References – Tea

Define: Chai

What you say: “I love chai tea!”

What I hear: “I love tea tea!”

That’s because chai means tea in Hindi (cha/chai derivatives mean tea in Portuguese, Greek, Czech, and other languages). Tea/chai originated in China and spread around the world with two different names: chai and tea. These names are derivatives of what the Chinese called our beloved hot drink: te and ch. Traders going to Europe stuck with the te derivation (which became tea) and traders going to India, Russia, Persia, etc) called it chai (derived from ch).

Chai, or spicy Indian tea.

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Engineering Tea

What’s all the hype about E’s favorite drink, anyway? Do people really read tea leaves? Read on to find out more about how tea goes from leaf to cup.

Originating in China, tea spread across the globe as a healthy hot drink. http://www.teavana.com gives a great overview of the history of tea and some wonderful links to satisfy your curiosity.

The tea manufacturing process starts with withering, which turns the fresh leaf into the blackened tea we steep. 100 kgs of fresh leaves gets turned into about 25 kgs of the black tea. Withering is done to soften the leaves and reduce the moisture content and can take from 18 hours to a full day.

The next step, rolling, is done to turn the green leaves brown, release the aroma and taste, and prep for fermentation.  But before fermenting, there is roll breaking: cooling the leaves and accepting the finer particles to the next step. The larger leaves that don’t make it through go back to the rolling step.

Different tea grades correspond to color, aroma, and taste of final tea product.

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