How to choose the best quality tea? What is the tea oil made of? How many sorts of tea are there? And how is actually tea made? Answers the Tea Master at Guilin Tea Research Institute.
The tour guide car turns from the main road to a smaller and bumpier one and after a while stops next to a house. No plantations in sight.
We get off the car to be greeted by a young woman. This is the Tea Master who will tour us around the tea plantation and tell us everything about the tea making process. And after that – the tea tasting ceremony.
We proceed through a kind of corridor and here it is – the plantation itself, a huge territory hidden between houses and beautiful Karst mountains.
We put on iconic conic hats and follow our guides. There the Tea Master shares the sacred knowledge and for the first time in our lives we can see and touch fresh tea leaves growing on the bush.
There are 6 sorts of tea that can be produced from a tea bush: white, green, oolong, black, yellow and puerh, and there are numerous blends and flavored teas.
Does it mean that there are 6 sorts of bushes? No, one bush can give you all sorts of tea depending on which tea leaves are picked and what treatment is applied.
Tea leaves are gathered almost throughout the year. Only in winter the plantation rests.
Tea leaves are picked exclusively by hand to ensure that the right ones get into the basket.
Every time only one sort of tea gets picked.
After that, the tea leaves get special treatment, and every sort has its own.
White tea is only picked 2 weeks in a year, in May. It’s the white tip on the plant. It receives very gentle treatment in order not to break the half Moon shape of the leaves. It basically just dries in the air and gets gently shaken from time to time for half an hour. White tea has the least level of caffeine.
Green tea gets kneaded and heated to release the fragrance and then is set out to dry.
Quality knowledge tip: for the green tea the first 2 or 3 upper leaves are picked from the plant, including the white tip. To choose good quality green tea, look for white leaves – more white leaves – better quality.
Oolong and black tea don’t get heated to preserve the moisture. The leaves are covered with a damp cloth and left to ferment for a few days. For this sort of tea lower tea leaves are picked. They are more rich in flavor and caffeine level.
Yellow tea is gathered from high mountains and has a unique sweeter taste. It doesn’t get exported but you can order it online from the Tea Research Institute to be delivered to your home.
This farm also produces an exclusive blend tea – a mix of all the above mentioned teas, very rich in flavor. It can last for decades, if stored correctly.
The lowest leaves are hard and are used for fertilizing the ground. Or for tea bags…
What kind of tea do you like? Comments are yours!