From plant to tea
Our delicious tea has travelled a long, extensive and above all extraordinary road from plantation to your tastea tin. Characteristic of this road is mainly the place where the tea comes from and the types of processing methods. We are happy to take you on this journey! First of all, it is useful to know the basics! Tea is a very interesting, but also complicated subject. So, let's start at the beginning.
The tea in all our tastea blends, from the Horsepower to the Hocus Pocus Focus, come from one specific plant; the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. The tea plant has two variants; the Camellia Sinensis and the Camillia Assamica. These two may seem identical at first glance, but nothing could be further from the truth!
The Assamica is a tea plant with rougher, coarser and thicker leaves. It grows mainly in India, Africa and Sri Lanka and is mainly used for black tea and Pu Erh tea. For example, the Skintight is a Pu Erh tea and the Naughty Caramel is a black tea. Oolong tea is also made with the leaves of the Assamica. For example, our Say Cheese... Cake is an oolong tea.
The Assamica tea plant can grow up to thirty meters high, but is still called a bush. Now the farmers do not let the plant grow to this height, because the taste of the leaf of a lower bush is a lot more concentrated. In addition, picking the leaves by hand is easier if they keep the bush small. The plant needs heat, drought and many hours of sunshine. Picking the leaves is usually done by hand, with even the most stiff leaves, which are for an oolong tea, for example, being cut off with a knife. Do you see straight cut tea leaves in your tin? Then they most likely come from the Assamica tea plant!
The Sinensis tea plant, on the other hand, has smaller, more delicate and lighter leaves. These are mainly used for green and white tea such as our Calm Down and the Crazy About You. Especially in China and Japan you can find the Sinensis tea plant a lot. The tea plant can grow under many conditions, and can easily handle cold temperatures and altitudes. The Sinensis can grow up to six meters high. In general, farmers also often keep these tea plants small by pruning them back, just like with the Assamica. Also with this variant they do this to get a higher quality tea and to ensure that the leaf is easier to pick by hand.
Once the leaves are picked, an extensive process takes place that ultimately makes it a delicious tea.
Depending on the process and the tea plant, the same tea leaf can become multiple types of tea. This has everything to do with the processing of the leaves. There are many types of tea: Green, Black, White, Yellow, Oolong and Pu Erh tea. Did you know that Rooibos and Herbal teas are not teas at all? The tea does not come from the Assamica or Sinensis tea plants!
The processing of the tea leaves has several stages. These phases consist of oxidizing, de-oxidizing, rolling and forming the leaves. One tea goes through all phases and the other does not. That ultimately determines what kind of tea it will be! Check out the infographic to see the whole process at a glance. Here we have divided the teas on a horizontal line by means of oxidation. For example, one of the biggest differences between black and green tea is the oxidation process. Black tea is oxidized and green, yellow and white tea is not. Due to the oxidation process, it becomes black tea.
During oxidization, the juices of the product come into contact with oxygen in the air, which causes the product to oxidize. A good example of this is an apple. As soon as you take a bite out of the apple and then leave it, the inside becomes dry and discolored. The juices come into contact with the air! To stop the oxidation process, you can heat the product, which can be done in different ways.
You can steam the leaves, which happens a lot in Japan, for example. Steaming gives the tea an almost creamy and filmy taste. You can also fire (or pan) the leaves. In this method, the tea is heated in/on a cast iron (or similar) plate.
When the product is oxidized (or not), the leaves are formed for some teas. This is caused by the rolling of the leaf. As a result, the tea leaves are rolled into a beautiful shape and then dried so that it ultimately ends beautifully in your tea tin!
This was the journey of your tea tin. Overwhelming, huh? Is it not yet completely clear or do you have a question? Feel free to send us an email via [email protected]!