History of tea trade
A variety of teas are known today, and are enjoyed by tea-lovers globally.
Before the 19th century, tea leaves were essentially a Chinese monopoly, and was traded globally by the country. However, the British East India Company, grew the Chinese tea leaves, first in the Assam valleys, and then the Darjeeling hills.
Apart from the Chinese tea, there are various other forms of tea, like the African Rooibos tea, Sri Lankan Green tea, and various local tea-like drinks across the world. They have been graded and priced, majorly during the colonial era, and has a history of turning from a luxury drink in Europe, to a drink consumed in every middle-class household, in the colonies, too.
Here are few kinds of lesser known tea, that every tea-lover must know about:
White tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant which is picked while they are young, and covered in fine white hair. This is why it is called ‘white tea’. The leaves are picked before they are fully open. It is a must try for all tea-lovers!
White tea is one of the highest graded tea, and is extremely expensive. This drink is said to have immense health benefits, expecially for the cardiovascular system. Polyphenols found in white tea helps relax blood vessels, boost immunity and prevent bad cholesterol from becoming oxidized. These factors helps lower the risk of heart disease.
Rooibos also means the ‘Red Bush’, and is a locally made drink in Africa. it is mainly the fermented leaves of the Aspalathus linearis shrub, a plant native to South Africa. You must surely try this, if you are a tea-lover.
This kind of tea is low in tannins, and more importantly is caffeine-free. Moreover, it a a rich anti-oxidant, having incredible health-benefits for the heart. It is said to have a sweet, ‘earthy’ taste, and keeps blood-sugar levels in control.
The general benefit of Green Tea, which most of us have overheard, is the benefit of losing weight. This tea, too is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. The dried leaves and leaf buds of Camellia sinensis are then prepared by the process of steaming and pan-frying, and re-drying them.
Not only is it a delicacy for tea lovers, but is an extremely healthy drink.
Green Tea has a specialty of not being fermented, like the black tea of Oolong Tea. The Medical News Today writes:
“Green tea may be beneficial for weight loss by helping the body’s metabolism to be more efficient. Green tea contains caffeine and a type of flavonoid called catechin, which is an antioxidant. Research suggestsTrusted Source that both of these compounds can speed up metabolism. Catechin can help to break down excess fat, while both catechin and caffeine can increase the amount of energy the body uses.”
This is a Chinese tea leaf, that is prepared through a distinct process to be consumable. The process consists of withering the plant under strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. This is an amazing kind of tea, best without milk and sugar, for the tea-lover’s taste-buds!
In Turkey, it is a much consumed hot drink, and is prepared by a distinct method.
Herbal tea, such as rose hip (kuşburnu çayı), linden flower (ıhlamur çayı) among other flavors are popular among the Turks. The process of making Turkish two has two important components:
- The Turkish teapot : The teapot has two parts. The bottom metal pot is for the water, and the smaller top for tea. The top part is mostly made from fine porcelain.
- The tea is added to the top part, and the wateris put to boil in the bottom part of the teapot. When the water boils, some water is added to the top pot/ Then we reduce the fire to the bare minimum, and wait 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
It is definitely a wonderful breakfast drink for tea-lovers!