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Interesting Facts About Tea and 3 Simple Ways to Test Quality of Tea

An interesting mix of facts and trivia that you probably didn’t know about tea.From the botanical name to the difference between Green and Black tea. Also, do you know you can test your Indian, Darjeeling and Assam tea at home and get to know if it is safe to consume.

  • India is one of the largest tea producers in the world, and what’s more, over 70 percent of the tea is consumed within India itself. India recorded total tea production of 1233.14 million kg during the financial year 2015-16, which was the highest ever recorded by the country until then. As compared to 2014-15, the total tea production registered an increase of 35.96 million kg.
  • The botanical name of tea is Camellia sinensis. Black, green and white tea all originate from the Camellia sinensis plant. Their differences come from the methods by which they are processed.
  • Green tea is made from tea leaves that are ‘fixed’ (via steam or pan-firing at a hot temperature) immediately after being plucked. This process prevents the leaves from oxidizing (turning brown), ensuring they remain closest to their pre-plucked state
  • Black tea is made from leaves that are heavily oxidized, because the enzymes within the leaves are allowed to fully oxidize the finished leaves appear dark and brownish in color. A high level of oxidation also converts the polyphenols in the tea (catechins) into oxidase compounds, most notably theaflavins and thearubigins. Theaflavins provide black tea with its briskness and sharp taste while thearubigins give body and impart a dark reddish-brown color typically associated with black teas. To know more on the amount of Theaflavins in your favourite black tea brand, click here
  • Broadly, tea is classified as orthodox or CTC (crush-tear- curl). Orthodox teas are whole- leaf teas manufactured using the traditional process of making tea, which involves plucking, withering, rolling, oxidation/fermentation and drying. CTC teas produce a granular leaf particle. It produces a very strong flavour, quickly infusing tea that is often boiled or used in tea bags.
  • Do you know how to tell if your tea is real, here are 3 simple ways to test :
  1. CTC: Take a teaspoon (tsp) of tea and put it in a glass. Pour hot water. Good tea will take three minutes to give colour; the bad takes 30 seconds.
  2. Leaf Tea: Take a tsp of tea and put it in a glass. Pour hot water and let it steep for three minutes. The inferior tea will reveal leaves, stalks and dust, while the other will show a uniform hue.
  3. Odour: Take an airtight container and put in the tea. Shut the lid tightly. Open after 24 hours. A musty odour will emerge if the tea is inferior. Good tea will give off fragrance.  More Food Adulteration Tests

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Divya Patwal


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