True Tea vs. Herbal Tea
This may seem like a silly issue. However, many different kinds of herbs can be made into teas. Generally, though, the agreement is that true tea comes only from one plant species, Camellia sinensis. All true tea is made from this species. Camellia sinensis is one of the many kinds of camellia that are otherwise known as beautiful garden shrubs.
True tea is usually distinguished from herbal teas by its production of caffeine. However, a small number of other herbs also contain caffeine. The most common of these is called Yerba Mat� (Ilex paraguariensis), which is a type of holly. Herbal teas may sometimes include the addition of another caffeine-producing species called guaran� (Paullinia cupana).
The different types of true tea differ by how they are processed after picking. Making black tea involves the most oxidation, which turns the leaves to a deep black color. This process if often erroneously referred to as fermentation, although no fermentation occurs. Tea becomes completely oxidized after it has been laid out to dry for 8-24 hours, then rolled to make the leaves to crack open and allow more internal contact with air. Oxygen in the air reacts with enzymes inside leaf cells to direct the oxidation of phenolics. Oxidized phenolics are what darkens the leaves.
Leaves are then dried once more after oxidation has been completed. The overall result makes for the strongest flavor of all the teas. This process underlies one of the more important black tea benefits, which is that the rich flavor will be preserved for many years.
In contrast to the processing of black tea, oolong tea is only slightly shaken in baskets after brief drying. This causes slight bruising that only allows a limited amount oxygen to enter the leaves. This partial oxidation process is stopped when heat is heat after a couple of hours of drying. The result is crisp, dry leaves with a red-brown color.
Oolong is known as one of the finest teas in the world. It is often referred to as the “champagne of teas.” Sought after oolong tea benefits include its delicate floral-fruity quality.
The health benefits of green tea are well-researched and widely known. They are based primarily on a rich array of antioxidant ingredients that remain intact and active after a post-harvest process that prevents most oxidation. The process involves heating leaves quickly to dryness, which stops oxidative enzyme activity and enables leaves to remain greenish or greenish-yellow in appearance.
Green tea retains a light, grassy flavor and an astringency that you might expect from the lack of oxidation. The delicate flavor is often augmented by adding jasmine flowers, resulting a popular tea for accompanying Asian styles of cooking. Jasmine green tea is usually just called jasmine tea, even though it is really a mixture that is comprised mostly of green tea.
Which Will It Be for You?
Selecting any one of these teas may be a simple choice – a black for its richness, an oolong for its floral-fruity quality, or a green with jasmine for its sweet aroma and light flavor. Of course, having all three in your kitchen or office would keep your options open for any situation. Black tea is a wonderful way to start the day. Oolong tea, the “champagne of teas,” is great as a relaxing special treat any time. Green tea, with the lowest caffeine content of all, is delicious as an all-day staple, through dinner and into the evening.
One more consideration for deciding on which tea or teas you want to have is quality. Indeed, tea quality is perhaps the most important factor for deciding on which brand to purchase. The possibilities of which brand to choose may seem overwhelming.
This is where the Smacha Tea Company stands out. Their teas are imported from their own tea gardens overseas, which is a rarity for the majority of tea companies. Furthermore, Smacha does its own harvesting, processing, and importing. This is how the company keeps strict control of every step in tea production. Quality control, from the garden to your cup, is the foundation for their guarantee of having only top quality teas.