Varieties

At Kingfisher we carry five basic categories of tea, which all come from the Camellia sinensis plant: black, semi-oxidised, green, white, and yellow.

We also carry flavoured black, green and semi-oxidised teas. In addition to teas, we carry a variety of tisanes: fruit, herbal and rooibos.

Black/Red teas are allowed to wither, then rolled, then oxidation takes place during which water evaporates out of the leaf and the leaf absorbs more oxygen from the air. Black teas usually undergo full oxidation/fermentation. Then the leaves undergo firing and the results are the characteristic dark brown and black leaf. Black teas, when brewed properly produce a higher caffeine content than other teas (50% - 60% of coffee) depending on the type and brewing technique.

Oolong teas are partially withered and partially oxidised. That is why it is called a semi-green or semi-fermented tea. China and Taiwan are the main producers of this type of tea.

Leaves for oolong must be picked at exactly the right time and processed immediately afterwards. Some are withered in direct sunlight, and then shaken in bamboo baskets to bruise the edges of the leaves. This means that there will be a certain amount of oxidadion on the parts of the leaf that have been broken to develop a fuller richer flavour after the natural juices have been exposed to oxygen. Experience is required to identify the best time to stop oxidation which is when the leaves are 30% red 70% green. The leaves are then taken indoors to dry over charcoal-fired stoves.

Oolong teas give a fruity or perfumed aroma and a smooth but complex often peach or apricot flavour.

Green tea is allowed to wither only slightly after being picked. Then the oxidation process is stopped very quickly by firing (rapidly heating) the leaves. In Japan the leaves are first steamed and then cooled, rolled, pressed, sorted, pollished and dried. Green teas tend to have less caffeine (10 - 30% of coffee) depending on the type of tea and brewing technique.

White teas are the most delicate of all teas. White tea is named after the tiny white or silver hairs that cover the bud as it develops at the tip of each shoot. They are usually made from just the unopened bud, gathered before it can start to unfurl. They are then steamed and dried.

When brewed they give a very pale, champagne coloured and has a light, sweet flavour. They have the lowest caffeine content of allteas.

Yellow teas are made from he new buds and then piled and left out so that the heat generated from the natural oxidation process dries them out to prevent any further decomposition.

The caffeine content is higher than green teas and the taste is a delicate sweetness.

Tisanes. Our tisanes are made from flowers, herbs and fruits and are all naturally caffeine free.

Orange Pekoe. What is Orange Pekoe? The two main misconceptions of Orange Pekoe is that it is a variety of tea and that it is flavoured with orange. The name Pekoe is believed to be derived from the traditional Chinese (Mandarin) term for either ximn meaning "white hair" or bihuā meaning "white flower". When translated into Taiwanese they become "peh-ho" pronounced "pek-ho". As for "Orange" this is believed to come from one of two explanations: The first is that it refers to the Dutch royal House of Orange-Nassau and was used to indicate a Royal Charter by the Dutch East India Company. The second explanation is that it is called "orange" after the bright coppery colour that the leaves turn to when drying. Sir Thomas Lipton is usually regarded as the person who popularised the term "Orange Pekoe" and introduced it to the western markets.

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