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Asia Tea Guide

April 29th, 2011 by

Tea soothes the palette and brings serenity to a person’s inner being. Its curative properties, gentle aroma and taste has made it a popular drink most especially in Asian countries, where tea leaves are cultivated. Even the seemingly simple tea ceremony has its own underlying meanings and techniques and varies from one culture to the next.

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Prepare to be revitalized! Here is a wonderful list of the most famous tea varieties in Asia.

Black Tea

Black Tea is mostly grown in China, India, and Sri Lanka. It is characterized by its strong citrus scent and undergoes full oxidization – hence the reason for its dark colour and blackish brew. The most famous kind is Ceylon Black Tea. This is grown in Sri Lanka specifically in the districts of Galle, Kandy, Ratnapura and Uva. Locals claim, however, that the finest leaves are grown in Nuwara Eliya.

There are different ways to drink Black Tea.  In Singapore, for instance, it is usually served with milk and sugar. In China, it comprises the all-important ingredient in Black Tea Eggs.

Green Tea

Green Tea is widely available in Asian countries like Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines, among others.

This particular kind of tea is referred to as non-oxidized or non-fermented tea (it undergoes the shortest oxidation period). The leaves are immediately steamed to inhibit the oxidation process.

It is known worldwide because of its numerous health benefits including its ability to help prevent arthritis, heart conditions, liver diseases, and even certain cancers. In Japan, there is an existing belief that drinking up to 10 cups of green tea daily can diminish the threat of coronary disease.

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Herbal Tea

Herbal Tea is produced from tea leaves combined with dried fruits, herbs, flowers, and boiling water. This kind of tea is available across Asia and is usually consumed because of its sedative and pick-me-up elements. A fantastic example is Ginseng Tea.  A lot of the Ginseng roots are cultivated in Korea where drinking this kind of tea is said to relieve a person from extreme heat and overpowering stress. Other examples include Chrysanthemum Tea, Anise Tea, Mint Tea, Chamomile Tea, Rose Tea, Lemon Grass Tea and so much more.

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Oolong Tea (Wu-Long Tea)

A huge percentage of semi-fermented Oolong Tea, or what is sometimes called Wu-Long Tea, comes from China; specifically from Guangdong and Fujian. Tea drinkers claim that this kind of tea has a fruity taste that seems to be a combination of the aromatic smell of black tea and the freshness of green tea. Even if it is only medium-bodied, it is recognized as the most fragrant and complex to make.

A specific kind which is grown in Taiwan is called Formosa Oolong Tea. It is considered the “champagne of teas” mainly because of its fine properties.  Of course, numerous hotels in Taiwan serve this tea.

White Tea

The youngest tea plants are subject to the lowest form of oxidation in order to produce White Tea. For this, the plants must be kept under shade a full month before harvest.

White Tea, which is described as having a light and sweet flavour, is commonly found in China. You do pay more for White Tea because of its delicate and complicated handling process.

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Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh Tea is a post-fermented tea. Yunnan province in China is the largest producer. Pu-erh can be purchased either as loose leaf or in compressed forms such as tea bricks or blocks. Some plants are called raw or ripe depending on the level of the post-fermentation process applied. Purists claim that the best kinds are the ones that have been allowed to mature first before use.

Other regions like Vietnam, Burma and Laos are also known to produce Pu-erh Tea.

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