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Exploring the Science Behind Ceylon Tea Production

Exploring the Science Behind Ceylon Tea Production
Exploring the Science Behind Ceylon Tea Production

For centuries, Britain has shared a special relationship with her cup of tea. But have you ever stopped to think about the science behind producing a cup of Ceylon tea? Let’s take a look at the enzymes and chemical reactions that go into making a perfect cup of Ceylon tea.

The Chemistry of Tea Making

Ceylon tea is produced from a species of small leafy shrub called Camellia sinensis. The unique flavour and aroma of this particular type of tea is derived from the chemical compounds present in its leaves, which are composed mainly of polyphenols. Polyphenols are organic compounds made up of oxygen and hydrogen atoms, and they contain an aromatic ring structure that gives them their distinctive taste and smell.

The flavouring agents responsible for the taste and aroma associated with Ceylon tea come primarily from two enzymes, catechin and polyphenol oxidase. Catechins is an enzyme found in all Camellia sinensis plants that breaks down catechins, which are molecules containing large amounts of antioxidants like epicatechin gallate (ECG). These antioxidants give Ceylon tea its unique flavour profile. Polyphenol oxidase is another enzyme found in Camellia sinensis plants that helps break down other molecules like flavonoids into highly aromatic compounds such as pyrogallol or p-coumaric acid.

To produce high quality Ceylon tea, it’s important to ensure that these enzymes are actively working on breaking down the molecules present in the leaves to release those flavourful compounds. This process can be accomplished by controlling different variables such as temperature, moisture levels, pH levels, etc., during the production process. This allows producers to maximise the flavour potential while minimising oxidation resulting in a cup of high-quality Ceylon tea.

At its core, making a perfect cup of Ceylon tea requires understanding the science behind it; specifically understanding how enzymes like catechin and polyphenol oxidase interact with plant molecules like catechins and flavonoids to create those distinct aromas and flavours we associate with good quality teas. By carefully controlling certain variables during production, producers can maximise these effects to create premium grade teas for all British households to enjoy! Cheers!


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