Tell Me All About Tea

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🌿 In our "Tell me about tea" series, we'll share tea knowledge, cultural tidbits, and interesting stories from time to time.
       Join Fonming Tea in savoring tea and learning together. 🌿


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#1  Spring Tea: The Essence of the Season
#2  Do tea leaves need to ferment like bread?


#1 Spring Tea: The Essence of the Season

In Taiwan, spring tea is categorized based on the harvesting season. As the name suggests, spring tea is harvested during the spring season, specifically between the Pure Brightness (Qingming) and Grain Rain (Guyu) periods in the Twenty-Four Solar Terms* in the traditional Chinese calendar.

After the winter rest, tea plants are well-hydrated, producing new, tender, and lush green leaves. It's widely believed that spring tea has a richer aroma and a sweeter, more pronounced flavor compared to winter tea.

Most spring teas, such as high mountain tea and oolong tea, are known for their fresh and fragrant profiles. Embracing the "drink in season, unique and unparalleled" concept, tea connoisseurs eagerly seek out spring tea to savor its distinctive taste.

*About the Twenty-Four Solar Terms: The Twenty-Four Solar Terms is a traditional East Asian lunisolar calendar that divides the year into 24 periods. "Pure Brightness" (Qingming) marks a time of increasing sunshine and temperatures, while "Grain Rain" (Guyu) signifies the period when rainfall is beneficial for the growth of grain crops.

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#2 Do tea leaves need to ferment like bread?

Fermentation is the initial step in the tea processing procedure. During the tea fermentation process, the interaction of catechins, polyphenol oxidase, and oxygen creates the tea's unique liquor color, aroma, and taste.

The tea liquor color can be a clear indicator to differentiate between unfermented, partially fermented, and fully fermented teas. Based on the fermentation level, ranging from 0% (unfermented) to 100% (fully fermented), teas can be generally categorized as follows: green tea > Qing/Oolong tea > black tea.

As the fermentation time of tea increases, the amount of catechins, which have antioxidant properties, decreases. This means that the more fermented the tea, the lower its antioxidant activity. Unfermented green tea has the highest catechin content. Teas that are more heavily fermented tend to have a sweeter taste and a more noticeable fruity aroma.

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