Thursday, March 12, 2009

認識東方的綠色黃金-茶(一) / Getting to know the Green Gold of Orient -Tea (I)

Since the day Shennong discovered tea leaves five thousand years ago, mellow and fragrant tea has been integrated deeply into the daily lives of the Chinese people. The Chinese socialize with friends over tea, display love and affection with tea, elevate spiritual state of mind with tea, and cultivate sophisticated personality with tea. Aside from being called the national drink of China, tea also has been named “Green Gold”.


You will find a wide variety of tea in the market, like green tea, oolong tea, iron guanyin, etc., you might be wondering, what is the difference among them?

在市面上,你會看到有各式各樣、琳瑯滿目的茶葉,像綠茶、烏龍茶、鐵觀音等等,或許你會很好奇,究竟它們有何不同 ?

Understanding the classifications of tea is the first step to knowing tea. There are many types or names of tea, but not because of the types of tea tree. It is not because there is a green tea tree, a black tea tree or a Pu erh tea tree that produce green tea, black tea or Pu erh tea.


The primary reason why different teas are produced is due to the difference in the manufacturing process. The most important key lies in the degree of fermentation.


The fresh tender leaves that are picked from the tea trees are called “tea green”, with a common name as “tea veggie”. After loss of some moisture in the air, it is called “wilting”. Once the remaining ingredients after loss of moisture in the tea cell oxidize with the air, this oxidation is called “fermentation”. Tea leaves must undergo good fermentation, in order to become good mellow and fragrant tea.


Due to the difference in the degree of fermentation, tea with all kinds of flavor and characteristics are produced. By fermentation, tea color will gradually turn from aquamarine to red. The color intensifies as fermentation increases. Tea fragrance also changes according to the degree of fermentation. Lightly fermented tea assumes the elegant flower fragrance; deeply fermented tea will change to mature fruit, sugar-roasted chestnut, or honey fragrance.

由於發酵程度的不同,就會製造出各種風味與特色的茶。經由發酵,茶湯的顏色會從原本的碧綠色逐漸變成紅色,發酵愈多 ,顏色就愈紅。茶葉的香氣也隨者發酵程度多寡而有變化,發酵較輕的呈飄逸的花香,較深的就會變成熟果香、糖炒栗香或蜜糖香。

When you begin to know tea, you have entered into the tea world. The fragrant and mellow tea is the favorite drink of Chinese. Rich and colorful tea culture has evolved, and tea has become the Green Gold that raged all over the world.


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