The World of Teas
Teas have been around for thousands of years and have long been know for the many health benefits. All tea comes from the same plant called Camellia sinensis. The main varieties are black, green, oolong and white tea. The main difference between these varieties is the amount of oxygen the leaves are allowed to absorb during processing. More oxygen produces darker colored teas. Less oxygen results in “greener” teas. Unprocessed leaves are white teas.
Black tea is completely oxidized leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is hearty, full flavored, robust and the infused cup of tea is typically a beautiful red color.
Green tea is any variety of the Camellia sinensis leaves that undergoes a process of steaming immediately after plucking. This stops any oxidation of the leaves. The characteristic is heavily determined by the shoot maturity, time of plucking, geographic and weather conditions, and cultivated method. Green tea is a soft, pleasant and alluring cup of tea with a pale golden color.
White tea comes from the same Camillia sinensis plant as black, green and oolong teas, however white tea is the least processed (no steaming or pan firing) of all the teas. Named for the silver fuzz on the bud when the leaves are picked, white tea is light, fresh, and slightly sweet with a pale yellow color. It’s also high in antioxidants.
Oolong tea falls somewhere between the oxidation of black and green tea. Oolong means “Black Dragon” and sits comfortably in the middle ground of the robust black tea and lighter taste of green tea.
Typically, herbal “teas” (tisanes – herbal infusion) do not contain leaves from the Camellia sinensis plants and are therefore not actually tea. They are usually blends of various flowers, roots, leaves and seeds and are naturally caffeine free.
Chai teas often have a black tea base mixed with different bold spices. Cardamom, ginger, black pepper and cloves are some of the spices most often used. It is popular to add cream and sugar to chai tea.
(Pronounced Roy-bus) This herb grows in the mountains of South Africa. It’s often referred to as “red tea” and has many health benefits. Naturally caffeine free, Rooibus has a soft, mild, sweet flavor.
The Perfect Cup!
Ahhhh, the perfect cup of tea. Tips on getting a perfect cup of tea every time. Starting with high quality, premium tea starts you out in the right direction but there’s more to it.
Amount: If using loose teas the suggested use is one teaspoon of tea to one cup of water. Sometimes the lighter teas like white, oolong and green teas taste best using twice this amount. It’s a personal taste preference so experiment and enjoy!
Temperature: The temperature depends on the tea. Use boiling water (212F) for dark and herbal teas. Use slightly cooler water (180F) for green, white or lighter teas.
Time: If you steep some teas too long they will turn bitter. The general rule of thumb is 5 minutes for most black and dark teas. Herbal and white teas are more forgiving and can steep for 7 minutes or slightly longer.
Green teas are more delicate, steeping for only 3 minutes.
Once the water begins to boil it is ready. If you “overboil” the water, the oxygen begins to escape which will not bring out the full flavor of the tea.
Our tea bags are made with non-bleached tea filter paper.
Be sure to start with fresh, good quality water.