Tea (Thea) is a genus of tropical evergreen perennial plants of the tea family; some taxonomists attribute tea to the camellia genus. In the genus of the second type of tea, Chinese (T. sinensis), subdivided into Chinese and Japanese varieties, is a shrub up to 3 m high, growing in the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia. Assamese tea (T. assamica) - a tree up to 10-15 m high, lives in the forests of Assam (India); varieties - Assam, Lushai, Hill, Manipuri, Burma, etc. Assamese tea includes a natural hybrid of Chinese tea with Assamese - Ceylon tea. Both types are common in culture.
Tea is thermophilic and hygrophilous. It grows and develops well with the sum of average daily temperatures for the growing season not less than 4000 ° C. Withstands short-term frosts down to -12 ° С without snow cover (some varieties up to -14 ° С). In tropical countries, tea grows throughout the year. With a yield of 4000 kg per hectare of leaf, the plant takes out 150 kg of N, 23.9 kg of P2O5 and 47.8 kg of K2O from the soil. The best soils are red and yellow soils permeable to water and air.
Tea is propagated by seeds and vegetatively. Plantations are laid with 1-2-year-old seedlings grown in nurseries, directly by seeds, semi-lignified cuttings and layering. Tea blooms in the 4th-5th year and produces fruits annually. Cross pollination - by bees, flies and other insects. The plant is fully developed by the age of 7-8. Tea annually forms annual productive shoots from growth buds in leaf axils, the tops of which (2-3 leaves with a bud) make up its products - flushes. The duration of the growth of productive shoots is 35-65 days. Under favorable conditions, they grow continuously. In Russia, there are 2 periods of intense tea growth: spring - in May and summer - in July-August. Tea lives for 100 years or more, the most productive at the age of 10 to 70 years.
In Russia, the tea drink began to be consumed since 1638, when the Mongolian Altyn Khan sent 4 poods of tea leaves as a gift to Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich. In 1679 an agreement was concluded with China on the constant supply of tea to Russia, in the 18th century. the import of tea is increasing, the popularity of the tea drink is increasing. The appearance of Russian samovars dates back to this time.
The tea industry of Russia produces long tea (loose with twisted leaves) - black and green (kok-tea) and pressed - green brick (lao-cha) and black tiled. Other countries (India, China, Japan) also produce yellow and red (oolong) tea. Caffeine, vitamins, such as vitamin P (in the form of tablets), and other drugs are produced from tea leaf waste. Seed oil is used in cosmetics, the canning industry (a substitute for olive oil), as a lubricant for precision instruments, and in soap making. In China and Japan, the leaves are used as a seasoning, in Burma - for making salad.
Tea is also called tea substitutes from plant raw materials (lime, carrot, fruit tea), collections (mixtures) of medicinal herbs (diuretic tea, etc.).
Tea is one of the most ancient drinks, the use of which is inextricably linked with the national culture, economy and historical traditions of many peoples. Scientists have been studying tea for a long time, but only recently have they been able to fully understand its chemical composition. It is now known that this plant includes about 300 different substances, of which six groups of chemical compounds are primarily noteworthy: tannins, essential oils, alkaloids, amino acids, pigments and vitamins. However, the misconceptions associated with tea are not diminishing.
The tea should be infused for several minutes. This is one of the most common misconceptions! Teas should not be infused for a long time, and then diluted with water. On average, tea is brewed for no longer than one minute. Green teas - 10-15 seconds, black and red - up to 1 minute, dynamic - until the flower fully opens. And, without diluting, pour. Green teas after a long infusion taste bitter, and black teas become too strong, which can have a bad effect on the body.
Green and black tea are different plants. In fact, both green and black tea are made from the leaves of the same plant. What kind of tea you make depends on the way the tea leaves are processed, scientifically, the degree of fermentation. The whole variety of teas is divided into three main types: black, green, oolongi (red and yellow teas). Color is only an external reflection of differences in the biochemical processes of tea leaf processing, which ultimately affects the chemical composition and basic taste and aroma characteristics of each type of tea. In China, the traditions of producing more than 1000 types of tea are preserved: black, red, turquoise, semi-fermented and unfermented, green, yellow and even white. Many varieties are completely different from one another, but, nevertheless, all this is tea.
Black tea is stronger than green tea. No, this is a misconception. The strength of tea and the tonic effect is given by caffeine; there is as much of it in green tea as in coffee (from 1% to 4%, depending on the variety). During fermentation, when black tea is made from green tea, caffeine is destroyed.
Low-grade tea, leftovers from tea production or tea dust are used for the production of tea bags. In fact, the production of good tea bags is considered to be very technological and expensive, which is why large producers only use high quality tea. In addition, tea bags have three undeniable advantages: it brews quickly, it is easy to use, and since it is brewed just before drinking, it is always fresh!
Yesterday's brew becomes a poison for the body. It's just that it's much less beneficial than freshly brewed tea. Within an hour, the aroma disappears, for which the drink is appreciated, bitterness and unpleasant aftertaste appear. But the antiseptic properties of tea are preserved.
Large leaf tea is a premium tea. This indicator speaks volumes and, first of all, about the taste of the drink. But those who think of large leaf tea as premium tea may be wrong. Large leaf tea - aromatic, soft, with a delicate tart taste. This type of tea is grown on plantations that are located in the lowlands, along the flowing rivers, where there is a lot of sun and enough moisture, so the tea leaf grows large. If tea plantations are located in highland areas, the climatic conditions there are more severe: the wind blows, it rains cold, so the tea leaves grow medium or small. Small leaf tea is stronger and more aromatic. The best variety of black tea on the world market is Indian Darjilling tea, it is called "gold in a cup". It looks like a mixture of black tea leaves, white tips and green tea buds. The size of the tea leaves is not large.
The tea should be stored in a glass jar. Tea should be stored in hermetically sealed containers, at a relative humidity of not more than 70% and protected from sunlight. Otherwise, biological processes in the tea leaf can resume and distort the taste of the tea.
The older the tea, the better it is. Green tea, like most loose teas in general, is best drunk fresh from the very last collection. Black tea is good aged, it is preserved in a special way - pressed, cakes or blocks.
Tea leaves cannot be swallowed ... without chewing. Can. For example, it is even customary to eat Longjing tea in China after drinking tea - it is very useful.
Is tea a drink or a food? We are used to brewing tea leaves and drinking the infusion, and this seems to be the natural and only way to use this culture. But this is not the case. There are a lot of proteins in the fiber of tea leaves; by their amount, tea can be equated to legumes. Therefore, for example, in Japan, a tea leaf is ground into powder and brewed, making tea gruel and eating it. Various soups, sauces, sorbets, ice cream are also prepared from tea.
It is good to rinse the sewage system with the used tea leaves, for example the drain of the sink. On the contrary. Brewing clogs plums more than any other food. Better brewing is done only by peeling carrots.
Kombucha is a special mushroom that grows under the tea bush. Kombucha (medusomycete) is a thick, layered mucous film that forms on the surface of a sugar-coated liquid. The liquid acquires a pleasant sweet and sour taste and turns into a slightly carbonated drink - tea kvass, which, according to some sources, has antibiotic properties and contains vitamins.