PART 2: DARK TEAS (OOLONG AND BLACK)
While Part 1 discussed the process of making a lighter tea (White and Green) from plant to cup, Part 2 discusses my favorites, Oolong and Black teas. I first started getting hooked on teas when we went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Just having the little cups of tea, sipping and sharing family stories hooked me. I love many types of teas, but Oolong and Black are at the top of the list.
Oolong tea is allowed to somewhat or partially oxidize and sits on the color scale between green and black. Depending on how oolong is produced, it can end up being more like green tea or more like black tea. Traditionally, oolong tea is the tea of choice for most people of Chinese and Japanese decent. Oolong has a taste that is more comparable to green tea than to black tea, but the color can range from a greenish yellowish to dark amber. Oolong is also said to have benefits in controlling obesity and has benefits to help prevent some cancers.
Allowed to fully oxidize, black tea is dried and has undergone many chemical reactions causing the tea to take on the black color. Black tea normally possesses a stronger flavor and has a higher concentration of caffeine. Generally unblended teas are named after the region they are produced. Black tea is normally graded on one of four scales of quality. Whole leaf teas are highest quality followed by broken leaves, fannings, and dusts. Whole leaf teas are considered more valuable, especially if they contain leaf tips. Hence, the more valuable the tea, the higher the price tag. Some of the black, unblended teas you’ll come across are: Keemun, Dian Hong, Tibeti, Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon.
SUB-VARIETIES AND BLENDS
There are many other sub varieties of tea, such as Pu-erh, Kukicha, Genmaicha, and many blends like Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and many other flavored teas. They are carefully combined to have great body and flavor.
Tisane teas (tee-zahn) include beverages made with anything other than actual tea leaves, including herbal teas, Rooibos, fruit melanges, Heuningbos and many more.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010