Tea is a healthy, refreshing and economical drink. Top Tea has enhanced these qualities to perfect your tea-drinking experience. Top Tea's round bags are the perfect fit for round cups and round pots and are specifically designed to release the most flavour!
Each round Top Tea bag makes two strong cups of tea. Top Tea is carefully selected and blended from the finest tea leaves and foil-packed for freshness. Top Tea guarantees consistent quality in every cup. Enjoy it hot or iced.
Top Tea is affordable quality and is available in a range of convenient pack sizes to suit all pockets, namely: 3s, 26s and 100s tagless tea bags.
History of Tea
MAKING OF TOP TEA
Top Tea is made from high quality dried leaves of the plant Camellia Sinensis. Top Tea is 100% tea and is supplied in tagless round tea bags. The round teabags were first introduced in Nigeria and were the first round teabags to be produced on the African continent.
The Top Tea brand consistently satisfies demand for a
tea product of superior quality and taste. Top Tea is the only locally packaged round and tagless tea bag in Nigeria. The 26 teabag box pack is packaged with an inner foil liner, whilst the 4’s, 26’s and 100’s soft packs are packed in a bi-laminate flexible packaging. Both these packaging configurations ensure that the product is kept fresh to guarantee a superior taste.
Tea making process
Tea is made from the young leaf growth (flush) of a hardy evergreen plant, Camellia sinensis. This plant thrives well in tropical sunshine and in rain and old forest soil. For commercial purposes, Camellia sinensis is grown as a bush to a height of 3 to 4 ft.
To begin with, tea bushes are grown from seeds obtained from bushes which have been allowed to grow unchecked so as to flower and produce seeds. A thatched framework over the bed protects the young seedlings from excess sun. After 12- 15 months, the young plants are put out into their permanent position in the tea plantation in regulated rows. Cuttings can also be taken from healthy plants and are used to grow plants at a faster rate.
Under good climatic conditions, it will be three years before the bush of the new plant can be picked. At higher attitudes, full maturity may not be reached for 9 - 10 years. The picking life cycle of a tea bush is averaged at 40 - 50 years (although some veteran trees can be pruned for up to 70 years).
The bushes are pruned every 1 - 3 years to promote their lateral growth into flat-topped bushes, to maintain their bush formation and to encourage production of regular flushes of tender leaves.
Before commencing processing, the leaves are picked over to eliminate stalks and other foreign matter. Normal plucking consists of picking the small unopened leaf bud and the first two tender leaves from each shoot. Tea picking or plucking goes on all year round.
Each bush is plucked every 7 or 8 days, but where bush growth is slower, the interval maybe every fortnight. This plucking exercise is a delicate and most skilled operation, traditionally carried out by women.
The picked leaves are laid out thinly and evenly and are left to the natural circulation of fresh air, or when conditions are very humid, under the circulation of fans forcing heated air over the racks. The process is called withering and takes 18 - 20 hours. The objective of withering is to reduce the moisture in the leaf until it becomes flaccid.
The leaves are then put through rollers to break up the leaf cells and release the natural juices and enzymes to give the leaf its characteristic aroma. The leaves come out of the rollers in shape of twisted lumps.
These are then broken up on vibrating sieves called roll breakers and finer leaves come through the sieves first and are taken away. The remainder is again rolled and sieved, the process being repeated between 4 to 5 times.
The leaves from the roll breakers are taken into a fermenting room where they are spread on glass or cement tables in a cool, humid atmosphere - this process involves the oxidisation of the tea leaves called ‘fermenting’. This is completed in 3 hours and the leaves turn to a bright copper colour.
The leaves are then fired in large iron chambers in which continuous blasts of hot, dry air is forced. After half an hour, oxidisation stops and the tea leaves will keep until the tea reaches a teapot. The tea leaves are sieved and graded according to sizes using different sized meshes.
Tea grades vary from country to country and from estate to estate. Three distinct types of tea enter the world market but all come from the same type of plant. The difference is in the manufacture and not the cultivation:
- Black tea, 98% of total world tea market (leaves are fully oxidised or fermented).
- Green tea (no oxidisation) - popular in China, Japan, West and North Africa
- Oolong tea (Semi-oxidised) – popular in China and the USA.
There are also two main black tea grades, namely Broken and Leaf. The Broken grade comprises the small sizes of tea leaves and is further divided into Broken Orange Pekoe, Broken Pekoe, Broken Pekoe Souchong, Fannings and Dust.
The Leaf grade comprises of larger sizes of tea leaves and is divided into Orange Pekoe, Pekoe, and Pekoe Souchong. These terms merely denote specific sizes or appearances of leaf and have no reference to quality. However, Broken grades normally give a darker liquid and stronger tea than the Leaf grades.
- Leaf grade (large leaf) - packet blends
- Fannings (medium) - packet blends and tea bags
- Dusts (small leaf) - tea bags
After sorting and careful examination to remove any extraneous matter, each grade of tea is packed into aluminium and paper-lined chests.
What is tea?
Tea is a drink made by infusing leaves of the tea plant ( Camellia sinensis, or Thea sinensis) in hot water. The name 'tea' is used to refer to the leaves themselves. It is also the name of a mid-to-late afternoon meal in the British Isles and associated countries, at which tea
(the drink) is served along with various foods. Pekoe, Broken Pekoe Souchong, Fannings and Dust.
What are the different kinds of tea?
It is estimated that there are 3 000 different varieties of tea grown in more than 31 countries! The three main categories are green, black, and oolong. All three kinds are made from the same plant species and vary due to different processing methods. Black teas undergo several hours of oxidation during their preparation, oolongs receive less oxidation, while green teas are not oxidised at all. (Oxidation refers to the combination of a substance with oxygen). There are many different varieties within these three main categories. Herbal teas are made from leaves of other plants.
How is tea produced?
The first step in tea production is the harvest. Tea leaves are generally hand-picked. This labour-intensive task needs to be undertaken in order to harvest quality tea leaves for the manufacture of quality tea, as this allows for the collection of quality leaves over poor quality leaves.
The collection process differs for black, green and oolong teas. The basic steps in the production of black tea involve withering, rolling, oxidation and firing. First, the leaves are spread out in the open (preferably in the shade) until they wither and become limp. This is done so that they can be rolled without breaking.
The tea leaves are then rolled using a machine (this task is rarely done by hand). Rolling helps mix together a variety of chemicals found naturally within the leaves, enhancing oxidation. After rolling, the clumped leaves are broken up and set to oxidise. Oxidation, which starts during rolling, is allowed to proceed for a predetermined amount of time, depending on the variety of the leaf. Longer oxidation usually produces a more pungent tea with less flavour. The leaves are then heated, or ‘fired’, to end the oxidation process and dehydrate them so that they can be stored.
Oolong is produced using a similar procedure as black tea, except that the leaves are oxidised for a shorter period.
Green tea is not oxidised at all. Some varieties are not even withered, but are simply harvested, fired, and shipped out.
Tea and health
Health benefits of tea drinking
“If you are cold, tea will warm you - if you are too heated, it will cool you - if you are depressed, it will cheer you - if you are excited, it will calm you.” - William Gladstone
For 5 000 years, the Chinese have used tea to treat many ailments, from colds and coughs to body aches and headaches.
More recently, researchers have discovered tea's association with the prevention and management of certain illnesses, including heart disease, cancers of the digestive tract and skin, and osteoporosis.
A serving of tea generally contains about 40 milligrams of caffeine (less than half as much caffeine as in coffee), but the actual levels vary depending on the specific blend and the strength of the brew. Decaffeinated tea is also available.
Beneficial properties of tea
- Tea is an affordable healthy beverage.
- A cup of tea provides a sense of wellbeing.
- Tea provides relief from fatigue and increases alertness.
- Tea aids digestion when taken with meals.
- Tea is a hydrating liquid and counts towards our recommended daily intake of 2 to 3 litres of fluid a day.
- Together with fruit and vegetables, tea forms part of a healthy diet.
- Tea has hardly any calories and is low in sodium. It contains traces of proteins and carbohydrates, amino acids and lipids.
- Tea is also a natural source of powerful antioxidants known collectively as flavonoids. Antioxidants help protect the body from the damage caused by harmful free radicals. The amount and type of flavonoids in tea depends on the variety, the amount of tea used in the pot or cup, and brewing habit.
Did you know?