Tea has made a great comeback these days. There's more to tea than Earl Grey and English Breakfast so let's explore.... In the shop, we carry a variety of loose leaf tea and steeping utensils for your enjoyment and gift giving pleasure!
The most common question is which teas have caffeine and which don't? Secondly, how much caffeine if any is in it? It all depends on the type as well as the length of steeping, what it's steeped in and so on. Here is a basic guide for you to keep in mind. Per 8oz cup:
Herbal Tea 0 mg
Rooibos Tea o mg
White Tea 30-55 mg
Green Tea 35-70 mg
Oolong Tea 50-75 mg
Black Tea 60-90 mg
Pu'erh Tea 60-70 mg
Compared to Coffee 100 mg
There are many categories of teas but I'll explain a few below:
Herbal Tea - Commonly called a 'tisane'. Herbal tea really has NO TEA leaves in it! Examples are peppermint, chamomile and hibiscus.
Rooibos Tea - Commonly called a 'tisane'. Rooibos tea is made from a South African shrub and contains NO TEA leaves.
White Tea - White tea is known to be one of the most delicate tea varieties because it is so minimally processed. It is harvested before the tea plant’s leaves open fully, when the young buds are still covered by fine white hairs, hence the name “white” tea. These buds and unfurled leaves from the newest growth on the tea plant are handpicked and then quickly and meticulously dried, so the leaves are not allowed to oxidize as long as leaves plucked for green or black tea production. This minimal processing and low oxidation results in some of the most delicate and freshest tea available.
Green Tea - Tea that is made from leaves that have not undergone the same withering and oxidation process used to make Oolong or Black teas. Less oxidation means a green tea is typically lighter in color and flavor than black tea, with more vegetal, grassy or seaweed notes, depending on the tea. Many varieties of green tea can be found throughout the world.
Oolong - Oolong is neither a black tea nor a green tea; it falls into its own category of tea. Interesting tip: Some drink oolong tea to prevent or treat obesity and diabetes. One study suggests that drinking six cups of oolong tea daily for 30 days might help people with type 2 diabetes reduce blood sugar.
Fruit Tea - Generally any variety of tea leaves flavored with a natural essence of fruit. Popular flavors include cherry, apple, blackcurrant, raspberry, orange, strawberry, peach, and blueberry. Many are made from combinations of fruits, and some also include herbs and spices.
Black Tea - What makes black tea different from green tea is that during the production process, the tea leaves are allowed to fully oxidize before they are heat-processed and dried. During oxidation, oxygen interacts with the tea plant’s cell walls to turn the leaves the rich dark brown to black color that black tea leaves are famous for. Oxidation alters the flavor profile of a black tea as well, helping add malty, fruity or even smoky notes, depending on the tea.
Pu'erh Tea - This tea is processed in a special way to encourage microbial fermentation after the leaves are dried and ages more dynamically than any tea out there. Fresh leaves get tossed by hand in giant woks long enough to halt the tea's oxidation, but not so long as to drive off all moisture and kill natural bacteria. The tea is then left to dry in the sun, but the bacteria live on, and over years and decades, they'll help completely transform the tea from a fresh, bitter green into something more dark, mellow, and rich.
Tea Storage Tips:
Know your tea: Buy tea from a reputable company that can tell you when and how the tea was processed and packaged.
Buy small: Buy fresh tea in small quantities and refill when you get low. And date your tea when you buy it, so you know how long it’s been on your shelf.
Protect tea from its enemies: Store tea in a cool, dark place away from light, heat and moisture. Light and heat can activate enzymes that will start to degrade your tea. And tea is shelf-stable because it’s completely dry. Any interaction with moisture can drastically shorten the shelf life of tea, so refrigeration or freezing is not recommended.
Keep at room temperature: It's best to keep your tea stored at room temperature. Room temperature is a comfortable temperature range indoors, usually considered to be 68 to 77°F (20 to 25°C).
Don’t let tea breathe: The more tea is exposed to oxygen, the higher the chance it will absorb odor and moisture from the air around it. Therefore it’s best to store tea in an airtight, non-plastic, opaque container. Glass, tin or aluminum containers are best. Plastic can transfer odors and chemicals into the tea and affect the tea’s flavor.
Put tea in seclusion: Tea is highly absorbent, so give tea its own storage area far away from coffee, spices or anything else in your pantry that has a strong odor. If you have flavored teas, store them separately from your non-flavored as flavored teas can impart their flavor into other teas.