高山茶真的一定好?

高山茶真的比較好嗎?

高山茶主要是指以海拔高度在1000公尺以上的茶區所產製的茶葉,而通常高山茶品質較好可以說是高山環境與氣候互相配合產生的結果。高山茶區整年冷涼,雲霧環繞,平均日照時間短,茶樹生長較慢,同時因為光線受到霧的影響,使得茶葉中的水分保留較多,加上地表土壤含有大量的有機質,提供茶樹豐富的營養,可以保持茶樹翠綠鮮嫩,讓高山茶得以散發出濃厚的香氣,產生鮮甜滑潤的滋味。根據研究顯示,高山茶之所以口感較甘甜柔潤,是由於造成茶湯苦澀來源的茶多酚兒茶素含量,會隨海拔高度增加與氣溫降低而減少,而使茶湯甘醇鮮甜的胺基酸與可溶氮含量,卻會隨著海拔增加與氣溫降低而增加的緣故[1-4]。

由於有些茶樹種,例如青心烏龍,本身對抗病蟲害能力較差,不適合種植在平地環境,因此自然必須要種植在高山上,有利於生長發育。高山茶的優勢在於先天生長的環境,但後續的製作過程往往也是決定高山茶品質好壞的重要因素。一般來說,高山茶通常是採茶之後進行原地製作,從早上開始採茶到下午結束,有時候也會因為來不及採收而照射到太多陽光,使得茶葉老化,加上通常高山午後天氣不穩定,可能沒有足夠的陽光可以進行日光萎凋,使得原本良好的茶葉也會因為製作過程而影響高山茶的品質。另外,高山上交通不方便,無形之中也增添了許多運輸或人力成本,因此要成就一杯品質良好且好喝的高山茶確實很不容易[5-6]。

不可否認的是高山茶有高山茶的好,高山生長環境良好,使得茶葉中的胺基酸多且兒茶素少,散發濃郁香氣,口感柔順甘甜,而且有些茶樹種確實只適合種植在高山上。反之,平地因為環境較高溫,使得茶葉的兒茶素含量較高,也因為要對抗病蟲害,所以可能需要分泌較多的咖啡因,造成口感可能較為苦澀些,但也因為平地茶茶葉含有較多兒茶素,而兒茶素具有很強的抗氧化能力,能夠幫助預防多種疾病,對人體健康幫助很大,加上近年來,經過茶葉改良場多年的努力,培育出能夠在中低海拔生長的茶樹種,例如台茶22號,不只能夠在中低海拔種植,對抗病蟲害能力強,還散發出豐沛的香氣[7],因此平地茶也擁有不亞於高山茶的品質,是喝茶時另一種很好的選擇。

高山茶與平地茶兩者特色不同,茶湯口感與滋味稍有差異,各有各的好處,喝茶時可以依照個人的習慣或喜好來選擇,因此我們是不是應該要拋棄高山茶比較好的這種認知呢? 茶水部邀請您一起打破迷思!

 

-Research team @ 茶水部 LittoTea, 澄萃茶藝.

 

The stereotype of alpine tea

Alpine tea is tea which grows over an altitude of 1000 meters. It smells strong with the sweet and soft taste. The reason why alpine tea could be better is because the environment and the climate in the high mountain. It is always cold and cloud around in the high mountain. Due to the fog , shorter sunshine and rich organic substances in the soil, the environment provides enough nutrition for tea trees to grow, which increase water, chlorophyll and amino acids in tea, keeping the higher quality[1-4].

Research has shown that polyphenols and catechin would decrease with the altitude increasing or the temperature decreasing. Amino acids and soluble nitrogen would increase with the altitude increasing or the temperature decreasing. Furthermore, polyphenols and catechin make tea bitter, meanwhile, amino acids and soluble nitrogen make tea sweeter. Therefore, amino acids and soluble nitrogen in alpine tea which grows in the high mountain is more than lowland tea, which make alpine tea taste sweeter and softer[1-4].

Some kinds of tea trees, such as green tip oolong variety, have the weaker resistance to pests and the weather, which is suitable to be planted in rather the high mountain than the lowland. The advantage of alpine tea is the growing environment. However, the processing usually plays an important role on the quality as well. Alpine tea is usually processed after plucking in the original place. The plucking starts from the morning to the afternoon. Sometimes tea leaves age because they are exposed to the sun instead of being plucked timely. In addition, the weather is usually unstable in the afternoon, which would lead to insufficient sunshine related to withering, and also influence the quality of tea. Furthermore, inconvenient transport in the high mountain makes the cost of transport and human resource higher. The high-class alpine tea is really difficult to make[5-6].

It is undoubted that alpine tea has its unique characteristics. The cold environment makes more amino acids and less catechin. Alpine tea smells fragrant and has a sweet aftertaste. In addition, some tea trees are only suitable to grow in the high mountain. In contrast, lowland tea grows in the environment where the temperature is higher, which make catechin more. Meanwhile. it would secret more caffeine to fight for pests. Therefore, lowland tea tastes quite bitter. However, lowland tea contains more catechin that has strong antioxidant capacity, which can help prevent many diseases, and benefits our health a lot. Furthermore, Tea Research and Extension Station has developed tea trees that can grow in the lowland, such as TTES No. 12. TTES No. 12 has not only higher resistance to pests but also fragrant scent[7]. Lowland tea can have the same quality as alpine tea, which becomes another good choice of drinking.

Both alpine tea and lowland tea are good with their different characteristics and tastes. You can have the different choice depends on your favorite flavor or your habits. There shouldn’t be the stereotype that alpine tea is better. Let’s break this stereotype with LittoTea.

 

-Research team @茶水部 LittoTea, 澄萃茶藝.

 

Reference

[1]茶葉分類

http://www.gtes.ilc.edu.tw/infoseed2/course/teacyber/tea/category.htm

[2]高山茶與平地茶有何不同

http://chalib.com/tealib/teapartnews_sub.asp?TeaPartNewsNo=21&TeaPart=%E7%83%8F%E9%BE%8D%E8%8C%B6(%E9%9D%92%E8%8C%B6)

[3]如何鑑別茶葉

https://kmweb.coa.gov.tw/subject/ct.asp?xItem=105549&ctNode=1649&mp=86&kpi=0&hashid=

[4]http://eshare.stust.edu.tw/EshareFile/2009_11/2009_11_ca72668c.pdf

[5]http://taochaer.pixnet.net/blog/post/22940752-%E4%BB%80%E9%BA%BC%E6%98%AF%E3%80%8C%E5%8F%B0%E7%81%A3%E9%AB%98%E5%B1%B1%E8%8C%B6%E3%80%8D%EF%BC%9F

[6]https://tw.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090529000015KK00220

[7]http://www.merit-times.com/NewsPage.aspx?unid=380657

Lynn Chiang

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