Monday, February 4, 2013

Guest Post - A High Quality Tea Moment

Every once in a while, it's fun to take a step back and get back to the basics of tea. I'm very happy to have Mishka Thomas as my guest today as she gets down to the nitty-gritty basics of how to choose your tea and ensure that is of the high quality sort!

Are You Drinking High-Quality Tea?
One reason why tea is loved by many people is it comes in various varieties – you can choose from black, white, green, or oolong tea. There are also unique herbal teas like Tulsi tea, rose tea, and chamomile tea, to name a few, that are just as refreshing and pleasant as the usual tea choices.

But before you choose any type of tea, remember: you should only drink high-quality tea that will give you a truly satisfying and soothing experience.
Do you know how to choose a high-quality tea? If you’re not a tea expert, you will most likely end up with bland-tasting and unpalatable tea.

Simple Tips in Choosing a High-Quality Tea Variety
The value of tea actually depends on its quality. First, you will need to learn about the characteristics of the different types of tea that come from the Camellia sinensis plant. For example, black tea is a full-fermented tea with a slightly bitter taste and a honey-sugar aroma. Meanwhile, oolong has a blossom-like aroma, but a bitter taste is considered a flaw. 

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a high-quality type of tea:

·         Check out the shape of the tea leaves. Tea leaves have different shapes. Oolong tea leaves are usually ball-shaped, while green tea leaves have a natural curved shape.

·         Are the tea leaves in good condition? High-quality tea leaves are usually handpicked, so they stay intact and undamaged. Poor-quality, machine-picked tea leaves are broken-down and cut into small pieces, and may even contain bits of stem.

After drinking a pot of tea, take out the leaves and observe them – if you see groups of two or three leaves joined together by a stem, then that tea is high-quality.

Watch out for teas that contain thick stems as well. If the stem is as thick as a matchstick, this may cause the tea to be too bitter, overpowering the natural fragrance of the leaves.

·         Study the color of the tea leaves. These are different depending on the tea variety. For example, oolong tea comes in dark green hues, depending on the degree of fermentation and baking.

·         Observe the color of the liquid. All fine tea varieties produce a transparent, clear, and light tea with a brilliant color. Jasmine tea is yellow-green in color, while oolong tea is golden yellow. 

·         Check out the aroma of the tea. The tea’s fragrance depends on the degree of fermentation. Non-fermented teas usually have a vegetable aroma, which is similar to fresh grass scent. Green tea has a light, fresh, and soothing fragrance. Meanwhile, lightly-fermented teas like oolong have a sweet, flower-like aroma. Black tea also has a sweet, floral fragrance that lingers longer than that of oolong tea.

Teas that have odd aromas like carbon, mildew, and smoke are not high-quality.

·         Taste the tea. In general, high-quality tea has a sweet aftertaste and should feel very slippery going down the throat. Green tea should have a fresh, not stale, flavor, but should not be too astringent. Meanwhile, black tea should be fresh and full-bodied.

Here’s Another Type of Tea You Can Try: Tulsi Tea
Once you’ve tried all the different Camellia sinensis tea varieties, you should try other herbal tea types as well. One good example is organic Tulsi tea.

Even before Tulsi tea benefits are being studied, it is already an integral part of Indian culture. Called "sacred" or "holy basil," Tulsi is one of the principle Ayurvedic herbs. Ayurveda is India's ancient holistic health system, with herbs at the center of its practice.
Tulsi tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, with a pleasing, blossom-like fragrance and a slightly sweet and spicy flavor. You can buy it in tea bags or as loose tea leaves. To make sure that you’re consuming high-quality Tulsi tea, buy it from a reliable and trustworthy manufacturer.

Make tea a part of your diet, whether it’s the Camellia sinensis varieties or herbal types like Tulsi tea. It’s surely a wonderful addition to your lifestyle.

About the Guest Author:
Mishka Thomas is a writer. She is currently researching about various tea varieties and their potential effects on a person’s overall wellbeing. She loves to drink tea, especially green tea and herbal varieties like Tulsi tea. She makes it a habit to drink tea at least twice a day.