A good cup of tea soothes not only the mind but also has several health benefits. World Tea Day, observed on May 21 since 2020, harnesses benefits for all from field to cup. The first International Tea Day celebrations brought together the countries from all over the globe for whom tea cultivation, production, and export are a major source of income. This day is observed to promote implementation activities that will uplift the sustainable production and consumption of tea while focusing on the importance of hunger and poverty.
Why Drink Tea?
Made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, tea is one of the world’s most consumed beverages. The location where the plant was originally grown is not known yet but northeast India, southwest China, and north Myanmar are believed to be the places where tea originated centuries ago. Evidence and several reports say that tea used to be consumed in China 5,000 years ago.
The tea industry is the major source of revenue and income for many countries over the globe, especially in the least developed countries that are simultaneously labour-intensive. Being one of the most important cash crops, tea production can help uplift food security, reduce poverty, and play a role in overall rural development.
Tea and Climate Change
As a plant, Camellia Sinensis is highly sensitive, in the sense that it is sensitive to drastic changes in its growing stages. Tea can be successfully grown in highly defined agro-ecological conditions. Very limited countries around the globe favour the suitable conditions that are pertinent for tea production.
Scanty rainfall, changes in temperature, floods, droughts, and other climate changes affect the smooth production of tea, creating changes in quality, and lowering income and livelihood among the poor sections of the society. Therefore, with the observance of International Tea Day, climate change challenges will be met and national tea development strategies will be markedly discussed and sorted.
Types of Tea
As a plant, Camellia Sinensis is responsible for the different types of tea people drink. In the wild, this shrub can grow up to a height of 60 feet but when cultivated, it is constantly pruned and shaped which keeps the shrubs below 3 feet. Typically, there are over 3000 types of tea all over the world. The naming of these varieties is similar to that of wine. Just as wine is named after the place it is prepared in, tea is named the same way. Assam tea is widely cultivated in Assam, while Yunnan tea is grown in China. Here are some of the main kinds of tea cultivated and consumed:
- Black Tea
This type of tea is fully dried, withered, and oxidised. When you brew black tea, it gives you an amber-coloured and hearty brew with strong flavours. Darjeeling tea, English tea, and Irish breakfast tea are some of the black tea ranges. Their flavours are strong, bold, and sensational.
- Oolong Tea
Partly oxidised, oolong tea is mainly cultivated in parts of Taiwan and China. Depending on how the tea was made or where it was grown, this tea has varied flavours. However, the base flavour of oolong tea is similar to what you taste after a sip of fresh green tea – subtle yet flavourful.
- Green Tea
Green tea retains tea’s natural colour and fresh flavour. This type of tea is barred from oxidation so that the flavour of the tea remains fresh and mild. In Japan, green tea is made by steaming the leaves while other counties dry it with several methods like pan-frying. As compared to bold flavours like black tea, green tea usually gives a pale green or a golden yellow brew and its flavour is more earthy and grassy.
- White Tea
White tea is originally processed in China. It is slightly withered and dried, causing little oxidation. To many, white tea has a flavour similar to green tea but white tea is much more creamy, smooth, and subtly sweet.
- Yellow Tea
This type of tea is the rarest in the market. Yellow tea production is similar to that of green tea but the process is done very slowly to allow the leaves to take yellow colour. Some experts say that in terms of colour and flavour, yellow tea is somewhere in between white and green tea.
Making Pu-erh tea is not as conventional as the others. It comes directly from China and is known for its distinct earthy flavours. Pu-erh tea is fermented for days and then stored underground for several years. They are compressed into round cakes and stored for sale. Pu-erh tea is also one of the most expensive teas available in the market.
Tea production and consumption help millions of people to feed their families and uplift the economy. Moreover, tea has several benefits like antioxidant properties, helping with weight loss, boosting the immune system, and helping soothe the digestive system. Tea also has much less caffeine as compared to coffee so it is much more beneficial. This International Tea Day, let’s take a sip to celebrate this wonder beverage.