...they say that Darjeeling is one of the best teas in the world! In the so called Darjeeling District tea is grown and cultivated at about 80 plantations nowadays. Naturally each harvesting season has its own character. Since there are big differences in the seasons, one talks of first flush (these are the finest teas), second flush and Autumnal flush.
The most noble types of Ceylon tea grow in the Highlands of Nuwara-Eliya (Little England) where the climate is pleasant and young Chinese tea plants are used. Nowadays Ceylon tea is known for its refreshing aromatic and bold flavour. The tea grows at different heights from 300 to 2000 meters and has different qualities. Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon) is very energetic and independent as a country and has occupied itself as one of the first with the difficult and costly matter of controlled organic cultivation.
It can be said that Assam with its 600 kilometers width from East to West has the world's largest tea growing region. The green house climate with more than 35 degrees Celsius and heavy rains make the tea grow very fast (that is why it has a higher yield than Darjeeling). Assam teas are strong malty in taste and very versatile. They offer a perfect base for numerous blends, like for example the famous East Frisian tea.
Depending on the taste and kind of tea, approx. 10 to 15 grams of black tea per 1 liter of water. The ideal steeping time for black tea is 3 minutes. If you leave it steep longer (than 3 min.) more tannin is extracted out of the leaves.
Contrary to China that produces many different kinds of green teas, Japan only produces few that are from the Sencha leaf (the Japanese most popular drink). Japan, without exception, produces only green teas. China is without a doubt the birthplace of tea. In China tea has been cultivated for about 5000 years. There are many different ways in which green tea can be prepared. The Chinese put the leaves in water and pour hot water on them several times. The higher the quality of green tea, the more often you can leave them in the water.
Is Green tea healthy? Look for more information about green tea in "the ABC of Green tea"
For one cup of tea you use one teaspoon of tea. It is better not to use a tea infuser because the leaves cannot unfold properly and so the flavour is not optimum. For green tea we use hot water (60 to 80 °C), not boiling, otherwise the tea becomes bitter. Do not let it steep longer than 2-3 minutes. Another method: pour water of approx. 70 °C on the tea leaves and immediately afterwards remove the leaves. Repeat this. The bitter ingredients have then gone and the tea is milder in taste.
Rooibos grows in South Africa where it is the national drink. Its red colour is obtained by harvesting the young, new shoots, cutting them in small pieces and letting them get in touch with the oxygen from the air. Rooibos is rapidly gaining popularity. One of the reasons why is that it is without caffeine. Colour wise and taste wise it is like black tea.
For one cup of tea you need 1.5 teaspoon Rooibos. Pour boiling water on it and steep for 5 minutes.
Tisanes (herbal teas)
No other drink has
such a position in traditions and habits of people all over the world
than herbal teas or herbal blends (tisanes). In Europe herbal tea blends
have been used as healing drinks for ages. As a remedy herbal blends
were very important for a large part of the population in the 19th
century. In those times most people did not want to (or could not) buy
the imported black and green teas.
Nowadays herbal tea blends are used for two main reasons: because of
the lovely taste and because of the effect of the herbs on the body. It
is not easy which teas can be seen as herbal. Fruit blends and some
spices can also be categorised as herbal teas.
For one cup of tisane you need 2 full teaspoons of herbs. Pour boiling water on it and steep for 8-10 minutes.
are many different kinds and flavours of Fruit tea. Fruit blends are refreshing, healthy, energizing and thirst quenching; all in one. There is almost no limit to the combination that can be created. It'll be difficult to choose! The basis of many
fruit teas is leaves of Hibiscus, Rose hip peel, Strawberry, Fennel, Mint, Lemon peel and Apple and through
other ingredients and aromas the taste is refined. The refreshing taste
plus the fact that it is caffeine free make a fruit tea ideal as thirst
quencher. Fruit teas are lovely both hot and iced. Different blossoms and rose petals give the blends their typical colour.
Suggestion for summer!
On a hot summer day you can create your own iced-tea of a fruit blend by using the so-called 'shock cooling' method. Colour and aroma are well preserved like this. Prepare a double strong fruit blend and pour this in a glass half full of ice cubes. You can serve the drink immediately or put it in the fridge to keep cool.