If you were asked the question of what was the most popular type of beverage that was consumed worldwide, you would naturally answer with ‘water’. Certainly enough, water is the most common type of drink – it is necessary to drink substantial quantities of water (and not other drinks containing water, but just plain water!) every day in order to remain healthy, after all. But what drink places just after water at number two? You might have to think a little more, but most people will also easily answer the question, this time with the word ‘tea’.
Together with coffee, tea is the most common beverage after water for many people, on a worldwide scale. The health benefits that tea provides – as well as its low calorie content (almost none if you add no sugar at all!) – make it an extremely popular drink, and by extent, the tea industry is naturally a fast growing franchise in Australia not just in the field of food and drinks, but business as a whole.
You might have heard of many types of teas – Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Ceylon, etc. It should be noted however, that these are not exactly ‘types’ of tea, but rather, various blends; that is, teas to which other types of teas, artificial aromas and flavourings, spices and other herbs have been added. As for types of tea in itself, there are four main types as follows:
• Black tea – the most common type of tea, black tea takes a dark colour close to black (can also be brownish, golden or a reddish hue), hence the name. The tea leaves are usually similarly dark. The oxidation of the tea leaves during the manufacturing process is the reason behind their dark hue. Black tea is the only type of tea that is in the growing milk tea business, as it is strong enough to not lose its flavour in milk. Famous blends that belong to this type are the English Earl Grey, the Indian Darjeeling and Assam blends, and the Ceylon tea blends.
• Green tea – assuming a much milder golden colour, green tea is brewed from greenish tea leaves which have not undergone any oxidation during their processing. China and Japan are the most famous countries for their renowned green tea blends.
• White tea – when the tea leaves are simply dried without any processing, white tea is the result. The tea leaves take a whitish hue, as does the tea. With a very mild flavour, China is the most famous country for white tea blends.
• Oolong tea – a partial oxidation of tea leaves during their processing results in Oolong tea. Both the tea leaves and the hue of Oolong tea take an intermediate colour between green tea and black tea. The best blends of Oolong tea can be found in Taiwan.