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Darjeeling tea also known as the "Champagne of Black Teas" is probably the most exported Indian tea among Japan, Europe, North America and Great Britain. India produces far more of this luxury brand of tea, which is notably known for it’s seasonal harvests and distinct tastes.

The current market of Darjeeling tea represents only 3% of the overall tea production of India. A garden in Darjeeling India generates about 400 lbs. or so of tea for every acre per calendar year. Since the productivity is so small; detailed attention is placed on every single harvest throughout the year. So where is the Darjeeling region of India and why are the teas so renowned?  High in the foothills of the spectacular Indian Himalayas, Darjeeling is a region of Western Bengal. The very first documented plantations in Darjeelingdate from 1856. Today, the district of Darjeeling on it's own consists of more than 80 tea selections. Only gardens that tend to be recognized by the Darjeeling planters association have the right to market the tea within the international appellation of Darjeeling.

Tea is a seasonal item, which harvests mostly rely upon on the growing conditions of the trees. Environmental factors, such as sunlight, rain and temperatures all play a role on the extending of the shoots and the unfolding of the leaves. The interval between picking is crucial to the survival of the tea tree. Excessive picking can actually endanger the life and health of the tree. If you have ever tasted Darjeeling tea then you'll know that there are variations in color and flavor based on the time of year they were selected. The first cycle of picking takes place is between mid-March and the end of March and concludes around the second week of May. This first harvest yields light teas with intense aromas. The fresh grades of the shoots are enhanced by shorter oxidation times, which contribute to its blossomy aroma and powerful sweet aftertaste. The second harvest takes place from the end of June until mid-July, and it produces a greater volume. The leaves selected during the second harvesting are firmer and require longer oxidation times, which gives them a darker colored liquid and malty fragrance reminiscent of a ripe fruit. The final harvest, the fall harvest, takes place in October and November and has a less delicate flavor, but fuller body and darker color.

Different Types of Teas

Once upon a time it was assumed that black & green teas derived from different tree plants. We now understand that it's the occurrence of oxidation that changes the natural state of the leaves, transforming the pigment and flavor.

When the cells of a tea leaf are broken it responds to oxygen and in turn these enzymes set off the oxidation of the leaf. This kind of chemistry makes it possible to change freshly harvested leaves into any type of tea.

How one transforms a tea leaf is actually an important factor in the tea’s ultimate taste. Since oxidation will need to take place soon after harvesting, most plantations possess their own processing plant so they can process the leaves as soon as they arrive from the garden. Growers who are incapable of affording their own manufacturing facility join together and send their crops to a larger sized producer who's capable of processing the leaves.

Every family of tea comes from a unique technique of processing, which we will review in depth below. For instance a green tea is derived when the leaves are “fired" or steamed to disable the enzymes that produces oxidation. A gentle and monitored oxidation is allowed in the case of Wulongs. As opposed to it’s counterpart the black tea, where oxidation is fully induced by subjecting the leaves to humid conditions and room temperatures.

There are six key types or tea groups: white, green, yellow, oolong, black and Pu-erh.

Black Teas

Black Tea, the varieties we can easily procure in our grocer’s aisle undergo a rigorous oxidation process. More mature leaves are selected to produce black teas, with the exception of high quality variations.

White Teas

White teas are renowned for its fragrant characteristics and tend to be found in the Fujian Province of China. Superior white teas originate from prized harvests comprised completely of buds. White teas also go through the smallest amount of handling. The leaves are naturally dried or with the aid of high intensity fans to eliminate some of their moisture. The fluid they yield is fragile, incredibly refreshing and less likely to possess any level of caffeine.

Green Teas

Generously produced in China and Japan, with well over 1,500 varieties of its class. Green teas are the favored beverage of these regions. The fresh leaves are dried out to avoid any probability of oxidation, which enhances the "green," plant characteristics of the tea.

Yellow Teas

The scarce yellow teas endure minor post oxidation by steaming underneath a damp cloth, as the leaves are still warm from becoming dehydrated. This produces a slight oxidation, supplying the leaves and the liquid obtained from them a golden-tinged or yellow hue.

Wulong Teas

Wulong teas are regarded as the in between black and green tea and are processed according to a three-century-old custom, in which the leaves go through limited oxidation prior to being twisted or rolled. In English speaking nations Wulong is also referred to as oolong. The Chinese and Taiwanese produce two primary variety: teas that endure limited oxidation and whose somewhat fairly sweet floral scents resemble those of green tea, and those that undergo higher degrees of oxidation, and in turn gives them a woody,fruity and sometimes caramelized notes almost reminiscent of the black tea. Wulong translates to black dragon and refers to the black snakes that coiled about the tree limbs of the tea trees; Hopefully this known fact doesn’t deter you from trying this aromatic tea.

Pu Er Style Teas

Pu er ( also Pu-erh) teas, originate from the Yunnan Province , which is located in the South of China. The teas are gathered from ancient trees growing wild and have been used for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes. Pu er teas maturing process takes many years to complete and for that reason these teas are somewhat rare and quite pricey.

 

Benefits of Drinking Tea

 

It's no mystery that tea is unquestionably fabulous. Before loading up on your next cup of chai, make sure that "tea" is actually tea. Bona fide tea is derived from a plant named Camellia sinensis and consists of four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. Anything else (herbal "tea") is a blend of different plants and isn’t considered tea.

With newer tea varieties drinkers not only reap the serious health benefits from every sip, but can also indulgence in the taste. Researchers credit tea’s health attributes to polyphenols (a form of antioxidants) and phytochemicals. Though most researchers have based most of there findings on the well-known green and black teas, white and oolong also provide an immense amount of health benefits. Continue reading to find out why tea is so beneficial to our health

 

1. Tea can increase fitness endurance. Researchers found the antioxidants in green tea extract boost the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which is responsible for improved endurance.

2. Consuming tea may prevent heart attacks. Tea may also safeguard against cardiovascular diseases.

3. Tea assists in fighting free radicals. Tea has high amounts of Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, which is a showy approach to saying that it assists in destroying free radicals (which could damage DNA) in the body.

4. Despite it's caffeine content Tea is refreshing and hydrating to the body.

5. Hate UVA rays? Then load up on green tea. We realize it’s very important to restrict exposure to UV rays, and we all hate sunburns. The good news is that green tea may work as a back-up sunscreen.

6. Routine tea consumption may also combat some of the adverse effects associated with smoking and may even reduce the risk of lung cancer.

7. Tea might be beneficial to individuals with Type II diabetes. Studies report that natural compounds in green tea could help diabetic’s better process sugars

8. Use of white tea is recommended due to its  properties, which help in quickly repairing the damaged skin. It is also beneficial in protecting skin against effects of ultraviolet light.

9. Antioxidants in black tea can also help reverse the visible effects of aging (like wrinkles and reduced skin elasticity). Time, stress, excessive sun exposure, and unhealthy eating habits can hurt the skin and cause it to age more than we would like. This antioxidant-packed beverage works to reverse the damage, making your skin look younger, firmer, and more radiant.

10. White tea consists of nutrients and antibacterial qualities that safeguard the body against incidence of diseases. Green and black teas are mutually advantageous however it is the white tea that goes through a smaller amount processing which assists in preserving higher levels of phytochemicals