As a tea professional from Sri Lanka, the home of tea, I will be happy to answer any questions or mysteries you may have about tea.
Black tea is not a specialty of England or France. Black tea is not a British or French specialty. It is an industry that was developed by the British during the British Empire, when they colonized India, Sri Lanka and other countries and cleared the forests.
Five countries, including Sri Lanka (Ceylon), India, Kenya, China, and Indonesia, produce more than 95% of the world’s black tea.
They are the same. The island of Ceylon was the name of Sri Lanka when it was a British colony, and it was renamed Sri Lanka after it gained full independence from Britain.
Sri Lanka (Ceylon Island) is a small island country that receives abundant sunshine and is surrounded by tropical seas. The main reason for this is that it has high altitude mountains, good soil, and temperature differences that are suitable for tea cultivation. Ceylon black tea is the most recent tea to be developed by the British, and when it made its debut in the UK 150 years ago, it was highly regarded and the most expensive compared to other tea-producing countries at the time.
Ceylon is also the country’s largest agricultural industry and is a major source of foreign currency earnings for local products. To keep up with the price competition and to protect the forests, they do not increase the amount of farmland, but focus on quality rather than quantity, which is why Ceylon tea is so delicious! This may be the reason for its popularity.
The first flush is the first plucking of spring in Japanese tea. The only tea-producing countries that use this expression are those that grow and produce tea at high altitudes, not in the tropics, but in relatively northern areas where there are seasons rather than constant summer. The black tea of Darjeeling, located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, is first picked, second picked, summer picked, and autumn picked.
Ceylon black tea, which is made by the orthodox manufacturing method unique to England, has a rich aroma because the water is completely blown out by hot air in the final process after fermentation. On the other hand, Chinese and Taiwanese black tea is made in a different way, with a little water left in the tea leaves.
Green tea and black tea come from the same tree. There are only two original trees in this world, one in Assam, India and the other in Fijian, China. They were transported by the Silk Road to various regions by Arab merchants and the British Empire during the Age of Discovery and are distributed over a wide area from Africa to Japan. The unfermented tea is classified as green tea, the semi-fermented as oolong tea and the fully issued as black tea. The quality of the soil in which the tea is grown, its weather, the difference in temperature, the amount of rainfall, the love of the farmer, and the differences in manufacturing methods all contribute to the variety of tea.
CTC stands for Cut, Trim, Curl and is a new mechanized manufacturing method that represents the modern era. It is described as a black tea with no soul, which contains only one kind of tea and only one flavor, up to four leaves in one bud, unlike orthodox manufacturing methods such as Orange PEKOE, PEKOE, BOP, FBOP, FBOPF, etc., which have a soul due to the shape of the leaves, the leaves they contain, and the fermentation time.
Blended black tea is made by mixing tea leaves from multiple farms and regions. Blended black tea is a mixture of good and not so good tea leaves, mainly to reduce the cost of tea. Tea is a man-made crop, a living thing that is created by nature with the love of the farmer, good soil and other environmental conditions. If you mix it poorly, the life will be sucked out of it and it will not taste good. The price of good black tea is high even in the field of production, and it is one of the main reasons why it is no longer available in single origin because it is not profitable.
What you are buying is not black tea, but a famous European brand that does not have a single tea tree. Both the British and the French say that there is no good tea in England or France. Unlike in the past, many inexpensive blended tea leaves are used, and the good single-origin tea leaves that I miss are expensive and rarely sold on the market in the producing countries. A good black tea depends on the brand of the producing country.
The reason why black tea does not taste good in Japan is because the water in Japan is soft, unlike water in other countries, and black tea is made up of flavor, astringency, and bitterness, and with soft water, the bitterness that is not extracted in other countries is extracted very quickly.
Many of the tea brands sold in Japan are from countries that do not have any tea trees. The Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and others have put in place a system to strictly control and prevent unjustified substances from entering Japan, such as high levels of residual pesticides, radioactivity that exceeds standard values, and the landing of insects and other pests that may destroy the native environment.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and others have put in place a system to strictly control various matters such as the landing of pests such as insects, etc., which may cause unjustified goods to enter Japan. Since the Food Safety Law was tightened more than a decade ago and the control of imported foodstuffs was strengthened, it has become essential to present a food quarantine certificate to any developed country, and since flavoured tea is a processed food, importation has become more difficult. This is one of the main reasons why apple tea, peach tea, Marcopolo, etc., which were reputed to be tasty, disappeared from the market and were replaced by those with only fragrance.
The other reason is that there are more and more brands produced by tea farms and companies in tea-producing countries that know a lot about tea, and I think this is another reason why the once developed brands have lost their competitiveness and cannot continue to produce authentic flavoured teas that cost a lot of money. Flavoured teas that don’t taste good or make you feel sick are very likely to have chemical flavours, colours, and other additives, and are probably artificially flavoured teas to keep costs low. Authentic flavoured teas are still alive and well in local brands in tea-producing countries.
No, tea is not meant to be drunk hot. Tea should be steeped after it has been brewed and allowed to mature a bit to bring out its flavor and sweetness. The human body is very delicate and the tongue does not sense the taste when it is hot, but when it cools down a little, it can sense the taste when it is below 60 degrees Celsius.
The reason why black tea does not taste good in Japan is because the water in Japan is softer than that in other countries, and black tea is made of flavour, astringency, and bitterness.
The reason for the stomach-ache is that most of the black tea sold in Japan is not from the country where the tea is made, but from the European brands that you love. I think this is a major factor in the deterioration, stomach upsets and mood swings. Over-extraction of bitter tannin is another cause, which not only makes black tea bitter, but also interferes with iron absorption and causes anaemia. The astringent caffeine increases the heart rate, which in turn increases the circulation of blood, which in turn wakes up the body. The caffeine content of black tea is less than 1/15th that of coffee, so a little caffeine is important to improve blood circulation.
Please refer to our recommendations on how to make soft water. For example, in Sri Lanka, there are about 450 tea plantations in five major production areas, which is three times the size of Tokyo’s 23 wards. Soil, altitude, temperature difference, rainfall, and sunlight are all factors that affect the quality of tea. There are not many farms in Sri Lanka that can produce delicious black tea with good conditions in each region.
This is one of the reasons why people don’t like tea even if they pay a high price for it. Another reason is that, unlike 70 years ago, when Sri Lanka and India were colonies of the British, now they don’t own plantations, and three or four generations have changed. For the European brands that are popular in Japan, they are just trying to maintain their business that they have built up over the years. The expensive European brands! The more expensive the tea, the less delicious it is!