Teatime: The Best Teas for the Winter Season
Now that cold weather is approaching, a cup of tea is really very welcome, but how does one choose a perfectly sweet afternoon treat? Below is a brief guide of the main varieties and their tastes. The tea plant, or Camellia Sinensis, is an evergreen shrub from whose dried leaves we get the largest number of varieties of tea, one of the most widespread and ancient drinks in the world. Cultivation takes place mainly in its country of origin, China, but also in India, Japan and Kenya.
Black Tea is the most common type of infusion and is made from the dried
leaves of Camelia Sinensis. This drink has less properties than green tea, because oxidised leaves lose their properties, however it remains a good drainage, as well as being a valid energiser and antioxidant. Compared to green tea, it has a stronger flavour and effect on the body as it contains theine (caffeine) in greater quantities. Green tea leaves take on a darker colour due to the fermentation processes they undergo.
Green Tea is obtained from the unfermented leaves of Camelia Sinensis. For this reason its leaves retain their green colour and the infusion appears visibly lighter in colour than black tea. It is known and appreciated, above all, for its antioxidant and highly draining qualities and works well as a purifier.
White Tea, little fermented with a light flavor, is characterised mainly for the way it is created. In fact, the buds of the tea plant are used. It is the least processed type of tea, as its leaves do not undergo any type of transformation process other than drying. This allows the properties of the plant to remain intact and to obtain a drink with a strong antioxidant power.
Blue Tea/Oolong Tea. The secret of the characteristic colour of this tea lies
in the partial oxidation, which occurs immediately after harvest. Oxidation
occurs for black tea, but is interrupted before its completion - this is why in
the case of black tea the leaves turn red , while for the Oolong they take on
the typical blue / bluish colour. Very pleasant on the palate as its taste is
sweet and fruity. Oolong tea has both the properties of a black tea and those
of a green tea.
Also Yellow Tea, like the blue Oolong tea, is a type of semi-fermented tea, whose
leaves during the process take on a characteristic yellow colour. It has an
effective diuretic action, where it known to promote blood circulation and acts as an aid in the reduction of cholesterol.
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The drink commonly known as Red Tea, but which should be called Rooibos,
is obtained by using the leaves of the plant of the same name, which are
specially harvested and dried in Africa - its area of origin. Red tea - or Rooibos,
is caffeine-free but rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C and magnesium, and it is even
considered an elixir of life because, thanks to these characteristics, it
improves the appearance of the skin and attenuates free radicals.
Finally, Matcha Tea, also known as Japanese green tea, also has antioxidant
properties - like all varieties of tea - but in quantities much higher than normal
green tea. Matcha tea is a variety of green tea that the Japanese grow away from
the sun and whose leaves are harvested by hand and then transformed into
powder through the use of stone mills. Thanks to this process, Matcha tea
comes in a very fine and fragrant powder with an intense emerald green colour and is particularly rich in vitamins, mineral salts, chlorophyll and carotene.
Personally, I also can't help but try every new variant of Flavoured Tea on the
market, which is nothing more than an infusion based on black or white tea where
particular aromas are added, including citrus fruits, red fruits, flowers
or spices such as ginger and black pepper as well as algae or chocolate.
Add it all to a nice spoonful of honey, a slice of lemon or milk, some biscuits
and a sweet break is served!