Tea Questions (Please help me)?!
2.List the five categories of tea according to the different methods by which it is processed and the characteristics of the tea.
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You would have to look at the links I've provided, way too much info to paste. Hope this helps!
Chinese tea sets
Materials for the tea sets come in all different types of materials, like porcelain, ceramic, clay, and even gold. More of the popular colors range from blue, green, or black. There are some mentions that Chinese Tea sets should only have one type of tea brewed in the set. So for instance you would have one teapot that you would only brew and steep one type of tea, like white tea or green tea.
If you wanted to have another type of tea, you would have an entirely different Chinese Tea set for that particular type of tea.
I can see this for the Chinese tea sets that are made of Clay. The reason for this is because the tea will actually get absorbed into the clay material, so if you were to brew one specify type of tea in the set, it will then be absorbed into the clay and thus the flavor will be continued with each consecutive brewing.
A very popular teaset from China is the Yixing clay teapots. These tea sets are made of Yixing clay, thus the name given. Yixing teapots are said to be made specifically for black or Oolong types of tea. The clay actually keeps the water at a hot temperature for a longer time, keeping the degrees of the temp hotter than metallic Chinese tea sets.
Fictile Tea Set
Such a set is able to contain water without seepage as well as have the ability to retain the flavor of the tea
Porcelain Tea Set
The black porcelain tea sets are most distinguished by their ability to retain heat due to their thick base
Lacquer Tea Sets
This type of Chinese tea sets was used in the Qing dynasty
Glass Tea Sets
Glass tea sets make drinking tea visually gratifying experience & one can have a good view of your brewing tea
Metal Tea Set
Provide an airtight container for your tea; protect it from light, moisture, unnecessary oxidation, and peculiar smell
Bamboo and Wooden Tea Sets
In the early days of drinking tea, people generally use bamboo or wood to make tea sets since they are inexpensive but of superior quality.
Chinese tea may be classified into five categories according to the different methods by which it is processed.
1) Green tea: Green tea is the variety that keeps the original color of the tealeaves without fermentation during processing. It's picked, naturally dried, and then fried briefly (a process called "killing the green") to get rid of its grassy smell. Green Tea has the most medical value and the least caffeine content of all Chinese tea classes. Aroma is medium to high, and flavor is light to medium. About 50% of China's teas are Green tea.
2) Black tea: Black tea, known as "red tea" in China, is the category which is fermented before baking; it is a later variety developed on the basis of the green tea. Black tea undergoes withering (drying), left to ferment for a long while, and then roasted. Black tea leaves become completely oxidized after processing. Black tea has a robust taste with a mild aroma. It contains the highest amount of caffeine in Chinese tea classes.
3) Oolong tea: This represents a variety half way between the green and the black teas, being made after partial fermentation. Oolong Tea leaves are withered and spread before undergoing a brief fermentation process. Then Oolong Tea is fried, rolled and roasted. Oolong Tea is the chosen tea for the famous Kung Fu Cha brewing process. It's the serious Chinese tea drinker's tea. Aroma ranges from light to medium. Beginners in Oolong Tea should be careful as even though flavor is only mild to medium, the tea could be very strong.
4)Compressed tea: This is the kind of tea that is compressed and hardened into a certain shape. It is good for transport and storage and is mainly supplied to the ethnic minorities living in the border areas of the country. Most of the compressed tea is in the form of bricks; it is, therefore, generally called "brick tea", though it is sometimes also in the form of cakes and bowls. It Most Chinese Compressed Tea uses Black Tea as base tea. Compressed Tea has all the characteristics of Black Tea. It can be stored for years and decades. .
5) Scented Tea: This kind of tea is made by mixing fragrant flowers in the tealeaves in the course of processing. The flowers commonly used for this purpose are jasmine and magnolia among others. Jasmine tea is a well-known favorite with the northerners of China and with a growing number of foreigners.It is subdivided into Flower Tea and Scented Tea. Flower Tea is a simple concept that dried flowers are used, without much processing, to make tea.
When selecting tea it's best to be able to see and smell the dried leaf. The best tea has a strongly aromatic dry leaf, whole (unbroken) leaves, and a bold color. It also helps to be familiar with the particular variety of tea you are buying, for comparison. In some varieties, tightly-rolled tea is higher quality than looser-rolled tea, but this is not uniformly the case. When buying from an online tea company, it's helpful to read reviews on tea websites.
Five of the main different categories of tea are Black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, and the other two categories are probably either Pu-erh tea (which is technically a type of Hei Cha, or post-fermented tea), or Yellow tea (which is sometimes classified as green tea).
There are many different types of tea sets in China. One key piece of teaware worth mentioning is the small clay teapot, the most well-known of which is the Yixing teapot. These small teapots are used in gongfu brewing, a special type of brewing that involves making multiple, brief infusions from the same set of leaves. This technique brings out unique facets of the flavor and aroma of the tea in each infusion.
It would be possible to write volumes to answer this question. Others have also provided valuable information. I am attaching link to a tea site I run, which has a lot of reviews of different teas, if you want to locate some of the best teas. I'm also including links to a few articles hosted on the site, which you may find are useful for more detailed answers to your question.
RateTea.net, an Interactive website where people can rate and review teas:
Information About Varieties of Tea:
About Brewing Tea with Multiple Infusions:
Grades of Tea (Primarily relevant to black tea):
As for process and categories, here's a nice image (on that image the "post fermented" represents Pu-erh)
Well, the first thing to look for is artificial flavorants (chemicals). If they are present, you can put away the tea and don't bother examining it further. The same goes about tea bags, while good teas can be found here, IMHO it's not worth examining them: it's too hard and in the most cases (as Yvan mentions above) you'll find dust there.
First thing I check is the look of tea, e.g. silver needles look like this
I guess wikipedia can be a reliable starting point where you can check how a tea should look. Then I examine how homogenous it is: if this is silver needles it should have ONLY silver needles. Well, of course it's not theoretically possible but e.g. the place where I buy teas, has approximately 1-2 alien leaves per 50g of silver needles. The same goes with branches: they should not be there. Silver Needles is an example, you can apply it for most of the teas. Unless it's some specific type of tea that is supposed to be non-homogenous (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Peony…
Then next step in verification process is how tea smells and tastes. It's really hard to give general advices here. Well, generally (not in all cases of course) the tea should not be bitter or astringent. If these are the only tastes you feel, the tea is either bad or was prepared in a wrong way (bad timing or temperature). But for example Young Pu-Erh is often very bitter and astringent and that's a good sign.
As for Pu-Erh it's a different story really, here's some info
All teas are very different (even withing a single category) and the only way to know their characteristics is to taste them (make sure you are preparing them properly, generally and in short: white/green - 60-70C/5-7min, Pu-erh - 90-95C/20-30sec, Oolong/Red - 90-95C/3-5mins). Some teas (Oolong, Red, Pu-erh) require an empty infusion: you put the tea leaves into the into teapot, fill it in with hot water and immediately remove it, repeat, then you can start preparing tea: fill the teapot with water, wait X minutes and put the prepared tea into the cup. It's very very basic description, if you buy tea in a good place, they will be able to tell you all the details about how to cook the particular tea.
If you are buying a present for someone or something like that, I would advice to avoid Pu-erh and Oolong (unless you know that the person like those teas). In my experience these teas tend to have more extreme tastes. For example I absolutely love the strong and awesome taste and smell of Milk Oolong and hate the strong taste and smell of Heavily Roasted Tie Guan Yin. The same for Pu-erhs - they taste and smell can be very strong and the person will either like it or hate it very much. Green, White and Red teas have more soft tastes and IMHO they are less risky in this case. However if you are just trying to find nice teas for yourself, go to a tea shop, choose a random tea and ask them to prepare a cup for you. Then repeat that process until you check them all :)
Unfortunately I can't tell anything about Yellow tea. I live far from China and I was not able to find it in my country. However I heard many good things about this tea so can give it a try.
That's a really good post with a great info on how teas are processed. I would only slightly disagree about 4 and 5. Compressed tea is a separate category of tea (Pu-erh, also it is not always compressed) and as far as I know the process is different, it can be compared to Red tea but is nowhere near the same. Also from personal experience the taste differs much from Red teas. And as for 5, while scented tea is a great tea, it's a dangerous thing because there are so much fakes here. One needs to be able to tell apart a good tea that was scented by real (for example) Jasmine from a worst-possible-quality tea that was simply poured by chemicals that smell like Jasmine. It's not very hard though, in most cases a simple intuition is enough because artificial "Jasmine" has a very strong "chemical" smell that almost always can be naturally recognized even if you have little experience with these things.
Colour, scent, taste, conservation, purity and strength.
Some teas are mixed with fruit (Lichis) or flowers (Jasmine, roses) to enhance taste and scent.
Some teas are fermented like Pu'er or some Oolong teas.
Most teas in bags are not real teas but only dust of tea and are not meant to be drunk.
Oolong teas are usually made of leaves rolled up into tiny bowls that unroll themselves once in hot water.
Pu'er teas are usually very strong and good for health, especially for blood circulation.