Tealet's Michael Petersen took this photo of tea sun drying

Drying in Tea Processing

In all of our talk of tea processing thus far, we’ve been dealing with tea leaves that contain some water. In order for processed tea leaves to be shelf-stable, they must be dried. There are two reasons for drying tea though, to dry the leaf, making it shelf stable, and to enhance the flavor. At times, these can be two distinct steps in processing and at other times, it can be seen as more of a continuum, and sometimes teas are only dried for shelf-stability. For our discussion here, I’ll explain each separately. Most common drying methods: Commercial dryers: where
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tea science

Chemical Compounds in Tea

Tea chemistry is complex. Just how complex? Well, on the bush, tea leaves contain thousands of chemical compounds, when they are processed, these compounds break down, form complexes and form new compounds. When we steep tea leaves, our senses are tingled by the thousands of volatile compounds (collectively known as the “aroma complex”) from the tea liquor and the thousands of non-volatile compounds and the complexes between them, not all of which are water soluble, and the ones that are water soluble are soluble at a function of the properties of the water used for steeping like temperature, total dissolved
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Tea-Processing-Chart-rev04282015

Tea Processing Chart

Tea processing is the most important quantifier when determining or producing a tea type. Green tea, yellow tea, white tea, oolong tea, black tea and post-fermented teas all begin as fresh camellia sinensis leaves and go through different processing steps. While there are an infinite number of variations that result in an infinite number of tea styles, the same underlying processing methodologies largely define the tea’s type. There are many tea processing charts that attempt to accurately depict the tea process, but many of them add unnecessary levels of complexity, or skip steps. The goal here was to depict very
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How to Store Tea

The Six Immutable Laws of Tea Storage

Storing tea can be very simple. If you keep your tea in an airtight container and then store your container in a dark, cool, dry place free from strong odors, you will likely consume it before you begin to notice any degradation in aroma or taste. Looking a bit deeper into tea storage opens up a bit more complexity and in this article, I break it down for you. When we talk about a tea deteriorating, what do we mean? Mostly oxidation. For teas that are prevented from oxidizing during production (see tea processing chart here), or that are not
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Engineer's Guide to Tea

The Engineer’s Guide to Tea Preparation

The bulk of tea produced in the world is commodity tea, meaning that it is actively traded and it’s price is determined by the markets. Commodity tea is relatively cheap, with the worldwide average price of commodity black tea typically in the area of $2.85USD/kilogram. Many of the world’s famous tea cultures1 are famous because they are promulgated by common man and are thus largely based on cheap commodity tea. There is however, a larger amount of high quality tea being produced every year, what some are calling the specialty tea industry. One way to think about the difference between commodity
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green_elephant_puerh_3

Fermented Tea Classification

Fermented Teas China Hunan Heicha 湖南 黑茶 (Anhua) Fu Zhuan 茯砖  “fu brick” Qian Liang Cha 千两茶 “thousand tael tea” (sometimes called Hua Juan) Bai Liang Cha 百两茶 “hundred tael tea” Shi Liang Cha 十两茶 “ten tael tea” Hua Zhuan 花砖 “flower brick” Hei Zhuan 黑砖茶 “dark brick” Xiang Jian 湘尖 “hunan tips” Tian Jian 天尖 “sky tips” Gong Jian 贡尖 “tribute tips” Sheng Jian 生尖 “raw tips” Qu Jiangbo Pian 渠江薄片 (coin shaped) Sichuan Heicha 四川 黑茶 Nan Lu Bian Cha 南路边茶 “south border tea” Xi Lu Bian Cha 西路边茶 “west border tea” Kang Zhuan 康砖 “kang brick” literally “peaceful brick”
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tea-processing

Übersicht Teeverarbeitung

A German translation of my original tea processing chart. The original processing chart can be found here. German translation courtesy of Thomas Kasper of SiamTeas. Thomas Kasper is known for sourcing pure teas from Thailand. Download a high resolution versions of the chart: [PDF] [JPEG]
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tea-processing

Gráfico de los procesos del té

Gracias a Fernando Enrique Padín Sáez de España por proporcionarme esta traducción al español del gráfico de los procesos del té. Original here. Descargar gráfico de los procesos del té: [PDF] [JPEG] Gráfico de los procesos del té by Tony Gebely is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at worldoftea.org.
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Romanization of Tea Terms

Romanization of Tea Terms

Surprisingly little is understood within the tea industry when it comes to the romanization of tea terms. This to me is troubling because confused tea vendors result in confused tea consumers. Because the Chinese have contributed the bulk of tea knowledge to the world, much of the romanization issues surround Modern Standard Chinese, though I’ll touch on Korean and Japanese as well. Romanization refers to the transliteration of any writing system to the Roman alphabet. It is important to understand the difference between transliteration and translation. Transliteration tells us how to say the other language’s word in our own language. Translation gives
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Hwang Cha (Balhyocha)

South Korean Balhyocha & Hwangcha

I recently went down the rabbit hole as they say researching a single topic for my upcoming book on tea. This time the rabbit hole was related to South Korean tea: balhyocha and hwangcha to be exact. Some tea merchants selling the same product will call it hwangcha and some will call it balhyocha. There seems to be no single definition of either of these tea terms and even more disconcerting, neither fits cleanly into standard tea classifications. What follows are excerpts from Matt of the wonderful Mattcha tea blog and discussions I’ve had with two South Korean tea experts followed by my own take
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