Tea Craft and Water
Teas of the world are made simply by steeping the leaf in very hot or
boiling water. Be it Green, Pouchong, Oolong or Black Teas, they are all
products of the same plant Camellia Synensis and they respond to a
similar style of tea making.
You can vary the quantity of leaf per serving
Yes, from one gram to seven grams or so are used to make a cup of tea.
The quantity can be varied by the connoisseur depending upon on how
he/she likes the tea. Oolong teas are generally used in a larger measure
upto 7gms whereas black teas offer the best cups in 2gms per serving.
You may vary the steeping time also
'Steeping' is, the time you keep the leaf soaked in hot or boiled
water. The tea juices present in the leaf dissolve in the water slowly
or quickly depending on factors explained below.:
a) The style of leaf, since black tea needs upto 5 minutes and
Oolong or Pouchong deliver the desired decoction in less than a minute
also. The smaller sized grades of black tea or green tea are faster and
more tannic than large sized leaves. So when you use smaller sized leaf,
you may reduce steeping time.
b) The quantum of juice that is impregnated on the dry leaf
after it leaves the tea factory. The higher the cell rupture in the
factory rolling/ cutting/ shaking machines, the higher is the quantum of
juice that is exuded by the leaf. It is this juice which sticks on the
upper surface of the tea-leaf. When this dried juice from dry tea comes
in contact with hot water, the juices dissolve readily in it.
Water on the planet has natural salts in varying quantities. Hard water, as it is called sometimes, has more salts than soft water. Water containing less than 50parts per million (also mg/litre) calcium salts is known as 'Soft Water'. Water containing 50 parts per million of calcium salts is known as 'Hard Water'. Even water with 500 parts per million salts is known as 'Hard Water'. The concertina of numerical measure is very wide in case of hard water.
Generally soft water is considered better for tea because the soft water has no character of its own. Taste of hard water however changes and, the harder the water, the more assertive is its taste. Desirable or Undesirable the taste in hard water comes from the dissolved solids/ salts.
The undersigned is a black tea drinker and is of the view that hard water between 50 ppm to 250 ppm with calcium salts is sweeter. The sweet taste of water helps to bring to prominence the flavour of tea. Whereas Evian water is too hard, the other brand namely Volvic is not so hard. It is sweet and does the trick on the taster's palate. The Evian brand spring water has some 309 mg per litre. Volvic is also spring water, although it has fewer dissolved solids. This water has some 130 mg per litre and the connoisseurs of tea may prefer this to demineralised water (know as RO water) or Evian. This is because RO water is very low on salts and Evian has minerals on the higher side which could interfere with tea flavour.
Master Tea Taster
With over 30 years in this
industry since he joined the
Indian Tea Industry in 1975
All Buyers compete equally at the Auctions and the highest bidders can buy any tea they have selected. The advantage that Auction Buyer has over garden producers is that we select only the finest for our overseas buyers. The source garden changes each time, as a single source never makes the same quality each time. This is true for vineyards also.
There are five Tea Producing Regions in India. Assam, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Kangra & Milgiri. The first four sell at Kolkata Auction Center where we have a major presence. The fifth type of tea, namely, South Indian Tea of Nilgiri Mountains sells at Cochin Port City. Once again, we have our presence there. Our buyer attends the Auctions every week, both at Kolkata and Cochin tea seaports where we have our branch offices. In this way, we have access to produce of all of India. (The world's largest producer of tea)
This presence also gives us access to almost 75% of tea produced in India and we can therefore select from a wide range offered by single estates. We also purchase through the other route, which is privately, the very best teas of the season and offer them out to our gourmet tea buyers abroad.