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About Fine Teas

Tea Growing Areas Around The World

Russia (Russian) Black tea. Dry leaf is black, very tippy, long and attractive. Extremely tannic.

Turkey (Turkish) Black tea. Dry leaf is black. Cup is fair to middling. Produced mostly for the home market.

Uganda (Ugandas) Black tea. Characteristics of Indian tea.

Malawi (Beira, Nacala) Black tea from India stock. Middling to good.

Kenya (Kenyas) Black tea from India stock. Good strength and quality with Ceylon character.

Tanzania (Tanganyikas) Black tea from India seed. Good strength, quality and liquor.

Portuguese East Africa (Portuguese East Africans) Black tea from India seed. Bright liquor, useful quality, good blender.

India and Pakistan (assams, Sylhets, Dooars, Terais, Darjeelings, Travancores, Nilgiris) Mostly black tea. Dry leaf is black to brown. Cup is full bodied, rich and malty.

Sri Lanka, Ceylon (Nuwara Eliya, Dibula, Dikoya, Uva) Mostly black tea. Dry leaf is stylish black. Cup varies from delicate in the high grown to plain in the low grown.

Formosa (Formosa Oolongs) Oolong tea. Dry leaf is greenish- brown. Cup has a natural fruity flavor. (Formosa blacks) Fully fermented tea. Good blender, useful in tea bag grades.

Viet Nam (Annams) Black, green, agglomerated and flower tea. Dry leaf is coarse. Cup is strong and acrid.

Indonesia (Javas, Sumatras) Black tea. Dry leaf is black and attractive. Useful, attractive blenders.

Japan (Japans) Green tea. Dry leaf is long, straight and spider-legged. Better grades possess rich, delicate, unique flavor.

China (North China blacks & greens, South China blacks & greens) Black, green oolong, scented and compressed tea. Wide range of appearance and cup quality.


According to Chinese legend, the story of tea began in 2737 BC. Emperor Shen Nung, who was known as the "Divine Healer", always boiled his water before drinking it. He had observed that those who boiled their water had better health. One afternoon, as he knelt before his boiling water, some leaves from a nearby tree blew into the water. The Emperor noted a delightful aroma and, upon sipping the beverage, proclaimed it heaven sent.

Since this first cup of green tea almost five thousand years ago, the popularity of tea has grown to the point that it is now the second most consumed beverage in the world. Only water is more popular. Shortly after Emperor Shen Nung's discovery, tea's popularity spread to Japan and the rest of the Far East. The Dutch first brought tea from China to Europe and America by 1650. In 1669, the East India Company began bringing tea leaves to England, and in 1721, the company was granted a monopoly on all tea imported into the British Empire. Initially, tea was very expensive and available only for royalty and the upper class. At the time, tea prices were $30 to $50 per pound. One pound of tea makes about two hundred tea bags. During the 1800's, tea clippers raced from China to London and other ports. The first clipper to arrive with its cargo fetched the highest prices. Largely because of this new method of speedy transportation, the supply of tea became more plentiful and thus less expensive.

Tea played a dramatic role in the establishment of the United States of America. In 1767, the British Government put a tax on the tea used by American colonists. Protesting "taxation without representation", the colonists did not allow tea to be unloaded. In December 1773, colonists, dressed as American Indians, boarded ships from the East India Company and threw three hundred chests of tea into Boston harbor. The Boston Tea Party, of course, led to American independence.

America was also the birthplace of iced tea. At the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis in the summer of 1904, the weather was very hot. A young Englishman named Richard Blechynden was serving hot tea for days with no takers. In desperation, he tried pouring tea into glasses with pieces of ice. The beverage was a hit and iced tea was born.

Black tea is very popular tea in America. This tea has been fully oxidized or fermented, and is characterized by it's hearty flavor and a deep amber color. Popular black teas are Earl Grey, English Breakfast Tea, Darjeeling and Orange Pekoe.

Green tea which is not oxidized it is characterized by it's delicate tasteand light green color. Though enjoyed mostly by those in the orient, it has become more popular elsewhere because of the polyphenols (antioxidants) found in this beverage. Recent studies show that these poly phenols prevent damage to dna that lead to cancer. Green tea also contain catechins which prevent cancer cells from multiplying and may actually trap carcinogens and push them out of the body system.

Oolong tea enjoys its popularity in China. It is partially oxidized andis characterized as a cross between black and green tea in color and taste.

Herbal Tea is not made from tea leaves, but rather from various parts of different herbs. Originally consumed for medicinal purposes, many have come to enjoy these naturally decaffeinated beverages, as well as the added benefits the herbs give.

Brewing Tea

Black Teas:

Bring cold water to a boil and add for each cup, one tea bag or one teaspoon of loose tea. Steep for about 3 minutes, no longer than 5.

Green Teas:

Bring water to a boil then let cool for about 10 minutes before pouring over leaves. Steep for about 1 minute then remove the tea.

Iced Teas:

Pour boiling water into a pitcher with about 8 to 10 tea bags. Let stand about 5 to 7 minutes then remove the tea bags and refrigerate.

Herbal Teas:

For teas made from leaves, stems and flowers, boil water and pour over 1 to 2 teaspoons of the herb. Cover the cup to prevent the volatile oils from escaping. Simmer about 2 to 3 minutes.

For teas made from woody roots bring 2 to 3 cups of water to a boil, reduce heat and add 1 teaspoon of the finely chopped root. Simmer about 15 to 20 minutes. Always use glass or porcelain pot to brew, and I suggest using distilled water.

Tea Tips and Related Sites

Visit the following Web sites for more information about teas and how to prepare them:

 

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