What exactly is a tea? Today, what we call tea is basically everything that has been floating in hot water for some time. But a few people know that real tea is only the one that comes from the infusion of the leaves of the tea plant. Pure, or real tea, comes from tea tree bushes, which are grown mainly in Asia, Africa, South America and Australia, in Europe it is grown only in the Azores.
The word “tea” comes from Chinese, and today the term is used with minor variations in many languages around the world. In countries where this drink was brought to from the sea paths, the name is similar to the English “tea”: in French “thé”. In Italian „té“. In the countries to which it was brought by land, its name is more similar to the Chinese “cha”; in India, Arab and Slavic countries it is called “čaj”.
How do we actually classify real tea? Based on what? In historical sources, we learn that tea was processed by fermentation…that’s a lie. The only tea that is treated by fermentation is Pchu-er, whose leaves go through a complex process at the end of which fermentation takes place. Such leaves are then aged in the ground for several days to weeks. Thus, we divide teas into four basic groups, according to the degree of oxidation:
🍵 White tea: spontaneous oxidation occurs during tea maturation. Parts of the leaves remain green, the edges get brown.
🍵 Green tea: it undergoes oxidation between collection and processing, then is heat treated to maintain a fresh green color.
🍵 Oolong tea: the leaves undergo oxidation, which is, however, interrupted several times. These leaves are then brown with a greenish tint.
🍵 Black tea:the leaves are mechanically disturbed after harvest and the oxidation takes place when they are wet and at higher temperatures. Through this process, the leaves completely oxidize and have a brown to black color. This tea is historically the most popular type.
You can find a selection of the best teas in our Oxalis store!
The origins of the habit of drinking tea and nibbling on something at just five o’clock in the afternoon are traditionally attributed to England and its traditional people. It is said that the Duchess Anna of Bedford came up with this idea sometime around 1840. The time between lunch and dinner, which was then fashionable until about eight o’clock in the evening, seemed too long. And so she began to cut long afternoons in the company of her girlfriends, good tea and small sandwiches.
Even today, despite the hectic times and modern technology, this habit has not disappeared from English homes. On the contrary, it has spread to hotels, restaurants and cafes, where you can enjoy a cup of delicious tea since three o’clock in the afternoon.
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