Each cup of tea represents
an imaginary voyage.

(Catherine Douzel)

HISTORY of tea


Green tea is not fermented and leaves do not undergo the process of fermentation, keeping then their green color and producing a clear and fragrant infusion. The traditional processing method of green tea involves withering, heating, rolling and drying. After picking, the fresh leaves are spread out on bamboo trays and exposed to sunlight or warm air for one to two hours. Then, the leaves are heated to prevent oxidation and preserve freshness. Finally, the leaves are rolled into various shapes and then dried. The rolling also helps regulate the release of natural oils and flavor during steeping. In China, green teas are often panfired in very large woks and then rolled by hand into various styles: twisted, flat, curly or balled. In Japan, the plucked leaves are quickly steamed on a bamboo tray over water or in a steaming machine, making them easier to shape. The leaves are then rolled by hand or machine before being dried.

Black tea is mainly produced in India and African countries. The black tea processing involves four steps: withering, rolling, fermentation and drying. Firstly, leaves are left withering until they are soft enough to roll without the surface of the leaf splitting. The rolled lumps of leaf are then left in cool, humid atmospheric conditions for a few hours to absorb oxygen. The chemical change in the leaf turns them from green to a coppery red colour. The final stage requires the leaf to be fermented to prevent natural decomposition. At this stage the leaves turn black and are recognizable as tea.

Spice tea is made with green and black tea, and oolong. There are two methods of processing spice tea. The Chinese traditional one consists in adding to tea leaves petals or flower buds, that are remove afterwards. The most used essences are jasmine, sweet chrysanthemum, lotus and rose petals.
The other method consists in adding tea leaves of essential oils obtaining then a wide variety of aromas.

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