How is tea made?
Many people are surprised to learn that all teas- WHITE, GREEN, OOLONG, BLACK, & PU-ERH come from the same plant- CAMELLIA SINENSIS.
How it is processed determines the type of tea it will become.
“Teas” that do not come from Camellia Sinensis are called TISANES. Among the most popular tisanes are Peppermint & Chamomile.
Processes & techniques may differ considerably among the various growing regions, but the most crucial process that tea leaves need to undergo through is OXIDATION. It is the the browning of the tea leaves due to oxygen exposure
Tea leaves are oxidized until the desired level of darkness is reached. The oxidation process is then stopped through the application of heat, such as roasting, steaming, or pan-firing.
You see the same process in a piece of fruit. Cut an apple, and it will start to brown. However, apple inside a pie does not brown because of the heat while baking.
A black tea is fully oxidized, causing it to turn black, while a white tea is barely oxidized at all, thus retaining its soft, silvery down.
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