Posted in Kafevend Blog

1. Which of these processes will determine whether a tea is black, white, green or yellow?

B-Oxidation: The longer the leaves are oxidised, the darker they will become. So, black tea is the most oxidised while white tea, by contrast, will have had minimal exposure to oxygen. White teas have a far more delicate flavour profile as a result.

2. What extra process is yellow tea subjected to?

C-the tea leaves are placed under a damp cloth: Yellow tea has become increasingly rare and this is partly to do with the complexity of the processing required to produce it. As with green tea the first stage is to subject the leaves to heat in order to halt oxidation. However, to convert the tea to the yellow variety the leaves must then be gathered into heaps and covered with damp cloths or mats. It is the heat and humidity that causes them to turn yellow and also develop a sweeter and more mellow taste and aroma. This stage can last around three days with the leaves being reheated and covered from time to time.

3. Which of these white teas has the finest reputation of all?

A- Silver Needle: Cultivated in the high mountains of China's Fujian Province, only the buds are harvested, and then only on a few select days each spring. The buds are covered in downy white hairs, hence the 'silver needles'. Enthusiasts suggest brewing silver needle tea in a glass teapot so that you can watch the silvery needles floating and falling in the water before drinking it.

4. What is the name of the mechanised process for producing black tea?

B- Crush, tear, curl: For much of its existence black tea was carefully processed by hand through a variety of stages. Europeans learnt these techniques from the Chinese, but once they'd established tea estates in their African and Asian colonies they started looking for a way to speed up the process. This eventually led to the mechanised crush, tear, curl method that some 90% of black tea has gone through in the world today.

5. Orange pekoe refer to the tea's...

D-grade: The 'orange' in orange pekoe has nothing to do with the flavour, colour or even the variety of the tea. It denotes a certain grade of black tea, generally from India or Sri Lanka and made from the  new flush – that's the bud and first two leaves of the tea plant.

6. Which of the following teas is also known as blue tea?

C-oolong: Oolong is partially oxidised, meaning that it comes somewhere along the line between black tea which is fully oxidised and green tea which isn't oxidised at all. It's often badged as either blue tea or blue-green tea, so perhaps it could be called turquoise tea – just a thought!

7. Where is black tea known as red tea?

C-China: In China, as well as in nearby countries like Japan and Korea, black tea has always been referred to as red tea. While red tea alludes to the colour of the infusion, black tea is named for the colour of the fully oxidised tea leaves. In fact, in China black tea is more likely to be used as a label for post-fermented teas such as pu-erh. Here, we're more likely to associate red tea with rooibos, or red bush tea, which is cultivated exclusively in South Africa.

8. Where does matcha, the powdered green tea, come from?

B-Japan: Matcha is the green tea closely associated with the Japanese tea ceremony, that has now achieved super food status in the West. While the leaves of other green teas are discarded after brewing, matcha is a fine powdered green tea which is whisked into the hot water and swallowed as part of the drink. Therefore none of the goodness is wasted and this has helped matcha achieve recognition as a top notch health food.

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