Tea in general
Tea in general
The main ingredient in tea to determine which tea type (green or black) to make is the Tea Polyphenols. Tea Polyphenols, also called tea tannins, are phenolic compounds, a combination of 6 different unique chemicals exist in tea which makes drinking tea good for our health.
However, tea polyphenols play very similar role as wine tannins as most of you might know already, tannins determine the flavor, texture and structure of the liquid. It makes the liquid sorts of bitter, harsh, astringent and unsmooth to taste.
Tea trees in a rough classification can be put into two different categories – large and small leafed. Large leaf contains more tea tannins than small leaf. And leaf grows in the summer time with more sunlight contains more than which grows in cold weather (less sun light).
More tannin means unsmooth taste, however the chemicals transfer and work very well into a deep and rich, strong and mature flavor after proper and complete oxidizing process. Thus, big leafed type of tea trees are usually chosen to make black tea, such as Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon, Chinese Keemun, Taiwanese Ruby (Taiwanese No. 18) and Chinese Puh-erh black tea. Summer harvest is considered better quality rather than winter.
Small leafed tea tree contains less amount of tannins which is more suitable to make green tea or oolong. Green tea is non oxidized tea and oolong is semi or light oxidized, without proper chemical transformation, tannin makes the tea quite unsmooth. Thus small leafed type is mostly chosen to make partial fermented tea.
There’s no definite way to choose which tea tree to make which type of tea. Fully fermented black tea can be made as semi oxidized and green tea can be made into fully matured black tea flavor. It’s just according to hundreds years of experiences of making tea, farmers have summed up a better way to choose types of tea trees to maximize the good flavor. However, quality is still the main reason to its taste. Assam green tea might not be as good as how Assam black tea tasted, if the trees are in good environment with proper care, it can still be a quality choice.
Good wine comes from good weather, earth and people with good skills. Tea is no different.