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Chai also known as Tea in English - an explanation of different kinds of tea

Updated on April 11, 2020

The first cup of tea! Tea is the world's most popular prepared drink. It was discovered by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2737 B.C., when a tea leaf accidentally fell into the bowl of hot water he was drinking.

In 1650, Peter Stuyvesant brought tea to the American colonists in New Amsterdam, later called New York. Soon the colonists were drinking more tea than all England. The first tea shipment to arrive in Canada was imported by the Hudson Bay Company in 1716 and took more than a year to arrive.

In the early 19th century, afternoon tea as a social custom, was originated by Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford. The Duchess began inviting guests to join her for a cup of tea and some sweets and savouries in the afternoon, in order to fill the long gap between breakfast and late dinners. The ritual caught on in England and North America and soon became an afternoon tradition that remains today. Modern afternoon tea at trendy tea salons and cafés feature a wide variety of quality teas and fine finger foods.

Today tea is grown on tea estates and 70% of the tea we drink is grown in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Argentina and China. The best climates for growing tea are those that are tropical or semi-tropical and tea can be grown on soil that is not fit for growing much of anything else. Today there are three basic types of tea: black, oolong and green and from these three types spring over 3,000 cultivated varieties. The leaves are picked at just the right moment designated by the tea estate manager, then crushed to start the oxidation process.

How to make East African tea

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 6 cups water
  • 7 teaspoons tea leaves
  • 6 cups milk
    10 -15 teaspoons sugar

Heat together water and tea leaves in a 3 to 4 quart saucepan. Boil 10 minutes. Add milk and heat to near boiling. Strain leaves. Add sugar to taste.

How to make Chinese Tea

You can use the tea bags and simply pour two or three tea spoons of the leaves inside the tea bag, twist the bag and place it in the cup. Alternatively if you do not use the tea bags, simply add the leaves to the cup and let them settle in the bottom, this is “The Chinese way”

Tea varieties - white tea, black tea, green tea, etc.
Tea varieties - white tea, black tea, green tea, etc.

Tea Varieties

The most important tea-producing nations, in alphabetical order, are: Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Turkey and Viet Nam.

Warm climates with lush soil and mountainous regions are great for growing tea.

There are four main types of tea which are, white, green, oolong, and black, all which are born from the same species of plant.

Common health facts about tea show us that it is rich in antioxidants, can shield our immune systems, top infection, and even help us shed some pounds!

Indian Teas

One of the classic Indian teas, this is grown in the Brahmaputra Valley in northeast India. The taste is strong and malty. The best quality Assam teas contain the "tips," or unopened buds, from the bushes and are known as Tippy Assam .

Another popular tea from Northern India, this type is noted for its distinctive, delicate flavor. The small, broken-leaf grade produces a light, golden drink with a subtle flavor. Bushes from the highest tea gardens in the foothills of the Himalayas have large leaves that produce teas with a unique "muscatel" flavor of perfumed grapes. The most notable of all the various Darjeelings is Darjeeling Broken Orange Pekoe , which is sometimes called the champagne of tea.

Ceylon Teas
Grown at altitudes reaching 11/4 miles (2 km) and over, this tea has a fine quality and, like most Ceylon tea, a rich color and flavor.

This tea is noted for its full-bodied quality and strength, appealing particularly to those who like a robust beverage.

Nuwara Elz:ya
A light, "bright" tea with a fragrant flavor, this is excellent when served with lemon wedges.

This is a fine-flavored tea from the eastern slopes of the central mountains.

Chinese Black Teas
A delicate and aromatic tea from Northern China, this is low in tannins with a deep, rich flavor.

Lapsang Souchong
A large-leaf tea that is rich and full-bodied, this has a very distinctive but delicate smoky, tarry flavor.

Yunnan Western
A tea containing a high proportion of the youngest leaves, this has a sweet taste and a light golden color.

Chinese tea - tea leaves

Chinese tea is categorized based on its way of manufacture.

6 types of tea: Green, yellow, black, white, light green and red.

Green tea

Green tea has the longest history and it can be dated over 3000 years ago. People picked the young shoots of leaves and dried it in the sun without fermentation.

Examples of green tea:

  • Long Jing
  • Fur Tip
  • Green Spring Snail

Yellow tea

Yellow tea is to ferment the tea leaves before they are totally dry. A degree of 10% to 20% fermentation would be expected.

Examples of yellow tea:

  • Silver Needle
  • Yellow Soup
  • Big Leaf Green

Black tea

Black tea is to ferment tea leaves to a degree of 100%. It is a kind of commonly consumed tea in Mongolia.

Examples of black tea:

  • Pu'er
  • Cake tea
  • Brick tea

White tea

Produced for the most part in China, white teas are made from the buds and young leaves, where other teas are made from more mature leaves. The buds and leaves may be shielded from the sun, so no chlorophyll may be formed in them. Flavor is sweet and light. Tea leaves are usually young ones covered with white fur.

Examples of white tea:

  • Longevity Eyebrow
  • White Peony
  • Silver Needle White Fur

Green tea

Light green tea is a kind of tea lightly fermented to a degree of 30% - 60%. Tea leaves are green in the middle and red on the fringe. This type of tea gives a taste of fruit or flowers.

Examples of Light green tea:

  • Water Fairy
  • SONG Species Long Bush
  • Iron Guan Yin

Red tea

Red tea is a kind of tea fermented to a degree of 80% - 90%. Western countries usually call it Black Tea. It usually gives a taste of roses.

Examples of red tea:

Healing aspects of Chinese tea

Chinese tea is known to have good healing power. It not only boosts health but also allows longevity. However, we should avoid tea which has been left cool for a long time or overnight.

Take Oolong as an example, it can reduce the fat in blood. It has been known for a long time that tea can reduce the fat in human body. Or take Pu'er or white tea as an example, it would be ideal for people to maintain a slim body. Apart from the effects above, all the three teas can reduce the possibility of developing cancer.

Japanese Green Teas
These long, green leaves make a light, bright easy-to-drink tea that is good for everyday drinking.

Sencha Brancha
This is a combination of tea leaves and rice that results in a drink with a nutty flavor.

Taiwan (Formosa) Oolong Tea
Considered by some experts to be one of the finest of teas, this has a natural fruity flavor that is not too strong.

Formosa Oolong Peach Blossom
This tea does not contain peach blossom-it takes its name from its unique peachy flavor that is found only in the best-quality teas.

Blended Teas
Most packages of commercial tea are made up of a blend of fifteen or more leaves from different areas. There are also some rather special traditional teas that are blended. English Breakfast Tea is a blend of strong Indian teas that gives a full-bodied and fragrant drink. Earl Grey Tea is a blend of Keemun and Darjeeling teas flavored with oil of bee balm. The recipe was given to the diplomat Earl Grey by a Chinese mandarin, and the earl took the recipe back with him to England. Russian Caravan Tea is a blend of fine teas from China, Taiwan, and India. It was originally transported to Russia from India via camel caravan; hence its name.

Herbal Teas
While most other teas contain caffeine and act as stimulants, herbal teas generally do not contain any (unless blended with other teas), though some will still simulative while others act as sedatives. Herbal Teas are often drunk for their effects or medicinal properties. Most herbal teas are best on their own, without the addition of milk, lemon or sugar

Jasmine Tea
Traditionally served with dim sum dishes, this is a classic Chinese tea. It is a green tea, exotically scented with the addition of real jasmine flowers.

Rose Pouchong Tea
From the province of Guangdong, this is made by interspersing flower petals with the tea leaves during drying. It makes a pale, soothing tea. Rose Congou is another rose-scented tea.

Chrysanthemum Tea
This is medium strength black China tea blended with chrysanthemum flowers.

Orchid Tea
This is obtained by blending a semi fermented oolong tea with crushed orchid flowers. It makes a light, delicate, and fragrant brew, considered to be the tea of connoisseurs.

Lychee Tea
This is a traditional Chinese blend that is perfumed with the husks of the Lychee fruit.

Fruit Teas
Modern blends are produced using varied fruits: apricots, black currants, apples, wild cherries, passion fruit, oranges, lemons, and mangoes. The producers of fruit teas carefully blend their own mixtures of China, Indian, and Ceylon teas to go with the chosen fruit.

Teas from Roots
Ginger root tea, South Pacific Kava root tea and licorice teas are examples.

Teas from Grains
Roasted barley tea, known as bori cha in Korea and mugicha in Japan, has a coffee-like taste and is usually served cold. Roasted wheat tea also tastes like coffee. Roasted corn and toasted rice teas are also served in Korea.

Tea from other Herbs:
Vatnip and chamomile tea used to calm, echinacea used to alleviate and help prevent cold and flu symptoms, Essiac tea used to treat cancer, fennel, hibiscus used for longevity, honey bush, gentian, horehound, labrador, lapacho made from the inner bark of the Lapacho tree, lemongrass, coca tea made from coca leaves, mint teas, European mistletoe, nettle leaf, raspberry leaf, rooibos tea AKA red tea touted for its antioxidants, rose hip, sage, sassafras, skullcap, thyme, tulsi, vetiver, wong logat, woodruff, yarrow, yerba mate, and yuen kut lam kam wo tea.

Rooibos, colloquially known as Red Tea, is a herbal plant grown in South Africa. Rooibos is a flavourful, caffeine-free alternative to tea.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      to be that from the Yame reoign of Fukuoka Prefecture and the Uji reoign of Kyoto. Shizuoka Prefecture(静岡県) crops 40% of raw tea leaf.玉露 Gyokuro (Jade Dew)Selected from a grade of green tea known as Ten-cha (碾茶), Gyokuro's name refers to the pale green color of the infusion. The leaves are grown in the shade before harvest, which alters their flavor. 抹茶 Matcha (rubbed tea)A high-quality powdered green tea used primarily in the tea ceremony. Matcha is also a popular flavor of ice cream and other sweets in Japan. 煎茶 Sencha (broiled tea)A common green tea in Japan made from leaves that are exposed directly to sunlight. 玄米茶 Genmaicha (Brown-Rice tea)maicha and roasted genmai (brown rice) blend. 冠茶 Kabusecha (covered tea)kabusecha is sencha tea, the leaves of which have grown in the shade prior to harvest, although not for as long as Gyokuro. It has a more delicate flavor than Sencha. 番茶 Bancha (common tea)Sencha harvested as a second-flush tea between summer and autumn. The leaves are larger than Sencha and the flavor is less full. 焙じ茶 Hōjicha (pan fried tea) A roasted green tea. 茎茶 Kukicha (stalk tea)A tea made from stalks produced by harvesting one bud and three leaves. 玉緑茶 TamaryokuchaA tea that has a tangy, berry-like taste, with a long almondy aftertaste and a deep aroma with tones of citrus, grass, and berries. Okinawan Tea

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Feel proud to be an Indian.


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