Learn About Tea

Tea is a delicious and wonderful beverage that delights our sense of taste, sense of sight, and sense of smell. We can never learn all there is to know about tea, which makes tea exciting and interest. Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world besides water. All tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant, but we get our different types of tea through various processing techniques.

WHITE TEA:

White tea is made from the camellia sinensis plant, just like all tea, but it is the least processed of all the tea types. White tea is only harvested during the first few weeks in spring in the northern district of Fujian, China. It brews a lovely light color and flavor, and gets its name from the fuzzy silver-colored down on the leaves and unopened buds. White tea is minimally processed by drying and withering in one of three different ways, depending on the region:

  • Natural sunlight
  • Heated vents
  • Wind drying chambers

White tea is more delicate than the other tea types, so a cooler temperature is recommended when brewing. We recommend steeping 1 Tbsp. per 8 oz. water at 175°F - 185°F for 1 - 3 minutes for the best flavor and to take care not to overcook the tea leaves which would make for an overly astringent liquor.

GREEN TEA:

Green Tea is the most popular tea in the world due to its popularity in Asian countries. It is made from the same plant that the other teas are made of, the camellia sinensis plant, and is minimally oxidized with many health benefits. The leaves are plucked and slightly dried on bamboo trays before heating to stop oxidation. Since green tea is has minimal oxidation, the green color due to the high concentration of chlorophyll is preserved. Green tea has a higher concentration of polyphenols and antioxidants as well,  which promotes health. Chinese green tea is traditionally pan roasted and Japanese green tea is traditionally deep steamed.

Green tea production has not changed with our modern society. The leaves are plucked by hand, harvested by hand, and shaped by hand. Some of the many health benefits of green tea are:

  • It is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins which function as powerful antioxidants
  • it improves brain function
  • increases fat burning and boosts metabolic rate
  • lowers risk of developing breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer
  • lowers risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease
  • improves dental health and reduces bad breath
  • lowers risk of developing Type II Diabetes
  • reduces risk of cardiovascular disease

BLACK TEA:

Black tea, also known as "red tea" in China, is the most popular tea in the western world. Unlike white tea or green tea, black tea is fully oxidized. Of course, there are differences in manufacturing techniques in different parts of the world, but there are four basic steps in processing black tea:

  1. Withering
  2. Rolling
  3. Oxidation
  4. Firing (drying)

 The two major methods of processing black tea are Orthodox and CTC.

  1. Orthodox: The Orthodox method is the most common way of processing black tea. It involves allowing the tea leaves to wither in warm air for  up to 18 hours until they are soft and pliable. The leaves are then gently pressed and rolled in a machine to break the cell walls within the tea leaves to begin oxidation. The tea leaves are then allowed to oxidize further until the correct amount of oxidation occurs and the flavor of the tea is fully developed. The leaves are then dried to stop the oxidation process.
  2. Cut, Tear, Curl: The tea leaves are processed in similar fashion to the Orthodox method, however, the rolling process is eliminated, and the leaves they are cut into tiny pieces by a machine. This method was developed to speed processing time of tea bags. 

Black tea is delicious as is, but it is also the tea that is blended most with other ingredients to create tasty variations. Black tea is often blended with fruit and other ingredients, but it can also be blended with black teas of different origins like English Breakfast Tea is. Black teas have different flavor profiles from different regions, for example, Darjeeling, Assam, and Keemum.

OOLONG TEA:

 Oolong Tea, also known as Wu Long Tea, is a partially oxidized tea from China. Wu Long is translated as "black" and "dragon" which describe the shape of the leaves. Oolongs can be oxidized anywhere between 1 - 99% and varies by tea making traditions in different regions. The tea leaves are picked, withered, and semi-oxidized by the sun. They are then shade dried, gently bruised by tossing in baskets, semi-fermented, and then oxidation is stopped by wok drying over wood or charcoal which give the tea leaves their distinctive smoky flavor. The leaves are then hand shaped by rolling or twisting resulting in oolong's unique dragon-like shape. 

Oolong Tea is well known for its healthy benefits. It has the combined benefits of both green tea and black tea with a smooth taste perfect on its own or with a meal. Oolong Tea is between green tea (no oxidation) and black tea (oxidized) because of its partial oxidation which gives it unique antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds which are very effective  at controlling the metabolism of fat in the body. Oolong Tea has long been believed to aid in weight loss with daily drinking.

Our Oolong Tea has lovely long leaves that unfurl as you brew and are from the Wuyi Mountains in China. The benefits of Oolong Tea include:

  • Boosts your metabolism, aiding weight loss
  • Aids digestion
  • Stabilitzes blood sugar
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Increases mental alertness
  • Improves skin conditions
  • Protects teeth from decay
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Strengthens bones

If you have never tried Oolong Tea, you are in for a delightful experience as you watch the lovely leaves unfurl while steeping. The tasting notes are rich, full-bodied, and peppery. 

HERBAL TEA/TISANE

Herbal Tea is more correctly called a tisane, and is actually not a tea at all. In order to be called a tea, it must be made from the camellia sinensis plant. Any other "tea", is a tisane, which is just a fancy word for herbal tea. Most tisanes do not containe caffeine and have been used since the beginning of time to maintain or restore health. Herbal teas, or tisanes, are dried herbs, flowers, or fruits steeped in boiling water. 

Tisanes are a terrific alternative to true tea, especially if you are trying to limit your caffeine intake. A common popular ingredient in today's tisanes is rooibos, which is often called "red tea". Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free and is sourced from South Africa. Below are listed some tisanes and their health benefits:

  • Rooibos: Rich in antioxidants, caffeine-free, anti-inflammatory, calms digestive upset, may help with male fertility, relieves stress.
  • Honeybush: Anti-inflammatory, improves immune function, may protect against osteoporosis, inhibits tumor growth.
  • Chamomile: Anti-bacterial, healing, soothes upset stomach, calming, helps with insomnia by promoting sleep, promotes healthy skin, improves immune functions.
  • Mint: Aids digestion, soothes upset stomach, remedy for nausea, can alleviate headaches, helpful with respiratory problems, a natural stimulant that helps lessen depression and fatigue, increases cognitive functions, aids in weight loss.
  • Lemongrass: Anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, may help lower risk of developing cancer, anti-inflammatory.
  • Ginger: Anti-inflammatory, stimulates circulation, anti-bacterial, reduces intestinal gas, reduces nausea, may lower blood pressure, reduces menstrual pain, boosts brain function.
  • Lemon Verbena: Protects against muscle damage, decreases joint pain, boosts immune system, reduces fevers, strengthens nervous system.
  • Osmanthus: Potentially reduces appetite, rich in anti-oxidants, improves complexion, helps body rid excess nitric oxide.
  • Hibiscus: Lowers blood pressure, contains anti-oxidants, protects the liver, anti-depressant, helps with menstrual pain, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial.

Of course, the list of different tisanes is endless. Herbal infusions (tisanes) have been used throughout history to aid in improving human health. Our herbal teas/tisanes contain the above ingredients and are a great addition to your tea drinking experience!

BLOOMING TEA:

Blooming Teas are beautiful, hand-tied teas that are a work of art! Also called flowering teas, these teas "bloom" when you steep them. They are made by tea artists who hand-tie tea leaves around one or more flowers and are usually flavored. When steeped, the tea leaves unfurl revealing the beautiful bloom of flowers inside.

Blooming teas are typically made in the Yunnan Province of China. Flowers commonly used in blooming teas are: jasmine, amaranth, chrysanthemum, lily, hibiscus, and osmanthus. These teas provide a lovely centerpiece and the blooming tea can be re-steeped two or three times. They are usually served in glass teapots or teacups so the romantic bloom can be seen and appreciated.

Blooming tea makes a great gift for your favorite tea lover, as a unique introduction to tea for newbie tea drinkers, as a romantic gift for newlyweds, and kids absolutely love watching these teas bloom.

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