What is specialty tea?
Specialty tea is the highest graded tea that usually comes from single tea estates and tea gardens. They are high-quality tea which is rare but in fair trade.
According to the tea association of USA, specialty tea is a major segment in the tea market other than ready-to-drink tea. It is much like wine, as the flavor is depended on the region where the tea is grown. Most of the specialty tea is comes in the form of loose leaf tea. They are special because loose leaf tea has exceptional qualities other than powdered tea grades.
According to the Specialty Tea Association in Europe, Specialty tea depends on the quality criteria such as the dry leaf, the aroma of the dry leaf, the color, and clarity of the liquor, the flavor and the feeling of the liquor to the mouth and the appearance and aroma of the wet leaf.
How to identify Specialty tea?
You can identify a specialty tea with the following characteristics.
- Loose-leaf tea: Loose leaf tea is a leaf form (whole leaf or nearly whole) of tea leaves. It’s not like typical dust that contains in tea bags. You have to brew it using an infuser or any other relevant accessory.
- Single-estate teas – Specialty teas are unique to a specific tea estate or a tea garden. The taste is unique according to the region that they are grown in. Single estates teas are expensive and exclusive. They are not processed often. You can find the single estates teas in local shops and through online selling.
- Fair trade & organic teas – Teas can be categorized as fair trade or organic based on how they are grown. Fairtrade teas are growing and maintaining the tea garden according to certain standards. Organic teas are growing without chemical fertilizers and use only natural and organic additives.
- Rare teas – Most of the specialty teas are very rare to find as they are grown in a single estate.
- Uncommon tea flavors –Specialty tea flavors are having uncommon flavors because they are growing in specific regions under various favorable climatic characteristics.
Types of specialty tea
Specialty teas are made from the flush of the tea bush. Usually, two leaves and buds undergo processing. All the specialty teas come from loose tea forms. There is a wide variety of specialty teas as follows.
Black tea is the fully oxidized form of tea leaves. It has a deep astringency taste with copper color brew. Black tea is the most famous tea among Asian people and most western countries drink flavored types such as Earl Grey tea, English breakfast, and Chai.
This is the most addictive tea type among people in western countries. It has a light taste with a sweet greenish-yellow color brew. Green tea doesn’t undergo oxidation and they are not oxidized. Leaves are roasted, rolled, and fried to prevent oxidation. It’s a tea with a refreshing aroma and flavor
White tea is a lightly oxidized tea that is made from only the tender buds in a bush. These buds should pick before it is fully open. Usually, there are well-trained pickers in the estates. Especially, the ladies are encountered with this picking part as they can carefully pick the buds without damaging them. So it is called virgin tea. It’s a very rare tea with a sweet, mild flavor and it doesn’t strong as green tea or black tea.
Oolong teas are partially oxidized between 12 to 80 percent. Therefore is highly priced as it depends on complex processing and the skill of the tea maker. Oolongs provide you with a complex flavor in every sip you soothe in.
Puerh tea is originated in China. It’s an aromatic black tea. Usually, tea leaves have to undergo the double fermentation process. Finally, they are transferred into the form of bricks or cakes. These forms are easy to transform and to do the exchanges. They are making tea cakes until today as the most exotic tea in China.
Yellow tea is a very rare tea that is only made in China. Leaves are don’t pass the oxidation process. Tea leaves are heaped and wrapped in a damp cloth for a period after fixing. Eventually, the heat and humidity of the heap give yellow color to leaves.
How to drink?
You can’t use the loose tea leaves as the tea bags. It takes some time to brew. You need an infuser or suitable apparatuses to get the brew. Follow the following steps to make a cup of tea of your favorite specialty tea.
- Boil the water – heat of the water depends on the types of the tea. Black tea is prepared from boiling water while green tea and white tea brewed from relatively cooler water. (You’ll need 8oz water per serving)
- Put the loose leaf to the infuser or to the pot and close it from a lid.
- Keep it still for 2 to 3 minutes to infuse.
- Pour the tea to the cup / Stream the infusion to get the brew.
Reasons to drink specialty tea
Most people drink teas that usually come from a teabag as they are not expensive and easy to prepare. Generally, tea bags are for every tea drinker and, they have not targeted any special tea lovers who have a great enthusiasm to taste a high-quality tea. Therefore specialty teas like white tea are not for everyone. On the other hand, people who often focus on their health use specialty tea like green loose leaf tea than powered one, because of the quality. Nowadays, specialty teas are continuously getting popular among tea drinkers.
Benefits of drinking specialty tea
There are lots of benefits in drinking specialty tea such as follows,
- Black tea – Black tea contains antioxidants and improves your immunity system, reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood, and prevents cancers.
- Green tea- Green tea relaxes your mind and reduces stress. On the other side, it helps to prevent aging, cancer prevention, reduce inflammation, soothe arthritis, and help your body to indigestion
- White tea – White is rich in antioxidants, reduce the risk of heart diseases, help to lose weight, protect the teeth from bacteria, has compound to fight against cancer, lower the risk of Insulin resistance.
- Yellow tea- Protect against cancer, improves cardiovascular health, improve digestive health, aids in regulating blood sugar, and promotes weight loss.
- Oolong tea – reduce body weight, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, supports the immune system, lowers the risk of strokes, reduces the risk of heart diseases, helps eczema, improves sleep, strength teeth and bones density, boost energy.