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What exactly is Tea?

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Legend has it that Emperor Shen Nong discovered tea in 2737 BC. While boiling water under the shade of a tree, a few leaves fell into the water creating a delicately perfumed liquor.

Tea is the world’s oldest beverage and is the most widely consumed beverage worldwide after water!

There are literally thousands of teas grown and manufactured in tea producing countries, yet no two taste the same! What differentiates the multitude of teas out there? The answer is ‘terroir’!

Terroir is the term used to describe country, region, climate, weather (monsoons or dry), soil condition, cultivation practices, high or low grown, seasons, type of pluck and method of manufacture.

All tea is made from the fresh leaf of the Camellia Sinensis bush. The two main varietals being Camellia Sinensis var. Sinensis (small leaf China bush), and Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica (larger leaf Assam bush).

Tea is manufactured differently from country to country and region to region within those countries. There are six types of tea:

White – the least processed tea, no oxidation involved.

Green – slightly more processed than white, in that heating and shaping is repeated until the desired shape is achieved, but still minimally processed.

Yellow – unique to high-mountain regions of China.Manufactured the same as green tea, but with an added step.

Oolong – semi oxidized, the most complex manufacturing techniques are applied. Oolongs are between green and black tea, yet have their very own distinct flavour profiles.

Black – a fully oxidized tea, 100%

Pu erh – a fermented tea, wet-piled and aged.

Examples of some of the 40 tea producing countries are China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya – and the list goes on.

No matter where the leaf is manufactured, there is one thing for sure – tea brings the world together, and you can travel the world one cup at a time!

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