Tea is loved by so many people around the world that it became almost a universal language. You can practically order a cup of tea anywhere in the world by using close variations of only two words -cha or -te. The term cha originated in mainland China and spread the world by land along the Silk Road while the Dutch trading with the coastal Chinese provinces spread the other word by sea -te. In Bulgaria we use Cyrillic and spell it as чай /tʃaɪ/, transcribed as chai.
When we say чай at Chai malko, we mean what most of the world refers to - the tea originating from the leaves of the evergreen plant Camellia sinensis. However, Bulgaria is a land of herbs and almost everybody here assumes the word чай to mean herbal tea. In order to set a clear distinction, we often refer to Camellia sinensis tea as caffeine tea to avoid confusion with other teas - herbal, fruit or other infusions.
Tealeaves from Camellia sinensis have three main and very special ingredients:
A combination of them in a warm or cold drink is a unique way to enhance our health by helping our body improve itself and that's why we love it.
There are more than 2000 different kinds of Camellia sinensis teas around the world and all of them fall within one of six main categories of tea:
They all come from the Camellia sinensis tea plant, all naturally contain caffeine and interestingly, there is one particular step in the manufacturing of the leaves from the tea plant that is largely responsible for the difference between the major tea types. This step is the process of oxidation and depending on the level of oxidation, the 6 different tea types are produced.
Behind every different kind of tea there is a fine balance between the factors of Nature and the mastery of the tea producers. The composition of the soil, terrain, weather conditions, climate, specific tea plant variety/cultivar... all of them determine the quality of the tea leaves which may later be turned into any type of tea in the skillful hands of the tea masters.
This is the magic of the tea drink that enchants the world - such an amazing variety of unique tea tasting experiences which affect both our body and mind, out of a single plant!
Chai malko, isn't that amazing?