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Brewing Tea

April 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 149

Tea is a drink that accompanies us every day, but many people still underestimate how we drink it. We buy tea bags of many varieties, loose tea, flavoured tea, black and green tea and even herbal teas. Not a long time ago many cheap granulated teas were available, which had strong and bitter aftertaste. Fortunately, they are not so common these days. And yet we hardly ever ask ourselves how can we get the best out of every cup of tea.

Tea bush has only two varieties - Chinese (Camellia sinensis) and Assam variety (Camellia assamica). All different types of leaf tea come from the same plant and final result depends on handling of harvested leaves or steps which are followed during processing (drying, fermentation, roasting). Preparation process is very limited for some varieties, like green team while pu erh develops its smoky, earthy aroma during prolonged fermentation and maturing. Each type of leaf tea has its own brewing rules.

Black tea is the most popular variety, at least in Europe. Tea leaves are twisted, fermented and dried. To brew it, use one teaspoon (about 2.5-3g) per cup and pour nearly boiling water at about 95'C (just boiled in the kettle is perfect). It is important to steep it in the cup which have been warmed, preferably rinsing with boiling water before pouring it over tea. We brew it for 3-5 minutes. It can be sweetened and most black varieties taste well with a bit of milk.

Green tea is only subjected to drying. It is drunk mainly in East Asia, although its popularity in Europe is increasing thanks to many leaf tea shops selling it across the world. Brewing green tea requires a bit more attention, simply pouring boiling water will make it taste bitter and unpleasant so it should be at about 70-80'C for best result. Half to one teaspoon of green tea per cup is enough. Steeping should take no longer than 2-3 minutes as most types of green tea will become bitter if brewed for longer. Some varieties of green tea like Japanese Bancha should be brewed for just one minute or less.

Red tea (also known as pu erh or pu-er) is also becoming more popular thanks to the health benefits it offers. Just as with black, we use 1 teaspoon per cup and nearly boiling water at 95'C, but brew it for bit longer, up to 7 minutes. Pu erh tea is known as "weight loss tea" but we can't exaggerate this property. In fact, it helps to burn fat when it is drunk in quantities of 1 litre per day.

White tea (known as Pai Mu Tan) is another, after green tea, variety little known in Europe, but appreciated in Asia. It is composed of young buds of the shrub collected in the spring. White tea leaves are subjected to drying. Preparation is similar to green tea - one and a half teaspoons per cup with water cooled to 60-70'C and steeped up to 5 minutes. White leaf tea is known for its delicate, mild taste and aroma.

Yellow tea is even less known than white. It is produced by fermentation of a short high-grade tea leaves which are dried. It is a rarity, produced only in China but quite easily available in shops in Europe. Yellow leaf tea is brewing with water at 90'C for about 3 minutes. Its flavour is very subtle and delicate, incomparable with others.

Emily Harvey is freelance writer focused on well-being and health subjects. Emily likes to have a cup of green tea on her desk when writing and recommends only finest green tea blends for best flavour and aroma.

Source: EzineArticles
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