Tea Knowledge from A to Z
Africa: Is the biggest producer of CTC teas. The harvest periods takes partially place throughout the year. The largest growing countries are Kenya and Malawi.
Assam: With approx. 36.000 km² (13,900 square miles), northeastern India is the world’s largest continuous growing region, where tea is cultivated primarily according to the CTC production method. Teas of the "second flush"-production are strong to very strong cups of tea, have a full-bodied, malty character and are well suited for their preparation with milk or cream.
Auctions: At some main growing countries. International supplier have broker who buy the tea for them at auctions.
Bancha: Bancha is the house tea of the Japanese. It originates from the production of the sencha and is rougher, low in caffeine and high in tannins. We also have Bancha of China in our assortment.
Blend: Mixture of various teas. An attempt is made to achieve uniform good quality through the characteristics of this natural product.
Black tea: Black tea is fermented and the product of 3 production methods: orthodox, CTC, and LTP.
Boston Tea Party: A shipment of tea in the Boston harbor was destroyed in 1773 as part of a political protest that eventually led to the Revolutionary War.
Brick tea: Tea fine slices - damp tea we pressed into molds and dried on shelves, so get a decorative brick shape.
Broken tea: The name indicates small-leaf tea. It is smaller than leaf tea, but still larger than Fannings.
Bulk: Bulks are blends of individual pickings from one plantation. Bulks are used when demand for a certain plantation tea is high.
Ceylon: Sri Lanka (Ceylon until 1972) produces a fresh herb-aromatic tea in the five main growing areas Dimbula, Nuwara Eliya Uva, Ruhuna and Kandy. Main harvest times are January to March in the west (Dimbula), top qualities in January to March in Nuwara Eliya and in the east (Uva) of late summer. In all regions of the island, tea plants thrive: from the plains to the mountains at over 2,000m. The flavors of the characters are varied: sparkling, strong, tart, or floral.
Chai: A black tea with Indian spices, the perfect mixture of spiciness and sweetness – the ideal basis for chai latte. Originally from India, Chai is still a national drink.
China: Largest tea producer and motherland of tea. China has been growing tea for over four millennia. The country is the source of many green tea, white tea and black tea specialties cultivated in 17 provinces. The vast majority of production is consumed in one's own country. This includes especially high quality qualities. China exports the main part of black tea, since in their own country mainly green tea is consumed. Main harvest time is between May and August.
Chun Mee: Panfried-Green tea from China; a rolled, elongated leaf.
CTC: The CTC production method As well as the CTC as well as the LTP method, mainly fannings and dust grades are produced, ie finely ground leaves. These are mainly used in tea bag production. CTC stands for Crushing, Tearing, Curling (Crushing, Tearing, Rolling). The withered leaf is often first cut to a uniform size by machine. The leaves are then placed in the CTC machine, where they are crushed, torn and rolled in one go by metal pulleys. The escaping cell juice is collected and then added back to the leaves. The minced leaves are subsequently fermented, dried and sorted. This allows faster production of larger quantities and these teas also have a higher yield and extract faster.
Darjeeling: The famous growing area in "West Bengal" lies between Nepal and Buthan at the foot of the Himalayas. This very small but fine growing area is home to the highest tea gardens in the world. At the beginning of the 19th century, English planters systematically planted large plantations on the slopes of the Himalayas. Due to the intense mountain sun and the low night temperatures, the leaves of the tea bushes grow only slowly - a prerequisite for the particularly pronounced and lovely aroma of the tea. Darjeeling tea is one of the finest and most expensive varieties in the world. Particularly well known are the qualities that are produced during the first and second flush picking period.
Dust: Is the finest sifting, but has nothing to do with dust in terms of waste. Dust is used predominantly for tea infusion bags.
Earl Grey: Bergamot oil probably gave the world its first flavoured tea. The oil of bergamot flavored probably the first aromatic tea in the world. About the invention of Earl Gray there are different representations. One of the blank legends is that during a storm on a high sea crossing between England and China, the cargo transported was heavily jumbled and spilled bergamot oil was spilled onto carried tea bales. Lord Gray was shocked at the arrival of the ship in London and decided to first try the "polluted" tea and then decide whether the cargo would have to be destroyed. Even today, Earl Gray is probably the best-known flavored black tea.
East Frisian tea blend: Blend from strong Assam types with pretty golden tips. Due to the outstanding importance that the tea enjoys in East Frisia, an East Frisian tea culture developed over time. “Teetied” (tea time) is considered an important part of East Frisian social life. East Frisians consume approx. 300 liters of tea per capita a year, a world record. Traditionally, an East Frisian mix consists of up to 80% Assam teas.
English Breakfast: This English black tea blend is based on Assam and Ceylon teas.
Ethical Tea Partnership: Non-profit organization that improves the sustainability of the tea industry together with tea producers and tea companies.
Extracts: Are extracted from natural raw materials, such as ginger oil or lime oil. Outstanding tastes can be achieved.
Fair trade: The tea industry also attached importance to a controlled trade with fair prices.
Fannings: Small leaf grade, separated by sieving during normal production, used mainly in teabags.
Fermenting: The reaction of the cell sap exiting during rolling with oxygen leads to fermentation, an oxidation process in which the green cell sap changes its color to red, leading to the dark color of the tea.
Fine cut: Fine cut, as opposed to Fannings for components of the fruit and herbal teas. The maximum size of the components in a fine cut is about 2 mm.
First flush: The tea plant’s first shoot of the year in Darjeeling, between March and April, with a mild, fresh and flowery taste, bright infusion. The first games are usually flown in as a "flight tea" to bring the goods quickly in the market.
Flavour: There are about 10,000 different scents and flavorings in nature. Various forms of aromatization are employed for the aromatization of tea.
Fruit tea: Infusions from various fruits such as rose hips, apples, hibiscus and elderberries often with the addition of aromas. The correct name would be "tea-like product" because the ingredients do not come from the tea bush.
FSSC 22000: Abbreviation for Food Safety System Certification 22000 World-renowned standard for food safety.
Genmaicha: Japanese bancha with roasted whole grain rice. Slightly brownish infusion with pleasant aroma: slightly salty, granular flavor with a certain sweetness.
Golden tips: These young, golden leaf buds often come from Assam or Yunnan. They are characterized by a light, reminiscent of cocoa cup. premium quality
Green Monkey: Taimu Mountain, located in the northern part of the Chinese province of Fujian, is the home of this extraordinary tea produced in careful manual work so it can develop its fascinating fresh-soft character and its white tips.
Green Pekoe: Comes from China‘s Fujian province and is characterized by a thin, carefully rolled, tippy leaf.
Green rooibos: The same plant as the red rooibos, but since there is fermentation here, it has a mild fine tart and flowery character.
Green tea: The unfermented green tea offers countless possibilities and different qualities. Good green tea varieties can be poured several times. It is said that green tea has many health-promoting ingredients.
Although green tea comes from the same plant as black tea, the fermentation process is prevented by the effect of heat immediately after wilting.
Wilting: This process takes place only as needed. The duration and need of wilting are based very strongly on the type of the desired tea. Steaming or treating with dry heat: The plant’s own enzymes are destroyed, so that the leaf will not turn "black" and retain its green color later.
Rolling: Depending on the type of tea, rolling is done by hand or machine. Often, the leaf is rolled into artistic shapes according to a tradition dating back thousands of years.
Drying: For this step, the leaf is either layered in hot-air dryers or exposed to the natural heat of the sun.
Sorting: As with black tea, you also get the known grades of leaf, broken, Fannings and dust with green tea – depending on the production specification. Green tea is a highly alkaline beverage that protects the body against hyperacidity. It contains many tannins, minerals and vitamins.
Gunpowder: Hard and small rolled leaf, green tea, the leaves are rolled into even globules during production between the palm and the inside of the bowl. The smaller and darker the leaf, the higher the quality of the tea.
Gyokuro: Japanese specialty. A shadow tea, "The Precious Dewdrop" is an exclusivity covered by rice mats the weeks before the harvest to lower the tannin content and increase the caffeine content. Very thin, dark green, needlelike leaf.
Herbal tea: A tea-like product that does not come from the tea bush but is used like tea.
High grown: Finely aromatic, bright teas – the high grown teas – grow in Ceylon’s highlands.
Honeybush: Contrary to rooibos, Honeybush is harvested from bushes growing in the wild. Since cultivation is not possible, only limited quantities are available. It is characterized by its natural sweet honey note.
Iced tea: For this cold beverage, tea is poured onto hot ice cubes to quickly cool it down so no bitter taste develops. A refreshing and less sweet beverage.
Infusion: Individual taste and own preferences decide. Use our information as a general recommendation.
Infusion time: Each tea has different infusion times to release its aroma.
Recommended infusion times for
Black tea: 2-4 minutes (100 °C / 212 °F hot water)
Green tea: 2-3 minutes (70 °C / 158 °F hot water)
Fruit tea: 8-10 minutes (100 °C / 212 °F hot water)
Herbal tea: 8-10 minutes (100 ° C / 212 °F hot water)
Rooibos tea: 6-8 minutes (100° C / 212 °F hot water)
In-between: Regarding the time and flavor, the so-called "in-between" harvest lies between the "first flush" and "second flush".
India: Ever since the British brought tea to India, this country has been one of the world’s leading tea producers. The growing regions are Darjeeling, Terai, Sikkim, Assam, and Dooars in the northern part of the country, and Nilgiri in the south. Today, India is the second largest tea consumer in the world, after China.
Japan: This tea culture can be traced back over 1,300 years. In Japan almost exclusively green teas are produced. Only a little is exported, the majority is consumed in the country itself, especially the premium qualities. Japan produces mainly green tea (about 100,000 tons p.a.), which is usually picked by machine. Harvested, depending on the type of tea throughout the year. The most popular tea of the Japanese is the Sencha. Another traditional tea is the Matcha tea with its ceremonial preparation.
Jasmine tea: The possibly best known aromatized Chinese tea, it is aromatized with the delicate white jasmine blossoms that have a scent only shortly after they are picked. The blossoms are mixed in the tea immediately after picking so it absorbs the aroma.
Java: Java produces strong, dark, savory teas that are particularly suitable for black tea blends during the dry period.
Keemun: Classic Chinese black leaf tea with a small, filigree leaf and a mild, sweetish cup.
Kokeicha: A Japanese specialty, the green tea is first pulverized for subsequent repeated pressing with a certain process so it can be cut into small elongated pieces. It is pleasantly fresh and served in a small, soft cup.
Lapacho: Lapacho is extracted from the bark of the rainforest tree Lapacho. Only the inner red bark is used for processing. The bark contains many tannins, acids and vitamins. Incidentally, the tree does not have to be felled after the harvest, as the bark grows back within a year.
Lapsang souchong: A Chinese tea smoked though pine needles also known as smoked tea.
Leaf grade: The grading of leaf grades provides information about leaf size, processing method and appearance. These vary in the individual growing areas. There are four main families of leaf levels in orthodox production: leaf, broken, fannings and dust. The CTC method eliminates the leaf tea. The largest leaf-grade family is the leaf tea. Here the almost unbroken leaf is processed. By contrast, the dust tea is the finest sieve produced during production.
Longview: One of the first low-lying Darjeeling plantations to deliver first flush teas at the beginning of the year.
he third method of producing black tea is the LTP method, named after the inventor of the relevant machine, the Lawrie Tea Processor. In this method, the withered leaves are often levelled before being processed in the LTP machine. Here they are virtually torn to pieces by blades rotating at high speed. This is followed by the usual fermentation, drying and sorting procedures. The leaf grades result exclusively from the last stage of production, the sorting stage. There are 4 basic groups in orthodox production: leaf, broken, fannings and dust. These categories have nothing to do with quality, but only indicate the different leaf sizes and associated strengths.
Margaret's Hope: Margaret's Hope is a famous tea plantation, that is located 10 km (6.2 miles) south of the city of Darjeeling, north of the village of Kurseong at an altitude of 600 to 1500 m (approx. 2000 to 5000 ft.) above sea level.
Matcha: Green Japanese powder tea, mainly used in the Japanese tea ceremony. There are now different quality grades at different prices.
Mate: The mate bush is native to Brazil and Argentina, and botanically related to our holly. Mate is the only herbal tea that contains the stimulating caffeine and theobromine of green and black tea. After the harvest and sorting, the mate leaves and buds are quickly heated over fire to prevent them from turning black. This is followed by the drying and crushing of the leaves. The end product is green mate. Additional roasting produces another, somewhat softer taste variant. This is the way, mate is offered as green mate and as roasted mate.
Natural flavours: Are extracted exclusively from natural starting materials; for example, L-menthol from the peppermint plant.
Nature-identical flavours: Are chemically manufactured, but they have the same chemical composition of the natural aromas (e.g. vanilla).
Nepal: Lying at an altitude of over 2,000 meters (6562 ft.), it is the "roof of the world". Nepal‘s location at the foot of the Himalayas and its climate offer ideal conditions for the cultivation of tea. The qualities are comparable to Darjeeling teas.
Nilgiri: Growing region in southwestern India. Dark, wiry leaf. Similar to Ceylon‘s plant products, bitter, golden infusion, fruity.
Oolong: Oolong is a half-fermented tea. Its secret lies in the outer fermentation of the leaf margin, although the leaf core remains unfermented. It is cultivated mostly in Taiwan and China.
Organic: Certified organically grown teas comply with strict EU Organic Regulation directives and may carry the EU Biologo.
Orange Pekoe: Quality designation for black tea with full, middle-sized leaves.
Orthodox tea: Orthodox is the name given to the entire production process of the classical tea: wilting, rolling, fermenting, drying, sorting. Pure black or green tea, without aroma or flowers. In the case of orthodox tea production, the tea leaves are carefully picked by hand and then further processed in the tea factories.
Pai Mu Tan: The white tea with a delicate, flowery aroma – which means something like "white peony" – comes from the first two leaves of the plant. It has a jade green color and is slightly steamed.
Pan roasting: The leaves are roasted in pans to prevent fermentation, for example Gunpowder.
Pu Erh: Pu Erh is a strong earthy tea with fleshy leaves from the Chinese province of Yunnan. Its aroma is very earthy and dominant. Pu Erh is made using very traditional production methods similar to those used in China about 2000 years ago.
Rough cuts: In the fruit and herbal area, rough cut is mentioned when the individual components reach a size of 2-7 mm.
Rooibos: Rooibusch is grown in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa and harvested from February to April. With its needle-like leaves and yellow flowers, it resembles a broom shrub. For tea extraction, the young twigs are harvested with the sickle, minced and fermented for 12 hours. Then dried in the sun. After that, the tea is consumed in the factory, sieved, sterilized and packed for export. Rooibusch is full-bodied in the taste and has a mild aroma.
Samovar: Originally Russian tea maker. Samovars are beautiful and a tradition in tea making and serving tea. The tradition of samovars actually goes back very far.
Smoked tea: A Chinese tea smoked over China pine wood. Known as smoke tea is the Lapsang Souchong.
Storage: Whenever possible, tea should be stored in a tin, ideally airtight and protected from odors and moisture.
Second flush: The second main harvest period of the year. The second flush is harvested between June and August; it has a heavier, stronger and spicier flavor than the first flush.
Sencha: Sencha is the probably most drunk tea variety of Japan with an elongated, dark green leaf. Japanese Sencha is slightly sweet and fresh. On the other hand, Chinese Sencha gives you the feeling of fresh grassy aroma.
Sikkim: Cultivation area north of Darjeeling, located between Nepal, Buthan and Tibet (China). An aromatic tea similar to the Darjeeling tea, is grown in the only garden Temi.
Tannins: Tea leaves contain different concentrations of tannins. If the tannins are to develop properly in the tea, the tea should pull for five minutes, because only then the tannins of the tea leaves concentrated in the tea pass. In the first 2-3 minutes of brewing time the caffeine dissolves, therefore a cheering tea should have a short extraction time, a soothing tea a longer, as the released tannins bind the caffeine and release it more slowly and gently.
Thea sinensis var. assamica: Thea assamica, or Assam tea, is the original tea plant. If not pruned, it grows to become a majestic tree 15 to 20 m (49 to 66 ft.) high. Being a strictly tropical plant, it needs a lot of warmth. It was discovered only until 1823 in the current region of Assam.
Thea sinensis var. sinensis: Thea sinensis (Chinese tea) is the name given to the original tea plant. Even without pruning, it remains a shrub and grows to a maximum height of 3-4 m (10-13 ft.).
What is tea? What is exactly behind the enduring popularity of this beverage that has lasted millennia and has even managed to increase its own popularity?
Information taken from the book: "Tee für Wissensdurstige" [Tea for those who are hungry for knowledge], the textbook of the German Tea Office, is available in any good specialized tea retail store.
The plant: The tea plant is a tree related to the camellia with white-yellowish flowers as well as small, hard-shelled and hazelnut-like fruits. The evergreen leaves are leathery, dark and slightly serrated. A tea plant can easily live over 100 years with minimum annual temperatures of 18 °C (64 °F), and at most rare and moderate frost, annual uniform precipitation of 1,600 L and well-balanced sunshine. Wild tea plants should even be able to reach an age of up to 1700 years. Two original tea plants are known nowadays: Thea sinensis (or Chinese tea), a shrubby plant that grows to a maximum height of 3-4 m (10-13 ft.) and can even tolerate frost. Thea assamica (or Assam Tee) is a majestic tree that reaches a height of 15 to 20 m (49 to 66 ft.) and is a strictly tropical plant. The constant crossings of these two original plants have created the foundation for all of the world’s tea cultures.
The active ingredients: The world’s most inexpensive beverage after water, is especially valuable precisely due to its chemical composition: Approx. 32% of the contents go into the infusion.
Tea contains: caffeine (theine) tannins, amino acids, proteins trace elements and minerals: fluoride, potassium, calcium, manganese; vitamins: niacin, vitamin B1 and B2. "Tea stimulates, but does not agitate."
Teas have a stimulating effect because of the caffeine. However, caffeine does not act on the circulatory system through the heart, but directly on the brain and central nervous system, as it is bound to the tannins and is dissolved only in the intestine. This explains the proven increase in concentration and response capacity when tea is enjoyed.
Tips: Tips are silver or golden leaf tips in the tea. These especially young picked tips do not contain as much tannins as older ones and do not turn coppery during fermentation. The number of tips in the tea is an indication of the quality of the tea.
Two leaves and a bud: In the origin "Two Leaves and a Bud" are plucked. That means the two young leaves and the bud. This can only be achieved by hand picking. With mechanical picking, no "two leaves and a bud" are harvested.
White tea: As a rule, white tea is an only 2% anfermented tea. This fermentation takes place naturally during the wilting process. It is often referred to as a special variety of green tea.
1. Hand picking the fresh leaves
2. Cooling / airing the leaves for about 2-3 hours
3. Withering on whitewash / baskets for approx. 10-14 hours at a humidity of approx. 60% and an ambient temperature of 25-26 ° C
4. First drying for 10-15 minutes at a temperature of 100 ° C-130 ° C
5. Sort by handwork
6. Second drying for about 12 minutes at a temperature of 130 ° C
7. Mix and pack
Wilting: Wilting should make the leaf soft, in order to prevent uncontrolled breaking during production. The process takes place generally in special wilting troughs.