Over five million tonnes of tea are produced worldwide every year. Where the Germans are still beginners in tea drinking. According to the statistics of the German Tea Association, the Germans consumed only 19.2 tonnes in 2016, which corresponds to 28 liters per capita. Europe's most zealous tea drinkers, the British, on the other hand come to around 200. Only the East Frisians make more: 300 liters. They are thus about 120 liters in front of the Irish known as tea lovers. Although the leaves in Germany can not hold their breath for their rival, the tea drinker passes the cup: he takes his time for his favorite drink, brews the leaves as recommended, selects his dishes carefully - and enjoys them.
The history of tea
A good fifth of the tea leaves come from India, the second largest tea supplier in the world. China, where the beverage is first discovered and drunk for about 5, 000 years, comes first and also provides the largest variety of varieties. The fact that tea was grown in India at all was an idea of the English, originally no tea plants were grown in India. The British had come in China and Japan to the taste and did not want to miss the drink at home.
So they shipped the coveted leaves from East Asia to Europe from the middle of the 17th century. The damp, musty air in the hold and extreme climate change on the way affected the flavor of the tea, also could take the ride in bad wind up to a year, which made the charge very expensive.
When it became difficult to trade with China at the beginning of the 19th century, the British tried to grow tea plants in their former colony of India. The plant flourished splendidly on the slopes of the Himalayas, the Suez Canal and faster ships shortened the journey: tea became the English and Indian national drink.
Over time, hybrids gave breeders more robust plants that thrive today in less ideal regions of tea cultivation, such as Indonesia, Turkey and parts of Africa.
Green or black?
Whether tea is black or green does not depend on the variety, but on the type of processing:
- The fresh leaves are hung after picking to wither, causing them to lose moisture, but not completely dry.
- Then they come under a circular press, which breaks the cell walls of the leaves, so that cell sap emerges and comes into contact with air.
- The contact with the oxygen in the air then starts the fermentation. This deprives the leaves of bitter substances and makes them durable. At the same time they change their color and turn dark brown to black.
Green tea, on the other hand, is not fermented, but steamed and then dried. Even the only relatively short time available under different trade names white tea is not fermented. In order to preserve the stuff for this particularly mild drink, the tea gardeners use very young, still unopened leaf buds of certain varieties and dry each leaf individually in the air.
He is called "white" because the young leaves are covered by a delicate white fluff. He also remains quite light in the cup and does not resent long pulling. His devotees rave about his very exquisite aroma - who usually drinks a strong black Assam, but will probably be disappointed by the fine taste of white tea.