1: Olfactory and Taste Notes
You can easily recognize the taste and scent of a tea. This is especially true for plain tea, made up of 100% tea leaves and nothing else. The terroir, the altitude, the soil, the climate, the country of origin and the oxidation technique have an undeniable influence on the taste.
Black tea, which is highly oxidized, has more body than green tea, which is slightly oxidized. But green tea releases very characteristic vegetal notes. Oolong or semi-fermented tea leaves a nice roundness and notes of chestnuts in the mouth. Finally, white tea is the most delicate and freshest of all teas because it is not oxidized.
The origin of tea leaves is of paramount importance. These include the low-lying regions of Assam in India, Sri Lanka and Kenya for black tea. In Darjeeling,a world famous region, tea leaves grow in the foothills of the Himalayas. Japan and China are two countries renowned for their green tea production.
Sometimes tea sellers make blends of plain teas to balance the aromas or get a more assertive result. For example, the strength of Assam’s tea, the roundness of Ceylon and the delicacy of Darjeeling gave birth to the mighty English Breakfast. The combinations are almost endless.
3: Organic certification
From the shoot to the tasting, the producers never rinse the tea leaves. This may alter the aromas. As a result, a pesticide-treated field will transmit this harmful substance into the tea leaves produced.
To avoid this problem, opt for organic tea, 100% natural. Far from being a scarce commodity, organic tea is grown everywhere. And in order to reassure customers, some tea houses send the results of analysis of their batches.
Be warned: rare and exceptional teas are matched only by their high price. In these times of crisis, the temptation to buy cheap is great. With the exception of broken, it’s best to opt for whole-leaf tea. Bagged tea sells for less, but is often mediocre.
For small budgets, Chinese tea offers good value for money, unlike Japanese tea. Flavoured tea is also cheaper because it is a blend of Chinese tea and Japanese tea.
As for Darjeeling, the first flush or first harvest is more expensive because of its qualities. Finally, high-altitude varieties such as Taiwan tea are rare and delicate, so very expensive.
The Varieties of teas
In reality, all tea species come from the same plant, camellia sinensis. However, there are many varieties of this plant due to the diversity of cultivated soils and oxidation methods. Here are the best known ones.
1. Tea mix
It is a blend of different varieties or varieties from different locations. For example, English Breakfast tea is a blend of several black teas. Sometimes it can also be teas mixed with fruits, flowers, essential oils, spices or herbs. This is done to create new flavors.
2. White tea
Unlike other varieties, white tea is not oxidized. It is also not made from mature leaves of the tea tree. This variety of tea is composed exclusively of buds and young leaves. This gives it a sweet and delicate taste. White tea is particularly popular for its low caffeine content.
3. Black tea
Black tea is arguably the most widely consumed variety in the world. It is also the best known. It can be drunk with milk and sugar and can be used to make iced tea. Drying and long-lasting oxidation give it its darker colour and stronger taste. The most well-known subtypes are Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Kenya and Keemun.
4. Oolong Tea
The drying technique of Oolong tea is similar to that of black tea. Only the drying time differs, shorter for the Oolong variety. As a result, it is less full-bodied and more subtly flavoured than black tea. However, this semi-fermented tea remains stronger than green tea even if it varies depending on the treatment. He drinks without milk.
5. Green tea
It is the most refined variety of tea. Tea lovers appreciate it for its benefits because of its high antioxidant content in the leaves. Indeed, dried green tea is not left to oxidize like black tea or Oolong tea. This allows it to keep its green color while giving it a sweet flavor.
Different types of teas
Unless you are an expert in species and subspecies, the best way to differentiate teas is the form in which they are sold. In bulk, in sachets, in pods or pre-infused, each presentation has its pros and cons.
1. Tea in sachets
A bag is equivalent to a cup of tea. One of its advantages is its price per cup cheaper and easier to determine than the price of bulk tea. In addition, tea in sachets is prepared and brewed quickly. On the other hand, tea in sachets uses crushed leaves, often of inferior quality.
- Fast and easy to infuse. Simply put a bag in hot water and it will be ready
- Prices significantly lower than mobile leaf varieties
- Finely ground tea speeds up the brewing time. But the taste tends to be bitter, with a one-dimensional cup
- Single-use bag: 1 bag, 1 cup of tea
Who’s that for?
If you don’t have time to waste in the morning, powdered tea is a great choice. You can add milk to reduce its bitterness. This type of tea will suit the whole family.
2. Loose tea
Also called leaf tea, this type of tea requires strict selection. At the end of this process, only the best sheets are retained. Tea lovers agree that bulk tea gives the best flavor. Some varieties of leaves can be soaked several times, giving several cups.
- Selected from the best sheets
- Exceptional flavour
- It is possible to soak the same leaves several times to prepare several cups. Provided they are kept moist between soaks and discarded after 12 p.m.
- Quality is expensive
- You will need an infuser or teapot and a colander to brew leaf tea. Preparation takes time
Who’s that for?
Bulk tea will meet the expectations of discerning lovers in terms of taste. You may need to go to a specialty retailer to get the widest range of options.
3. Tea dosettes
Like tea in sachets, tea in pods is prepared quickly. For this, you won’t necessarily need to buy a tea machine. Indeed, some coffee machines with pods accept tea pods without worry. On the other hand, the taste will not always live up to expectations.
- Quick and simple preparation
- Tea pods work with some coffee machines. So you won’t necessarily need to buy a tea machine
- Price of pods
- The flavour of the tea in a pod can disappoint the most demanding. Indeed, their selection is similar to that of tea in sachets
- Like all tea pods, tea pods are non-reusable
- The pods do not respect the environment
Who’s that for?
For coffee machine holders, tea pods are often compatible with your appliances. In addition to their simplicity and time savings, they sell at a reasonable price.
4. Pre-infused tea
You can buy pre-brewed tea, to taste anywhere and at any time. There’s nothing like it to save time and not have to worry about preparation. By default, pre-brewed tea is cold. Examples include iced tea and herbal teas, sweet or not.
- Avoid having to make tea
- The market is full of sweet or unsweetened iced teas and herbal teas
- Opportunity to taste everywhere and when the urge takes you
- Pre-brewed tea is cold by default, so it’s not ideal if you like your hot tea
- Offers less choice than if you had to make the tea yourself
Who’s that for?
Young and old love iced tea, the flagship product of pre-infused teas. Tea lovers who have neither the time nor the desire to prepare the beverage will also be interested.