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Main Types of Tea
While standing in the tea section of the supermarket, I am a bit overwhelmed by the amount of choices available. I not a big fan of tea but with the growing awareness of the health benefits of tea, I like to try it.
Is there a way of telling which tea is good for you, because they are not cheap, there is no one to consult than just to read the labels, but as I have said , I am no expert. Well, I guess , there is no better way than to sample teas yourself and I can always research and find good sources of information, so that is what I did and I found this book, “New Tastes in Green tea” by Mutsuko Tokunaga which tells me the difference between a green tea from a black tea tea and a lot of other interesting information about tea.
The Main Types of Tea
The taste appearance and nutritional components of the three types of tea are the result of different processing methods.
1. Green Tea
Green tea is unfermented – meaning that the fresh tea leaves are not oxidized during processing and the green color is retained . Immediately after being picked the leaves are steamed to deactivate the oxidizing enzyme as quickly as possible and “kill” the leaves. Once oxidation and browning have been halted, the leaves are rolled into thin needle shapes and then dried
This method effectively seals in all the nutritional components of the leaf. The process does not destroy the Vitamin C in the leaves, which is one of the main reasons green tea is considered better for the health than the black tea or oolong tea.
Green Tea History & Nutrition - Superfoods
2. Black Tea
Black tea refers to fermented tea. This involves processing that is the complete opposite of that for the green tea.
The fresh leaves are first ‘withered” – dried in direct sunlight or by unheated air being pumped through a layer of leaves.
They are then rolled to break up the cells on the leaf’s surface to promote oxidation which results in the aroma and the dark color.
Finally the leaves are heated in iron pans and dried several times to prevent further oxidation. The rolling process – essential in the production of all three types of tea – ensures more efficient infusion when hot water is poured over the leaves
Benefits of Black tea
3. Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is semi fermented which means that the leaves are “withered’ in the sun and also indoors to reduce the moisture content.
When oxidation has reached about 30 percent, the leaves are heated in an iron pan to prevent further oxidation.
In the semi fermentation process the leaves are prevented from turning black as they do in the case of the black tea.
Oolong Teas : What Is Oolong Tea?
Both black the and oolong tea contain fewer vitamins than green tea, although to different extents.
This is due to the oxidation of the leaves in the withering process: -less oxidation takes place in semi fermented tea than in fermented black tea.
In black tea, vitamin C- which is considered the most beneficial component- disappears completely.