Ill-trained waitresses in cheap cafes call karkade 'red tea' but it is wrong
Price tags in tea shops now reflect the color of the tea. The most popular tags are red, yellow, and green. The color of tea depends on a degree of oxidation (fermentation) of tea leaves prior to drying. Every variety has it own beneficial effect.
White tea for the nobility
White tea is hand-picked in early spring. Only top two leaves barely from the bud are used. The delicate leaves are covered with white fluff that is preserved during the quality treatment. To prevent the oxidation, leaves are first treated with steam than quickly dried out. No twisted leaves should be present in a cup of quality white tea. In short, it takes a lot of effort to produce the tea. That is why it is pretty expensive. They say that the white tea is a beverage of aristocrats.
Red but not karkade
Ill-trained waitresses in cheap cafes call karkade 'red tea' but it is wrong. Karkade is thought to be flower tea. It is made by infusing dry petals of the hibiscus. The brew is very good for people with cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and kidney problems. Genuine red tea is equally good. The red tea contains a lot of tannin, and almost twice as much catechin as the black tea does. There are about 30 varieties of the red tea.
This is the “elder brother” of the white tea. It is produced using the same technology. However, mature leaves are used instead of buds. That is the reason why this tea is cheaper than the white one. Tea leaves get twisted during the drying procedure. The leaves are not subjected to fermentation and therefore green tea contains a lot of good things. Green tea reportedly has excellent anticancer properties and loads of vitamin C.
Legend has it that this variety came into being due to misunderstanding and laziness. According to some historians, workers simply could not remove bags of tea leaves from plantations because of heavy fog. The leaves got swollen by the next morning. Bosses ordered to keep the bags. Then somebody made a brew using tea leaves from the wet bags. The brew happened to be strong and aromatic. It is a great pity, though, that some good substances and vitamins fall apart in black tea.
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