Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January is National Hot Tea Month

Do you have a favorite tea or tea blend? 

Do you drink flavored teas or non-flavored?

Do you drink herbal infusions?  Do you have a favorite?

A few basic tea facts:
All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, a warm-weather evergreen.  The way the fresh leaves of the tea plant are processed and the amount of oxygen contact determines the types of tea.  During oxidation, tea leaves undergo natural chemical reactions that result in color and taste characteristics.  Green tea is not oxidized.  The leaves are steamed, rolled and dried.  Black tea is allowed to oxidize for two to four hours.  Oolong tea falls somewhere between green and black teas, in that the leaves are partially oxidized. 

Tea is grown in thousands of tea gardens and estates around the world, resulting in different flavor variations.  As in wines, each tea takes its name from the district in which it is grown.  Example: Darjeeling tea is from the Darjeeling area of India.  Tea is also divided by grades determined by leaf size.  Larger sized leaves can be found in packaged loose teas while tea bags contain smaller leaves often called dust or fannings. 

Herbal teas DO NOT come from the Camellia sinensis, but are infusions of leaves, roots, bark, seeds, flowers or other parts of plants.

Note: the above facts are from various sources.  I thought this information might be helpful to my non-tea drinking, and novice tea-drinking blogging buddies. 

Join me in celebrating National Hot Tea Month!

I've mentioned many times on this blog, my favorites are black teas and black tea blends.  I usually avoid flavored teas, but occasionally drink a good quality Earl Grey. 


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