All About Tea

There are over 3000 varieties of tea, not including botanicals and fruit infusions. To be a tea, it must come from the camellia sinensis plant. There are several varieties of this plant, producing many types of teas. Types depend on the manufacturing and crafting of the leaf. The flavor profiles and quality change year to year, like wine, and is influenced by soil, temperature, rainfall, elevation and other elements in nature. Even the botanicals growing nearby can affect the flavors of the tea.

We are constantly updating the tea information as new information becomes available. 

White Tea

This tea is the unopened bud of the tealeaf. After the bud is picked, it is withered and the moisture is allowed to evaporate and dry. This is a minimally processed tea. It is very high in antioxidants and low in caffeine. When the buds are picked, the tea farmers lose the leaves that make popular and marketable teas. This is why white tea is expensive. It is believed that a true white tea is only produced in Fujian China. This may have been the origin, but now white tea is produced in India, Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. It can have a silvery fuzzy appearance or look like fallen leaves and buds. The infusion is pale and has a mild flavor.

Green Tea

This tea is high in antioxidants, Vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. The freshly picked leaves are allowed to withered, then are heated to stop the oxidation. In China, the tea is typically pan fried or wok fried to halt oxidation. In Japan the tea is steamed. These different techniques produce distinct characteristics and flavor profiles. China greens have a smoky or toasty flavor and green teas from Japan have a grassy, ocean or vegetal taste. 

Oolong

Pronounced woolong. Oolongs or Black Dragon, which is its literal translation, is sometimes referred to as semi-fermented and is manufactured in China and Taiwan or Formosa. The leaves are processed immediately after plucking. They are wilted in the sunlight, shaken in bamboo baskets to bruise the edges, then shaken again and spread out to dry until the leaf turns slightly yellow. We have two categories of oolong- fragrant and amber. Fragrant is closer to a green tea and has notes of flowers and Amber is closer to a black tea with notes of ripe fruit. 

Pu ehr

Puerh is a large leaf te from the Yunnan province in China and has been famous as a medicinal tea. The earliest records of Puerh tea date back to the Tang Dynasty (618 AD- 906 AD) when it was the favorite tea of the nobleman of this time. Puerh tea over the centuries has been used as a form of currency in China and an important international trading item.

Pureh derives its name from the market town of Pu-er, where it was originally processed and sold. It is said that the unique taste was developed because it took weeks to transport the tea leaves by horseback to the town to be processed. During this transportation period the tea leaves would begin to ferment in the humidity and release a strong fragrant. 

The secret of making puerh has been closely guarded in China for centuries. The tea leaves are collected from the growers of a special broad-leaf tea tree, which are said to be related to ancient prehistoric tea trees. The leaves go through two types of fermentation, which gives this tea its unique characteristics; a mild, but distinctively earthy flavor. Puerh teas are much like fine wines, which become smoother and more balanced with age.

Black

The methods of producing a black tea vary greatly from country to country. This tea is fully oxidized. There are 4 steps involved in the production of this tea; withering, rolling, oxidizing and firing or drying. It loses some of its vitamins, trace minerals and antioxidants from the manufacturing process, but produces a benefit that helps to reduce cortisol stress hormone which can harm the body.

Scented

These teas are scented with the addition of flowers or herbs and can be a white, green, oolong or black tea. We carry a White Jasmine that has been scented multiple times with the fresh blossoms of jasmine. To scent the tea, the tealeaves are layered with jasmine, orchids or other blossoms and herbs. They are left overnight and the next day the blossoms are removed. The tealeaf is very porous and picks up the scent of the blossom.

Flavored

Most teas varieties can be flavored, but a rare and complex tea should be enjoyed with no flavors added. Flavors can come from the addition of fruits, essence and herbs.

Herbal Infusions

An herbal can be a blend of roots, bark, flowers, leaves, and stems to produce a beverage with many health benefits. Most are caffeine-free.

Rooibos

This is a beverage made from the red bush from the legume family that grows in the Cedarburg Mountain Region 150 West of Cape Town, South Africa. Rooibos is Dutch for red bush and is pronounced ROY BOSS. It has the most antioxidants known to man and is rich in minerals and vitamins. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties and helps to protect the DNA from free radicals. 

Fruit Infusions

These tisanes were developed in Europe and consist of apples, rosehips, hibiscus and a myriad of other fruits and botanicals. This is a great beverage for kids because it is high in vitamin c and is caffeine-free. Fruit infusion can be enjoyed hot or iced and you can even freeze into pops.

Mate

This plant grows in Argentina and is consumed throughout South America. It is high in caffeine and slightly bitter. The traditional way of consuming this beverage is in a gourd with a bombilla straw. Many people can be seen in the streets of Buenos Aries sipping on their bombilla. High in Vitamin B.

Additional Information

Oxidation is a term used to describe the browning that takes place when a leaf is crushed. This chemical reaction is what turns a tea into a green, oolong or black tea.

The oxidation process is halted using a variety of methods. In Japan, the tea leaves are steamed and dried. In China the leaves are stir-fried in woks or dryers. Sometimes the leaves are smoked over burning pine needles. In India, the leaves are placed in dyers and tumbled dry.