Here’s an astonishing fact: tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, after water! In the UK alone, we drink an incredible 165,000,000 cups of tea every single day – far more than coffee. However, despite being such prolific tea drinkers, we don’t seem to know much about tea.
There’s more to a conventional cup of tea and it’s remiss of us not to discover more because tea is alluring for its complexity and flavours.
For instance, did you ever wonder how tea acquires its tastes?
You’ve probably tasted several varieties, some even during the course of a single day! Perhaps you’ve started your day with a cup of strong Assam tea for a mental boost and later in the morning, you might’ve opted for a delicate Darjeeling. This followed by a lighter green tea in the afternoon to ease you into the evening.
Every type of tea tastes unique – there are a multitude of captivating and different flavours after all! In fact, the diversity in flavours would lead one to believe (and forgiven for thinking) that they all come from different plants. But here’s the crucial (and dare we say, amazing) fact: all six types of tea (white, green, yellow, oolong, black and dark) come from the same plant, the Camellia sinensis.
As a matter fact, only tea from the Camellia sinensis plant can be called “tea”. Other drinks such as rooibos, mate or chamomile tea are normally also referred to as “tea” though the correct terms are “herbal infusions” or “tisanes” because they contain no traces of the Camellia sinensis leaves.
So if all types of tea come from the same plant, how is it possible that they all smell, look and taste so different? You might reckon it’s a simple affair – a case of just adding some herbs or artificial flavouring. Well, that’s certainly how it is with other blended and flavoured teas. However, we’re talking about fine, pure loose leaf tea. And the most astonishing aspect is that nothing is added to it. You read that right: nothing, nada, zilch. This is what makes pure tea so fascinating, and a true art.
So how does tea really obtain its spectrum of flavours?
Just like with wine, three factors determine a pure tea’s flavour:
– Plant variety
– Manufacturing process
Did that pique your curiosity and would you like to know more? Stay tuned for our next blog posts where we’ll reveal more about the taste of a tea!
If you’re keen to explore flavours, at Taste for Tea we’re working on a fun and engaging subscription programme, designed not only to get you to taste some of the best teas in the world, but also to allow you to learn with every sip. Because we believe that the more you understand about tea, the more you will enjoy it.
Please both your taste buds and your grey cells – pre-register at www.tastefortea.com so we can let you know when we launch our programme!
Don’t worry, we won’t spam you with any commercial stuff – you’ll only hear from us now and then with an interesting new story and details about our launch.