself is milk tea. Flavoring, crushed ice and fresh fruit are added to the tea, creating a variety of different colors. Fruit juice and coconut can also be added, to create different tastes. The tea is drunk through a large straw - the straw is needed to suck up the large pearls.

The variety of flavors and colors is completely up to your imagination - There is even multi-colored bubble tea! Usually bubble tea comes in pastel colors, such as yellow, orange or green.

Making bubble tea

When making bubble tea, the tea mixture is placed in the container first, followed by the flavoring, fresh fruit, crushed ice and finally the tapioca pearl. The container is sealed over with plastic, and the contents firmly shaken. The lid is finally pierced by a large straw.

Tapioca pearls are black, but can also be white or translucent. The black tapioca pearls are made from sweet potatoes, tapioca starch - made from tapioca root - and brown sugar. The white and translucent pearls are made from caramel, starch and chamomile root extract. Tapioca pearls have a soft, chewy gum-like texture - much like gummy lollies.

History of bubble tea

Bubble tea originated in Taiwan. In the early 1980s, small tea stands would compete with each other for the best bubble tea, while elementary school children would look forward to buying a drink after a long day at school. One enterprising owner started adding different fruit flavoring to her tea. When this became popular, other tea stall owners followed suit.

In 1983, Liu Han-Chieh introduced tapioca pearls to Taiwan, and it became popular to add the pearls to a drink. The tapioca pearls were usually served in cold tea, along with some flavoring. After the various ingredients - tea, flavoring and tapioca pearls - were placed together, they were shaken well. The bubble from the shaking and the bubble-like appearance of the tapioca pearl gave bubble tea its name.

The phenomenon quickly spread throughout Taiwan, then to other countries. One company has over 450 shops in the Philippines alone!

Bubble tea can be made at home, although it is easier to buy direct from a store. Preparing the tapioca pearls can be labor intensive, and the tapioca pearl must be used immediately to maintain its gum-like texture.

Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling Tea is one of the world's most expensive teas. Traditionally known as the "champagne of teas", it is only grown, cultivated and processed in the hilly areas of Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India. There are 86 Tea Estates within that area, and only tea from these estates may be called Darjeeling Tea.

Darjeeling Tea is known for its distinctive aroma and fragrance. There are four varieties of Darjeeling Tea, but generally Darjeeling Tea has a spicy and muscatel (grape-like) taste. The muscatel quality is one of Darjeeling Tea's most famed qualities.

Varieties of darjeeling tea

Darjeeling Tea can come in four varieties, according to its season of harvesting.

The first variety is known as Easter Flush. This variety features tender, light-green leaves. The tea is known for its light appearance and brisk flavor. It is harvested from March to April.

The second variety is known as the Spring Flush. This variety is characterized by its purple bloom. It has an amber appearance and a slight fruit taste. Cultivated from May to June, tea from this harvest is known for its strong muscatel flavor.

Summer Flush is harvested from July to September. This variety is the strongest of the Darjeeling Tea varieties. Despite its strong flavor, the tea maintains the brightness of the other varieties.

The last variety is Autumn Flush, which is harvested from October to November. The Darjeeling Tea harvested in this period is known for its copper tinge and delicate taste.

Darjeeling Tea is not produced during winter.

Preparing darjeeling tea

Enjoying the full taste of Darjeeling Tea is a simple process. Simply place one tablespoon of Darjeeling Tea into a cup, and pour boiling water on top. Allow the tea to brew for three to four minutes. Darjeeling Tea can be drunk by itself, or with milk and sugar.

If milk and sugar are to be added, the tea should be allowed to brew for five minutes.

Darjeeling Tea can also be cooled and used as ice tea. When used as iced tea, a slice of lemon is recommended as a compliment.

Identifying genuine darjeeling tea

In the modern world of global tea trading, falsification is a serious problem facing both growers and buyers. The yearly worldwide trade of tea named as Darjeeling exceeds 40,000 tonnes annually, yet the production of genuine Darjeeling tea is approximately 8,000 to 11,0000 tonnes.

Therefore, to ensure that the tea is genuine Darjeeling Tea, the tea must be marked by the Darjeeling Logo. The Darjeeling Logo is a green circular marking, with the image of a Nepalese woman tea plucker on the right side and the word "Darjeeling" on the upper left section. This is to symbolize the fact that all Darjeeling tea is plucked by Nepalese women.

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RE:Miscellaneous Types of Tea
(Date Posted:02/19/2009 20:57 PM)

Decaffeinated Tea

Decaffeinated tea (or decaf tea for short) is tea with much less caffeine content than usual tea, or tea that does not contain any caffeine.

Caffeine is a stimulant that may cause sleeplessness in drinkers as it works on the central nervous system. Decaf tea does not have the same effect and some drinkers also find it healthier.

Tea made from the tea plant normally has 1.6% to 4.5% caffeine, depending on the level of fermentation. For tea to be classified as decaffeinated tea, at least 97% of the caffeine content must be removed.

True decaf tea - that is, completely caffeine-free tea - only applies to herbal teas, or tea not made from the tea plant. A popular choice is rooibos tea, made from the rooibos plant of South Africa.

Decaf tea made from tea leaves can come in both black and green tea varieties. Some green tea varieties may also have such low caffeine content that they qualify as decaffeinated green tea, even though they may not have undergone the decaffeination process.

There are two methods of processing that are permitted in the United States - the ethyl acetate process, and carbon dioxide process.

Ethyl acetate process of making decaf tea

The ethyl acetate process uses a mixture of ethanol and acetate acid, taken natural from fruit sources. The reaction from these two chemicals is able to create a decaf tea that is 99.9% decaffeinated.

Decaffeinated black tea is made using this method. While this method is very effective, it can also be quite harsh.

Carbon dioxide process of making decaf tea

The carbon dioxide process is the gentler of the two processes, and is used mainly for making decaffeinated green teas. It is also considered a natural method of making decaf tea.

The process uses supercritical carbon dioxide - an odorless, tasteless and inert gas which leaves no toxic residues. The process also takes place at room temperature, further protecting the product.

Detox Tea for Cleansing

Detox tea, or cleansing tea, is tea selected primarily for their cleansing properties. Detox tea is mainly used for cleansing the body, hence the name "cleansing tea".

Detox or cleansing tea is usually a mixture of various herbs, rather than tea made from tea leaves. The main goal of detox tea is to cleanse the liver and the gall bladder.

Detox tea usually contains a variety of herbs that are noted for their medicinal benefits. Some of these herbs include dandelion, cardamom seed, black peppercorn, cinnamon and fennel seed.

Detox and cleansing teas may have a slightly sweet and sour taste.

Properties of detox tea

Detox and cleansing teas contain a range of herbs, chosen for their medicinal purposes. Some varieties of detox tea may contain over twenty different herbs.

Dandelion root is the main ingredient of detox tea. Dandelion root features strongly in folk medicine as being beneficial for the liver and the gall bladder. Dandelion root is said to strengthen the whole body, with special emphasis on the liver and gall bladder. The root is said to promote the flow of bile, remove gall stones, and helps reduce swelling in the liver.

Health benefits of detox tea

The main health benefit of detox or cleansing tea is to cleanse the liver. The liver is the primary organ for removing waste, and is important to maintain the health of the body. The liver can be overburdened by toxic substances such as alcohol and other drugs, plus by metabolic waste products such as ammonia.

Detox teas and cleansing teas are intended to gently flush the liver of excess waste and toxins. The herbs used for detox and cleansing teas are not intended to purge the organ within a few days, but rather is intended to work gradually over a period of time.

Detox teas and cleansing teas may also promote clear skin and improve overall body detoxification.

Iced Tea - Preparation and Serving

Iced tea is a generic term for any tea that is consumed chilled. Usually iced tea is served with a slice of a citrus fruit, such as lemon or orange. Sometimes the fruit is infused into the tea to make flavored iced tea.

Iced tea can be made from several varieties of tea. The most common varieties used are black tea and oolong tea. Green tea can also be used, but is not as common as their flavor does not last as long, although one variety of green tea - Hyson tea - can be used.

Iced tea can also be made from herbal tea, such as ginseng tea.

Usually sugar is added to iced tea, as chilled tea tends to taste bitter and astringent.  This is because the tea is brewed for longer.

Preparing iced tea

Iced tea is made in larger volumes than usual tea. Usually, 4-6 cups are made per container of iced tea. This is around 5 teabags, or the equivalent amount if loose leaves are used.

To make iced tea, the tea should be brewed first, then poured into a glass or glazed pitcher that has been designed to cope with heat. Glass or glazed pitchers not designed for this purpose are liable to cracking.

Plastic and metal pitchers can also be used to hold ice tea, but are not recommended as they can impart unwanted flavors to the tea.

Another way of making iced tea is to place ice in the pitcher, and then pour hot tea inside. This is a quicker way of cooling the tea. However, the taste of the tea may be diluted due to the larger volume of water involved.

The tea should be allowed to cool completely while in the pitcher. After cooling, the container should be refrigerated.

Serving iced tea

Iced tea should be served fresh - that is, it should be served within a day of making. Iced tea that has been stored for longer may taste flat, and also serves as a breeding ground for bacteria.

Iced tea should also be served completely chilled, which may take about 4-5 hours of refrigeration.

Iced tea can be served with ice, and sugar can be added to the tea.

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RE:Miscellaneous Types of Tea
(Date Posted:02/19/2009 20:57 PM)

Organic Tea for Health and Nutrition

Organic tea refers to tea that has been grown and treated using natural chemicals only. This includes the fertilizers used to grow the plants and pesticides used for the leaves. Only animal and vegetable products are used and no synthetic chemicals are involved.

Organic tea may also contain no preservatives or natural preservatives only.

Organic tea must be verified by the relevant organization, such as the USDA. Only tea that has been verified can be labeled as organic tea. Before being verified, the tea must past several specific requirements.

Some organic tea may also be labeled as "Fair Trade", which refers to their origins. Organic tea labeled "Fair Trade" have been sourced from local growers using traditional methods or from companies prepared to pay workers a livable wage.

While organic tea is usually more expensive and difficult to find than tea produced using conventional methods, proponents claim organic tea is more beneficial. The scarcity of organic tea in comparison to conventional tea is partly due to the smaller yield organic farming produces. Organic farming is also more intensive, hence the higher prices to cover the extra cost.

Organic tea has become increasingly popular as drinkers have become more aware of some of the health issues surrounding conventional chemicals used to treat tea plants.

Benefits of organic tea

Organic tea is beneficial for several reasons.

Firstly, organic tea is non-toxic. Several pesticides containing artificial chemicals can have an adverse effect on humans. For instance, certain chemicals used in conventional pesticides can mimic hormones such as estrogen when inside the human body.

Organic tea is better for the environment because it does not release foreign free radicals into the surrounding area. Organic tea production also consumes less fertilizer and pesticides, and the latter is due partly to the concept of "natural pesticides". This concept is based on the idea that a plant will produce its own pesticides when healthy.

Organic tea is claimed to be more nutritious and also more fully-flavored than tea produced using conventional methods.

Black organic tea

Black organic tea is black tea grown organically. It is becoming increasingly popular in India and Sri Lanka, two places where black tea is widely grown.

Green organic Tea

Green organic tea is green tea grown organically. Japanese green teas are increasingly being grown using this method.

Herbal organic Tea

Herbal organic tea refers to herbal tea whose ingredients are grown organically. This can include any and all herbs used in the tea.

Pu-erh Chinese Tea

Pu-erh tea is a fermented Chinese Tea from the Yunnan province in China. Pu-erh Tea is unusual in that it is usually aged between 1-4 years before consumption, with some tea aged after over 50 years.

Pu-erh tea usually comes in either brick or cake form.

Pu-erh tea has an earthy and mellow flavor, due to its lengthy fermentation period. When poured, it has a dark brown to black color. Pu-erh tea can be quite strong.

Pu-erh tea is usually allowed to brew for a lengthy period before serving, to allow the flavors to steep out of the leaves. Pu-erh tea is often served Gong-Fu style (a type of Chinese tea ceremony) using special tea ware. Due to its long fermentation process, Pu-erh tea often fails to develop the bitterness of other teas, and can be brewed for a much longer period.

Pu-erh tea has been the subject of several scientific studies, which seems to suggest that Pu-erh tea can help reduce cholesterol levels and saturated fats in humans. Pu-erh tea may also assist in weight loss.

Varieties of Pu-erh tea

Pu-erh tea is sometimes erroneously classified as a black tea, but it does not belong to that category. It is also not possible to create Pu-erh tea from black tea.

There are two varieties of Pu-erh tea:

  • Green (qing bing): This variety of Pu-erh tea is allowed to ferment naturally after drying. Green Pu-erh tea takes longer to mature, but is considered the superior variety.
  • Mutual/Oolong (shu bing): The fermentation process of this variety of Pu-erh tea is manipulated to quicken the process.

Processing of Pu-erh tea

Pu-erh tea is traditionally made from older leaves - that is, not the first flush leaves or budding leaves - from old trees. These old trees are only found in Yunnan, and are known as broad leaf tea.

The leaves from these leaves are covered with fine hairs and are known as "broad leaf" because they are larger than other varieties.

The leaves are left either green or moderately fermented before being dried. They are then made into cakes or bricks, wrapped in paper or pomelo rings and stored outside. The outside storage is to allow the tea to mature by being exposed to outside air, moisture and heat.

Finally, the leaves are stored underground for several years.

Rooibos Tea (Red Tea)

Rooibos tea is tea made from the rooibos plant. The name "rooibos" (pronounced "roy-boss") originates from South Africa and is Afrikaans for "red bush".

Despite this name, the live rooibos plant is not red in color, and is actually green until fermented. Only then does it take on its distinctive appearance as narrow, red, twig-like leaves.

Rooibos tea is currently quite popular in the United States. It is known to have similar antioxidant properties to tea made from traditional tea leaves, but without the caffeine content. Rooibos tea is often marketed as Red Tea.

Rooibos tea is brewed like most conventional tea by pouring hot water over the leaves. Rooibos tea is a versatile tea that can be drunk both hot and cold. Milk can be added at the drinker's discretion.

Processing of rooibos tea

The rooibos plant is firstly harvested, and then the leaves bruised and finely chopped. Afterwards it is wet and allowed to ferment in rolls or mounds. When the fermentation has finished, the leaves are dried in the sun.

The fermentation process enriches the flavor of the tea, and also imparts its red appearance.

Health benefits of rooibos tea

Various scientific researches have found that it contains a flavonoid called Aspalathin, which can be used to treat skin and circulatory disorders. Rooibos tea also contains trace elements of fluoride (important for maintaining strong, healthy teeth), calcium (for maintaining bones) and manganese.

Rooibos tea contains oligosaccharides, a  sugar compound that may aid the immune system in fighting viral infections.

The antioxidants found in rooibos tea may help prevent cancer, as they prevent the cells from damage. Damage to cells is a precursor to cancer.

The following health benefits have not yet been supported through scientific studies, but have been reported by some drinkers of Rooibos Tea:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Anti-allergic properties, making rooibos tea beneficial for hayfever and asthma sufferers.
  • Relaxing properties, that can aid sufferers of insomnia and nervous tension.
  • Relief of digestive problems such as constipation, stomach cramps and colic in infants.
  • Easing of skin conditions such as acne, eczema and nappy/diaper rash.

Sun Tea Preparation Guide

Sun tea refers to tea that has been brewed by sitting in the heat of the sun. Sun tea is usually made in summer, when the temperature is at least 100°F. Sun tea is not a form of tea - the term instead refers to the method of brewing tea.

Sun tea is brewed slowly, and tea brewed using this method is said to have a mellower taste than tea brewed using conventional methods. The lower temperature of brewing is not as likely to destroy some of the delicate oils and flavors of the tea.

Sun tea is usually drunk as iced tea.

Preparation of sun tea

To make sun tea, place 4-6 tea bags into a clean two-quart glass container, then fill the container with water. Close the lid, and place the container in an area where it can bask in sunlight for 3-5 hours.

The actual length of time the tea should be brewed depends on the strength desired. Once the strength has been reached, the tea should be removed from the sun and placed in the refrigerator.

Sun tea should be consumed within 1-2 days of brewing. As the water has not been boiled, the tea does not maintain as well as iced tea.

Health warnings on sun tea

Sun tea has some health warnings that users should be aware before preparing tea using this method.

Sun tea is the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, due to a combination of liquid and warmth. Sun tea that has a thick or syrupy appearance should not be drunk, as it may contain bacteria called Alcaligenes viscolactis.

The water used in making sun tea should be preheated at a minimum of 195°F for 3-5 minutes before using. Sun tea that has been brewed should not remain at room temperature for longer than eight hours. After eight hours, the sun tea should be discarded.

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