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The Processing of Tea

1. How to Classify Tea in Modern Time?

There are multiple classification methods for teas. Currently, the prevailing method is classifying the teas into "basic teas" and "reprocessed teas". Basic teas can be classified into green tea yellow tea, dark tea, white tea cyan tea (Oolong tea) and black (which are in general called "six types of tea") according to the processing principles and quality features. The reprocessed teas mainly refer to scented teas and compressed teas, etc.

2. What are the Procedures for Processing Green Tea?

The primary processing of green tea includes four procedures, i.e., spreading, fixation,rolling,and drying. Fixation is the key step in the processing of green tea. The purpose of pan-frying is to utilize high temperature to deactivate polyphenol oxidase and thus prevents the oxidization of tea polyphenol substances, resulting in the special quality feature of green tea.

3. What are the Quality Features of Green Tea?

The quality feature of green teas is "dear infusion with green leaves". Amongst the teas produced in China, green teas are featured with the most categories. Based on the different methods of deactivating enzymes and drying, green teas can be classified into "fried green tea" "steamed green tea" "baked green tea" and "sun-dried green tea". Currently, there are several thousands of brand names of green teas produced in China.

4. How to Disthinguish "Fried Green Tea" from "Baked Green Tea".

The differences of "fried green tea" and "baked green tea" lie in the different methods used in the drying process in the elementary stage of processing. The frying process uses the method of frying in the whole drying process, featuring tools of boilers or frying machines. It needs to heat the boilers and evaporate partial moisture in the tea leaves through a heat transfer and thermal radiation in contact to achieve the purpose of drying. The baking process means using the method of baking in the whole drying process, featuring tools of baking cages or dryers. It uses coal pit or hot air generation furnace to produce hot air to evaporate moisture in the tea leaves to achieve the purpose of drying. The difference in the quality features of "fried green tea" and "baked green tea" is: fried green tea has a tight cord shape and a green and smooth color; its tea infusion is green and bright with highly fresh aromas and a chestnut aroma, offering a full-bodied and refreshing taste. The baked green tea, compared to fried green tea, has a rather loose cord, an obvious pekoe and an emerald green color with a refreshing aroma of orchid, offering a fresh taste.

5. What is the Season Higher Quality Tea could be Produced?

Green tea can be categorized into spring tea, summer tea and autumn tea according to the seasons of production. In general, spring tea has better quality. Thus, the consumers usually purchase green tea once in spring for the consumption of all year round.

The spring green tea has a full-bodied taste because, after a winter period of nutrition accumulation, the tea plants are sufficiently provided with nutrients, thus the tea leaves are teeming with the content of effective constituents.

Thanks to the improvement in tea varieties, agronomic and processing technologies, summer tea and autumn tea in some regions are of decent quality too.

6. Where is West Lake Longjing Tea produced What are its Quality Features.

West Lake Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea is produced in the West Lake District of Hangzhou City, Zhejiang, China. The tea is characterized by four unique quality features, including green color, intense aroma, full-bodied taste, and gorgeous look. Moreover, the tea has a flat and sharpened shape, a smooth and even texture, and a light green and smooth color. The infusion of Longjing tea has a light and bright green color , fresh and brisk mellow and sweet aftertaste,,and fresh and lasting aroma. The steeped longjing tea has tender leaves of flower-like shape. According to the regulation of the National Geographical Indication, Longjing tea produced only within the scope of 168 square kilometers of West Lake Production Area can be called "West Lake Longjing Tea".

7. What are the Production Sites of Longjing Tea?

According to the code GB/T 18650-2008 Product of Geographical Indication-Longjing Tea, the Longjing tea-producing sites can be categorized into West Lake Production Area, Qiantang Production Area, and Yuezhou Production Area. The administrative region governed by the West Lake District (West Lake Tourist Destination), Hangzhou City, belongs to West Lake Production Area. The administrative regions governed by counties including Xiaoshan, Binjiang, Yuhang , Fuyang, Lin'an, Tonglu, Jiande, and Chun'an in Hangzhou City belong to Qiantang Production Area. The administrative regions governed by counties including Shaoxing, Yuecheng, Xinchang, Shengzhou, and Zhuji in Shaoxing City and part of the townships and towns, including Shangyu, Pan'an, Dongyang, and Tiantai belong to Yuezhou Production Area.

8. Is "Anji Baicha" a Type of White Tea?

Anji Baicha is a kind of green tea produced in Anji County, Zhejiang Province. The tea is processed from the tender shoots of 'Baiye 1' tea leaves, an albino tea cultivar. It is a natural mutant sensitive to low temperatures. Typically, when the average temperatures in spring last between 19-22℃, the germinating buds and leaves lose chlorophylls and turn white. However, when the temperatures remain above 22℃, the tender shoots gradually turn green from white, which looks similar to the other green tea cultivars. Anji Baicha is picked, processed and made during a particular whitening period when the air temperature is relatively low. In fact, the processing procedure of Anji Baicha is the same as that of green tea. It has a straight and relatively flat look,like an orchid; it is green in color and slightly tippy; its bud leaves are like green sheaths embroidered with golden edges. Once it is brewed, it give off an intense aroma with a lasting fragrance and a fresh and brisk taste. In this sense, Anjing baicha in not white tea but green tea.

9. Is Jinyun Huangcha a Type of Yellow Tea?

Jinyun Huangcha is exquisitely made from the new shoot of a special variety, 'Zhonghuang 2' which is a natural mutant. The processing procedure is similar to that of green tea. Thus, it is a type of green tea, with an amino acid content of above 6.5% and the total polyphenol content of 14.7%-21%. It has a fresh and brisk taste and a thick tea flavor. When brewed in a glass, it has a clear infusion and bright leaves, offering an extremely high value of appreciation. Tiantai Huangcha (made from the new shoots of 'Zhongliuaiig 1'. also a natural mutant) is similar to Jinyun Huangcha. The traditional yellow tea, as one type of the Six Major Categories of Teas of China, is formed in the "heaping" procedure. It is characterized by yellow infusion and yellow tea leaves, such as "Junshan Silver Needle".

10. How to Black Tea Processed?

Black tea is a type of tea, which is manufactured from fresh young shoots of tea plants through a series of steps including withering, rolling (cutting), fermentation, and drying. Fermentation the key processing step in black tea produetion. The essence fermentation is the biological oxidization of tea polyphenols catalyzed by a number of enzymes, including polyphenol oxidase. Theaflavins and thearubigins are the main products of oxidization and polymerization of tea polyphenols (including EGCG, EGC,ECG, EC, etc,), which characterize the quality features of black tea. Compared to fresh shoots, the contents of total polyphenols in the made black tea decrease by 90%, whereas the kinds of aroma substances and their quantity significantly increase. Therefore, black tea has the features of "red infusion with red leaves" sweetness, and a full-bodied taste.

11. Why is the "Red Tea" in Chinese Called "Black Tea " in English? What are the Quality Features of Black Tea?

Black tea is a type of fully fermented tea featuring the quality of "red infusion with red infused leaves". Thus it is call "red tea" in Chinese. Dry black teas of good quality often have black bloom except golden hue in the buds. Thus, it is called "black tea" in English because it looks black when it is dry The quality features of black tea are a shiny black color of dry tea, a bright red infusion, and coppery-color steeped leaves. The black tea produced in China can be classified into Congou Black Tea, Souchong Black Tea, and CTC (Crush Tear curl) Black Tea. Each of them has distinct features. Congou Black Tea is featured with a tight and slender shape, high aroma, and mellow taste. Souchong Black Tea is featured with fat and bold shape, and a slight smoky pine aroma . The CTC Black Tea is featured with clearly graded shapes ,including leaves, pieces, blades, and powder. All of them fresh and intense taste. In addition, turbidity frequently occurs when the infusion of black tea is cooled, a phenomenon "cream down". The turbid matter is the complex reaction product of theanine, theaflavins, and thearubigins, etc. The phenomenon of "cream down" indicates a good quality of black tea.

12. What are the Technological Feature of Oolong Tea?

Oolong tea is a kind of semi-fermented tea processed from fresh shoots of a certain degree of maturity. Processing of Oolong tea includes steps of sun-drying or withering, rotating, air-cooling, heating, rolling, and drying. Air-cooling and rotating are unique techniques for making Oolong tea.

13. What are the Quality Features of Oolong Tea?

Oolong tea is produced mainly in Fujian Province, Guangdong Province and Taiwan Province in China. It can be further classified into Northern Fujian Oolong, Southern Fujian Oolong, Guangdong Oolong, and Taiwan Oolong; nonetheless, each has different quality features according to the places of production. The common features of traditional Oolong teas are sand green and black bloom dry leaves, high and obvious natural flowery aroma, golden yellow infusion, a full-bodied taste, and green infused leaves with red edges (so-called green leaves embroidered with red edges or jade plates with red edges). The red edge of green leaves occurs as the result of partial oxidation of polyphenols when the leaf edges crash and break during the rotating and air cooling steps.

14. What is the Production Area of "Wuyi Rock Tea".

Wuyi Rock Tea is a type of Oolong tea made of young shoots from local varieties planted within the specified areas of Wuyi Mountain in unique natural conditions and is processed with traditional techniques. Wuyi Rock Tea carries a distinctively thick floral aroma (called as Yanyun).

Wuyi Rock Tea is produced in Wuyishan City, Fujian Province. There are plenty of rocks on the mountain. The lush vegetation provides abundant organic matter, and the weathering of rocks provides abundant mineral elements to tea plants. Most tea plants of this area grow on the slope sediments of rock mountains, and thus, the tea is called "Rock Tea"? The quality features of Wuyi Rock Tea are a strong and even cord, a sand green color with little white spots like that of frog skins a lasting and intense aroma with a flowery fragrance, an orange infusion full-bodied taste, and a refreshing aftertaste, which is a unique flavor of Rock Tea. Moreover, it is characterized by thick and soft leaves, and the edges of which are red, and the middle areas are light greets thus presenting "green bellies with red edges".

15. Where are "Three Pits and Two Ravines"?

Wuyi Mountain is teemed with "Rock Tea". The mountain geography results in diverse micro-climatic and ecological conditions, where many tea plantations are located. Consumers prefer Wuyi rock teas produced in places called Three Pits and Two Ravines, which refer to Huiyuan Pit, Niulan Pit, Dakengkou Pit, Liuxiang Ravine, and Wuyuan Ravine. These places are the traditional authentic plantation areas, where the most famous Rock Tea is produced.

16. Is "Dahongpao" (Red Robe Tea) a Black Tea?

"Dahongpao" (Red Robe Tea) in Chinese has the character "red", in its name, but it is not a really black tea ("red tea" in Chinese). Dahongpao is one type of Wuyi Rock Tea, i.e., a type of Oolong tea amongst the Six Major Categories of Chinese Teas. Nowadays, the processing of Dahongpao still carries the traditional handcraft that includes five major procedures: withering, rotating, deactivating enzymes, rolling, and baking. These procedures can be further divided into 13 sub-procedures, i.e., withering, de-enzyming (rotating, flipping, resting), frying, rolling, second frying, second rolling, first baking, winnowing, cooling, picking, second baking (with adequate heat), wrapping-up, and additional heating. The whole process of rotating requires controlling the extent of leaf crashing and breaking. The traditional standard of making Rock Tea requires that at the end of rotating step, 70% (area) of leaf in the middle remains green while another 30% leaf in the edges turns into red as the result of oxidation of polyphenols. Either too severe or too light oxidation will affect the quality of Dahongpao. Dahongpao has a twisted, strong and tight cord, with a color of bloom greenish brown, and an intense and lasting aroma, bringing a deep and remote feeling to drinkers. It has a full-bodied taste, a fresh and smooth aftertaste, an obvious flavor of Rock Tea, and also leaves a lasting aroma on the bottom of cups. Its infusion is dark orange and clear. The steeped leaves are soft and bright, even and orderly with distinct red edges.

17. What are the Processing Techniques and Quality Features of White Tea?

As one of the six major categories of tea of China, White tea is a kind of slightly fermented tea. The traditional processing of white tea has two steps, withering and drying. White teas can be further divided into "white tip silver needle", "white peony", "Gongmei" and "Shoumei" according to the tenderness of young shoots. Due to the unique manufacturing technique that lacks frying or rolling in processing, the "white tip silver needle" tea has a fairly tippy look, a fresh aroma, yellowish green and clear infusion, a full-bodied taste, and a sweet aftertaste. It is mainly produced in Fuding, Zhenghe, Jianyang, and Songxi in Fujian Province. White tea is characterized by curing efficacies including cooling and refreshing, bringing down a fever, decreasing internal heat and driving away summer heat and also a quiet , simple but elegant character.

18. What are the Processing Techniques and Quality Featured of Yellow Tea?

Yellow tea is made through the heaping and smothering procedure, the so-called yellowing step, by covering pile of warm and wet de-activated young shoots to facilitate the change of leaf color from green to yellow. The unique quality feature of this tea is "fellow infusion with yellow leaves", and it is a slightly fermented tea.

19. What are the Processing Techniques and Quality Features of Dark Tea?

Post-fermentation of made teas at piling is a unique and key procedure in the processing of dark tea that contributes to the formation of its color, aroma, and taste. The fresh leaves for dark tea are relatively coarse and aged. After piling and fermenting for a rather long time during the processing, the color of tea leaves turns into bloom dark and auburnish black; thus, it is called "dark tea" Quality dark tea features an aged and pure aroma,a mellow and smooth taste,a bright color of the brew, ideally in orange, orange-red or red and a bright brownish-black color of steeped tea leaves.

20. What is Pu'er Tea?

Pu'er Tea is a special tea made, only in Yunnan Province. It is made from the sun-dried green teas from local large-leaf varieties, with special processing technology within the protection scope of geographical indications. It has unique quality characteristics. According to its processing technology and quality characteristics, Pu'er tea can be divided into two types: raw tea and mature tea. According to its appearance,Pu'er Tea can be divided into loose Pu'er tea (post-fermcntcd) and compressed Pu'er tea (post- fermented or unfermented).

21. What is the Post-fermentation of Pu'er Tea Processing.

Pu'er tea is made of sun-dried green tea of local large-leaf varieties in Yunnan Province after a specific process called post-fermentation. In the post-fermentation, the sun-dried green tea is piled up with the addition of some water and fermented naturally for some time under the heat and humid conditions. With the aid of local special microorganisms and the excreted enzymes, the quality ingredients within green tea go through a series of oxidation and transformation to produce the unique features of ripe Pu'er tea.

22. What are the "Golden Flowers" in Fu Brick Tea?

The processing of Fu brick tea features a unique solid fermentation aided by the fungi Eurotium cristatum. E. cristaturn is inoculated artificially to the green tea and multiplied under the favorable temperature and humidity, thus forming a yellow cleistothecium, i.e., the "golden flower". The fungal fermentation plays a significant role in forming the unique taste of the Fu brick tea and its health benefits.

23. Is the Tea Rich in Pubecence Good or Not?

the key factor that determines the quantity of tea pubescence, Le., trichomes, is the variety of tea plants. Some varieties have characteristically many pubescence, yet some barely have any pubescence. The degree of tenderness also affects the quantity of tea pubescence. Generally, tender young shoots have more pubescence than mature shoots. Therefore, for the same variety of tea, the one with more pubescence generally serves as better raw material. The processing techniques also affect the quantity of tea pubescence. For example, one purpose of pan frying of Longjing tea is to get rid of its pubescence. The frequent stir-frying and churning for more times also make teas have fewer pubescence. The tea pubescence contains substances including amino acids, which are, to a certain degree, conducive to the qualities and nutrient content of made teas. Therefore, the quantity of tea pubescence is mainly decided by the variety of tea, and is also affected by tenderness and processing techniques. So tea cannot be judged good or bad only based on its quantity of pubescence. Because some good teas have no pubescence, while most teas, with more tea pubescence can be of good quality as well.

24. Are there Microbes in Dried Tea?

Microbes exist everywhere in daily life. Accordingly, microbes exist in tea and they play an important role in the tea production process. For example, post-fermentation, in which microbes are involved, is an important part of dark tea processing. Studies show that a variety of microbes, including Aspergillums, black mold, and yeast are isolated and identified in the dark tea. The activities of microbes promote the formation of the unique qualities of dark tea.

25. What is Matcha?

Matcha refers to the powder-like tea product which uses fresh tea leaves cultivated under cover. after de-activation by steam (or hot wind ), the tea leaves are dried and then processed through the grinding technique.

26. What are the Quality Features of Marcha?

Matcha is not only characterized by a fresh and green infusion and a unique flavor of sea sedge, but also features high contents of amino acids, chlorophylls, and other special elements of nutritional and healthcare values. It has low bitterness and a full-bodied taste. Matcha is widely used as an additive in the modem food industry.

27. How is Instant Tea Powder Processed?

Instant tea powder is a solid tea beverage that can quickly dissolve in the water. It uses finished tea, semi-finished tea, by- products of tea or fresh tea leaves and other herbaceous plants and grains as raw materials. Through production techniques including extraction, filtration, purification, concentration and drying, it is then processed into a new drink which is crystal-like, powder-like or tablet-like, and dissolvable, leaving no tea grounds. The instant tea powder product can be categorized into two types, instant pure tea and instant seasoning tea. It has many features, including being easy to brew and portable, dissolvable, leaving no tea grounds, little pesticide residues, easy to season, and easy to blend with other food. Thus, it is increasingly more promoted in the tea market.