Learn About Tea
The tea species Camellia sinensis produces all the varieties of tea: green, black, oolong, pu-erh and white. The growing season, geographic region and processing of the leaves create the many varieties and contribute to each tea’s uniqueness. The special care given during processing brings out the natural subtleties of flavor and creates a visual aesthetic that is unique to each tea. This is part of the mystique of tea. No two teas are exactly alike. Each growing season creates a unique leaf and taste. So if you like a particular tea, remember that each harvest offers a new experience.
With tastes that are light and refreshing, green tea is the perfect addition to any diet. Due to the way green tea is processed, it is healthy as well as delicious. The leaves used to make green tea are heated soon after picking in order to stop the process of oxidation. By minimally processing the leaves, the tea’s nutrients are unaltered and the high levels of antioxidants are preserved. The final drying techniques finish the leaf to create its ultimate appearance when dry. Green teas are a natural and delicious way to include antioxidants in any diet.
Among the different types of tea, black tea has traditionally been the most popular in the United States. With the trend towards natural health, green teas are emerging as a favored drink. The popularity of green tea has created a field of research that is proving the therapeutic benefits of this ancient beverage. Green tea has been shown to increase bone density in women. There is strong evidence that it helps prevent cancer and heart disease. Tea’s polyphenols may be 100 times more effective than Vitamin C and 25 times more effective than Vitamin E. Green tea has been shown to help control cholesterol. There is also evidence that green tea increases metabolism that can promote weight loss, combined with exercise and a healthy diet. As more studies of the benefits of green tea are conducted, science will further confirm what many tea drinking cultures already know about the positive effects of regular tea consumption. Click hear to find out more about the Health Benefits of tea.
We offer a selection of green teas, which create a range of flavors. Longjing is nutty and rich. Maojian is almost like a white tea that is picked in spring from young buds and shoots. Huangshan Maofeng tea is well known for a complex fruity taste. Our Yunnan green teas are grown in remote areas of China high in the mountains. The green teas of China offer a wide range of flavors and varieties.
When brewing tea remember that each type of tea is brewed slightly differently, and green teas are very heat and time sensitive. Don't be surprised if it takes you a few brews to get the concentration and flavor you are after. PRACTICE! Click here for Brewing Instructions.
Pu-erh teas are known in China as "medicinal teas". Although green tea has gotten all the press, pu-erh teas are finally being enjoyed in the West. We believe pu-erh teas merit a place among the tea shelves of Americans.
The Pu-erh teas we carry are from the Dayeh (large leaf) species of broad leaf tea trees of Yunnan, China. These trees are believed to be an older variety of the modern, smaller leafed tea bush. Some pu-erh tea trees can be ancient, the oldest known tree is over 2000 years old!
Pu-erh leaves are processed differently than green tea leaves. They are oxidized similar to an oolong tea, but not as long as black tea. The leaves are then dried loose or compressed into tea bricks, tea cakes or Tuochas that look like bird nests. For most Americans, tea in this state is a unique visual experience. Some tea cakes have been aged in caves to develop their particularly earthy flavor.
Pu-erh tea has yet to be researched to the same degree as green tea, but what we do know is that pu-erh tea has unique benefits that the other teas do not. In particular, pu-erh helps decrease blood cholesterol levels and improves fat metabolism. We believe that as research on this tea increases, science will confirm the special metabolic stimulation that pu-erh teas offer. It is thought that pu-erh tea’s unique double fermentation may create special enzymes and microbes that offer the body micronutrients essential for better health.
Many coffee drinkers enjoy pu-erh’s rich, deep flavors. Since pu-erh tea has less caffeine than coffee, it is a great alternative for those looking to decrease caffeine intake but still like a full bodied beverage. Tea also provides health benefits not found in coffee and is a great addition to anyone’s diet. One cup of pu-erh tea with each meal has shown to stimulate weight loss. We suggest trying the "Pu-erh Diet". Drink 1 cup with each meal for one month and decide for yourself. Tea will balance the body’s systems and stimulate a more functional metabolism.
Our pu-erh teas come in loose leaf and compressed forms. The loose leaf is easy to measure and generally milder tasting. The compressed Pingchas and brick tea are usually more hearty tasting. Made with fine leaves our dragon cakes are a high grade, smooth pu-erh. Some of the Chitsu Pingchas are aged and are quite strong and earthy. The pu-erh lover will enjoy these special cakes, although a newcomer to pu-erh may find these aged teas robust. Some enjoy drinking pu-erh tea initially, for others the deep red liquid’s mellow taste is an acquired one. We are truly fortunate to offer select grades of pu-erh that make drinking it a delight. Again, each tea has a slightly different character that actually gets better and smoother with age. We happily offer these fine, healthful teas for your exploration and enjoyment.
Oolong tea(also known as wu-long tea) is a variety of semi-fermented (oxidized) tea that is known for its intense and flowery qualities. Oolongs range from bright green and slightly fermented to dark-leafed and hearty. The greener varieties are less fermented and one can see the slight withering and browning of the edges where the leaves were allowed to oxidize. These edges are bruised through shaking to assist the process of oxidation. The tea is then dried fully, locking in the rich flavors that wu-long tea is known to offer. Oolong’s unique drying process creates a tea that has many metabolic stimulating attributes and can be used for weight management in addition to a well balanced diet.
Oolong teas offer a spectrum of flavors that impart unique notes and elegant bouquets. Some oolongs are light and sweet. A good example of this type of green oolong is our Formosa oolong. This tea presents beautiful large leaves that are tightly rolled. Tieguanyin is another favorite that we offer in several grades. These thick, shiny dark green leaves release a flowery, amber brew. Moderately fermented, Tieguanyin is a balanced and great all purpose tea. Wuyi Cliff teas are grown in Fujian Province where the weather is mild all year and the mountains are misty and cool. Nature creates an environment where many sub-species of tea trees exist and many distinct types of oolong tea are grown. Our dark Wuyi oolongs such as Dahongpao and Tieluohan offer rich lasting flavors. These leaves are highly fermented before they are twisted and dried. These more fermented oolongs are known to aid digestion. These offer a great complement to our Pu-erh teas for a balanced weight loss program. By increasing one’s daily tea consumption to 4-10 cups (5 oz cups) the body will perform at an optimum level with an increased feeling of energy and vitality. We are happy to carry some of the finest oolong teas China has to offer and encourage your spirited explorations.
Baozhong teas can be classified between green and oolong varieties. Steamed soon after picking, green tea is not allowed to oxidize. This quick drying preserves all the antioxidants and nutrients which have made green tea so well known. Alternatively, oolong tea is oxidized to varying degrees. What differentiates Baozhong from these teas is the special slow-fired drying process which allows the tea to lightly oxidize while drying. As a result of this processing, Baozhong tea retains many of the health benefits of a green tea and provides some of the metabolic effects of an oolong. Because of Baozhong’s great taste, we recommend it to those who find green tea too astringent but still want the enjoyment and benefits of regular tea drinking.
Baozhong tea originated in Fujian, China. The tea is quite voluminous due to the special drying process which does not include rolling or twisting. The leaves are long and slender and retain a deep bright appearance when steeped. Many fine Baozhong’s are now grown in Taiwan. These teas have a unique flavor because of Taiwan’s cool mountains and ocean breezes. Whether the teas are grown in Taiwan or China they all posses health promoting attributes and light, refreshing tastes.
WHITE AND YELLOW TEA
White teas can really be classified as a subgroup of green teas, but have recently gained a status of their own because of their high antioxidant content. White tea is a particular strain of tea plant that is known to originate in the Fujian province. It is now planted in other parts of China making it more available.
White teas are not fermented. The leaves are steamed shortly after picking. White teas are left close to its natural state and offers a great choice for anyone seeking tea’s antioxidant benefits. The leaves of our Baihao Yinzhen consist of young shoots that were picked before they opened. It has a white downy covering and produces a light aroma when brewed. Yellow teas are processed slightly differently than white tea. Unlike white tea, which is dried fast, yellow teas are dried more slowly, producing a yellow-orange beverage that is extremely fragrant.
White teas produce a yellow hued brew that delivers a distinctive mellow flavor. White tea has been shown to have greater levels of antioxidants than other green teas, mainly because of the minimal processing that white tea undergoes. Some studies indicate that white tea may be 5 times more effective than green tea in combating cancer. White tea is also said to contain more caffeine than other teas. However, it is not the caffeine alone that gives white tea it’s healthful properties. It is the other micronutrients that work in tandem with the caffeine, which makes white tea so potent. White and green teas have also been shown to possibly help increase fertility in women. Whether you are looking for the antioxidant benefits of tea or just want something different, white and yellow teas provide unique flavors combined with significant health benefits. Add them to your tea shelf for something new.
Technically called Tisanes, Herbal Teas are infusions made herbs and not tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. When steeped in hot water the essence of the herb is extracted. Traditionally herbal tisanes are used for their medicinal and healing properties. However, there are many that are also enjoyed simply for their taste. China produces and entire pharmacy of herbs.
Herbal teas offer the tea drinker caffeine free alternatives. We are happy to offer this complement to our other natural teas. Currently, we are offering Rosebud and Chrysanthemum herbal teas. The Rosebud is a favorite that is truly soothing and comforting. In China it is known as a woman’s herb but it is also useful for aiding digestion. Even a hardcore tea drinker will surely enjoy the flowery freshness of these miniature rosebuds. The Chrysanthemum has a unique flavor. It is used to cool the body and reduce fever Click to see how to brew herbal tea.
Herbals are great beverages to have at night when you might not want caffeine. Our kids love the Rosebud tea. We are proud to offer these caffeine free treats for our customers that enjoy quality herbals.
Black tea is what most people think of when they imagine a cup of tea. We have grown up drinking bagged varieties of black teas from around the world. Most (80%) of the world’s tea consumption is black tea. China’s major export of tea is still predominantly black tea. Black teas are fully fermented teas and have the highest amounts of caffeine of any of the tea varieties. Black tea also has the least amount of antioxidants and essential nutrients. In China these are also known as Hong (red) teas. Our full leafed black tea is a strong, deep tea that is highly satisfying.
Black teas are highly processed and undergo oxidation and roasting to create their rich flavors. Although they are processed more than other teas, they can still be a healthy addition to any diet. Research has shown that decreased stroke incidence in men was directly related to flavinoid intake, 70% of which was found to come from black tea consumption.
Because black tea has such a mellow taste it easily blends with other flavors. Many well known teas are, in fact, made by adding flavorings to black tea. Our black tea is unblended. It has a rich, full flavor. Whether you like it plain or with milk, this black tea satisfies any palate.