Tea from around the World
In 1598, the Dutchman Jan Huygen van Linschoten described tea leaves being eaten like a salad and used for making tea. However, East Asia never had a tea culture like India: until the middle of the 19th century, tea was enjoyed exclusively by the Maharajahs, the upper classes and colonial civil servants. There is more information on Indian tea culture on our website.
Ceylon teas tend to vary quite a bit in character. A central mountain range divides the island, creating a climate zone. This means that whilst there may be a monsoon on one side of the mountain, the sun may very well be shining on the other side. One differentiates between low-grown (0-550 m.a.s.l.), medium-grown (550-1050 m.a.s.l.) and high-grown teas (1050-2250 m.a.s.l.).
The first tea seeds were imported from China by Buddhist monks from the Zhi Zhe Ta Tempel located in the valley of Tian Tai Shan in Zhejiang Province (China). Most tea gardens on the islands of Kyushu, Shikoku and Honshu are family-run. The harvest season for the most delicate senchas starts at the beginning of April.
The island of Taiwan (formerly named Formosa by the Portuguese, which means ‘Beautiful’) lies 200 km before the southern Chinese town of Xiamen (Amoy) and measures about 36,000 km2. The unbelieveably rich flavour, variety and wonderfully sweet floral scent make Taiwanese teas unforgettable. Formosa has a unique tea culture, which delights tea lovers all over the world.
In Korea, buddhism and tea are inseparable - they are the heartbeat of the country. This development can surely be credited to the scholars and monks who returned from China, and who lived and taught in the temples. One hardly comes across tea from Korea in Europe. There will be more information about Korean tea culture on our website in the near future.
highland tea is characterised by its extremely fine taste. Today clonals are mostly cultivated from China hybrids. In addition, experienced professionals from Darjeeling have been hired as senior quality managers. As a result, Nepal has been producing very fine teas that are on equal footing with that of their more famous neighbours in Darjeeling. Most teas are produced according to orthodox methods and the most up-to-date ecological standards.
To provide the same taste and consistent quality demanded by tea lovers, larger tea-trading companies have well-staffed and scrupulously maintained tea-tasting departments, where well-paid specialists create standard blends with teas from different growing regions. Thus consumers are guaranteed the same taste, which would otherwise not be possible due to seasonal and climatic variations in some of the growing regions.
The process of flavouring teas with essential oils was invented during the era of promoterism (Gr�nderzeit). The most well-known of these teas is Earl Grey, which is aromatised with the oil from the skin of bergamot oranges. In this case, the respective oil (orange, lemon etc.) is sprayed and distributed evenly onto the dried leaves.