Green, Black, White and More: Tea 101

July 15, 2013

Trying to make the switch from coffee to tea? Or just trying to vary your beverage routine- here is your Tea 101

What is Tea?
Tea is a beverage made only from the leaves of the varietals of the camellia bush, particularly Camellia sinensis, Camellia assamica, and Camellia Cambodia.

How to Buy?
Purchase teas in bulk by the ounce for the best deal (but definitely shop around for quality). Four ounces of loose-leaf tea makes 50 cups. Buy teabags with whole or broken leaves for the fullest flavor, teabags with dust or fannings offer the least flavor.

How to Read the Label:
Check expiration date, weight or bag count, country of origin on tins. Blends: may be a mixture of countries, tea estates, or tea varieties from India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon tea), Taiwan, China, Japan, or 30 others. Loose or bagged premium teas: single estates, hand harvested and processed. Teas may be scented or flavored with fruit, flowers, vegetable essences, or spices, you may want to avoid natural flavors if you have food allergies.

The way tea is processed results in: white and greens, steamed or withered; oolongs: oxidized 2 to 80 percent, blacks: oxidized 100 percent, green pu-erh: aged 3 months to fifty years!

How to Use:
Use 6 oz. of water per serving. White, and green teas: 1 level tsp., water should be 70-185º F.; brew tea 30 seconds to 1 ½ minutes; oolongs: 1 heaping tsp. of tea, water should be 185-195ºF., brew from 2-4 minutes; black tea: 1 tsp. of tea, water should be 205 ºF. steep for 3-5 minutes; pu-erh: l heaping tsp., 212ºF. steep for 3-5 minutes; matcha, ¼ tsp., 170-185º F., whisk in deep bowl until frothy, drink in 3-4 sips.

How to Store?
Keep all tea in airtight containers (tins, glass, ceramic) in cool dark cupboard. Blacks, pu-erhs up to 1 yr., all others, 2 months. Refrigerate matcha, which is the powdered tea for the Japanese tea ceremony.

Health Benefits:
Stimulates, calms from natural stimulants, theine, theobromine. All teas are high in antioxidants.

Smarter Shopping:
Herbal “teas” or tisanes are infusions made w/plants, tree bark or leaves, flowers, herbs and are not true tealeaves. Most are caffeine or stimulant free, except yerba mate (mateine).

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