Tea FAQ (Part IV)

Q: How is green tea produced?

A: After the tea leaves are picked they go
  1. Steaming
  2. Rolling
  3. Rolling & Drying
  4. Sorting

Q: Why Darjeeling tea more flavoury?

A: The unique feature of Darjeeling tea is its muscatel flavour. Tea scientists opined that geraniol, linalool, terpenoids and some fatty acid degradation products contribute to characteristics Darjeeling flavour. Research works carried out at Tocklai has revealed that the contents of volatile flavoury constituents (VFC) are three times more in Darjeeling tea compared to other plain’s tea. The content of monoterpene alcohol is about five times higher in Darjeeling tea compared to tea of North Eastern plains. It was also reported that cold, dry, windy nights, humid day with relatively low temperature prevailing in Darjeeling hills are favourable for formation of VFC. Not the climatic conditions alone, the genetic make up of Chinary tea also helps in in higher VFC synthesis. However, it can be stated that interaction between climate, soil and genotype produces the famous tea in the world.

Q: WAdding milk does not make tea less healthy?

A: Tea flavonoids bind easily to proteins, and there have been suggestions that adding milk to tea will promote binding of the tea flavonoids to proteins present in the milk and inhibit their uptake into the body. A number of studies directly measuring the concentrations of flavonoids in blood after consumption of tea with or without milk, suggest that this is not the case – certainly not for the simple flavonoids such as catechins and quercetin. It is not yet technically possible to measure the levels of thearubigins in blood, so it is not certain what the effect of milk may be on the uptake of this major black tea flavonoid fraction. One study looked at the plasma antioxidant capacity after ingestion of black tea with or without milk and again no difference could be observed. This suggests that milk protein binding is not affecting absorption of any of the black tea flavonoid fractions.

Q: Does tea contain more caffeine than coffee?

A: While tea and coffee are both sources of caffeine, the amount of caffeine in any single serving of these beverages varies significantly. An average serving of coffee contains the most caffeine, yet the same serving size of tea provides only 1/2 to 1/3 as much. One of the most confusing aspects of caffeine content is the fact that coffee contains less caffeine than tea when measured in its dry form. The caffeine content of a prepared cup of coffee is significantly higher than the caffeine content of a prepared cup of tea.

Q: What does leaf grade tell about a tea?

A: Tea has many secrets but none you can discover with a few helpful tips. In traditional tea production there are 4 main groups of leaf grades.
Leaf - the tea leaves remain unbroken
Broken - the leaves are broken in coarse pieces. Somewhat stronger at the same weight than leaf tea.
Fannings - thick broken but still with small leaf substance (used in high quality tea bags)
Dust - the smallest siftings (tea bag quality)
One quality characteristic distinctive of the northern Indian tea gardens is the times of the particular harvests. These are:
First Flush - first harvest after winter from March until April. Light coloured infusion, tangy, fresh flowery taste
In betweens - picking time between first and second flush -- middle of April to middle of May reaches neither the quality of either of those two Second Flush - summer picking from the end of May till the beginning of July. Golden coloured infusion , strong as the first flush. These teas have a stronger aroma and clearly more flavour nuances.
Autumnals - Fall picking harvested after the summer monsoons from October till middle of December. Autumnals taste light and refined having less tannin acidity but also less aroma as first and second flush yields.