IT’S NATIONAL TEA DAY!
And we’ve decided to bring you A Beginners Guide to Tea!
In honor of one of our favorite hobbies we have decided to do a post entirely about tea today! This is the Beginners Guide to Tea we wanted when we started drinking tea. It’s gonna be great.
So, it’s getting, gotten, warm around here, but the flowers aren’t quite blooming in my area. They’re SO close. For days when I want a little spring in my day I make blooming tea. It’s this hand woven ball of tea. The taste overall is fairly weak but it’s so pretty. Plus it makes the dreary days a little brighter with their wonderful appearance. SEE!
Now that we have our touch of spring lets talk different teas. We are going to focus on the four more known teas in this post but know there is so much out there to try! First you will find what tea is, at the bottom you will find picture of our tea equipment and some of our favorite moments so make sure you make it to the end!
What is tea?
An often-surprising fact is that all teas (Black, Green, Oolong, White, and Pu’erh) come from the Camellia sinensis plant (it’s actually related to the lovely camellia flowers seen in botanical gardens and landscapes). Anything else is called Herbal tea or tisane which we will also talk about.
What is in Tea?
The three primary components of brewed tea are:
- Essential Oils – these provide tea’s delicious aromas and flavors.
- Polyphenols – these provide the “briskness” or astringency in the mouth and are the components that also carry most of the health benefits of tea.
- Caffeine – found naturally in coffee, chocolate, and tea caffeine provides tea’s natural energy boost.
How do we get different teas?
All teas go through the same basic processing: Plucking, Withering, Rolling, Oxidizing, Firing. Basically the leaves get picked, are allowed to wilt, are rolled out to shape the leaves and wring out juices, then are oxidized (same idea as fermentation of grapes for wine), and then they are fired to stop the oxidation process. The Oxidation step is the step that defines what category the tea will fit into.
Black tea goes through the entire process above. It is allowed to oxidize more than any of the other teas mention. with only Pu-erh Tea beating it in the amount oxidation (although this is argued weather Pu-erh is allowed to oxidize since it follows the same processing as Green Tea and then is aged) basically the oxidation happens at a different point in the processing to my understanding. Anyways, Black tea tends to have the strongest flavors and is the most popular base for ice tea. It is best brewed with boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. It contains the most caffeine in the teas in this post.
Green Tea goes through all the processes except for the oxidation. It is only allowed the little of natural oxidation that happens as it goes through the other steps. The fresh leaves are steamed or pan-fired to prevent the browning of the leafs. Flavors are typically grass in nature. These teas are best brewed for 2 to 3 minutes with near boiling water. It has some caffeine but not much.
This tea is practically unprocessed. It doesn’t get rolled and only the little bit of natural oxidation while drying the leaves is allowed. This tea tends to be the most aromatic and delicate in flavor. It is best brewed with near boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. This Tea has very little caffeine.
Herbal tea (often refereed to as Tisanes, meaning herbal infusion) is usually dried flowers, fruits, and/or herbs. They actually don’t contain any tea leaves. While it varies depending on the flowers, fruits, and herbs in your tea on average you want boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes when brewing this tea.
Fun side fact:
Chamomile was first known as the Ebers Papyrus in 1550 BC and was used to honor the gods in Egypt.
Our Favorite Flavors
The most popular black teas are Earl Grey and English Breakfast. (Which happens to be two of our favorites) Others include Lady Grey (Our top favorite) which is Earl Grey with some citrus/fruity undertones, and Chai Tea most famous for the latte you can make with it.
Now this is Katy’s go to tea in the mornings. One of the most popular forms of green tea is Matcha right now. Which has done wonders for energy level, thought clarity, and so much more. Two of our favorite flavor combinations are Mint and Cucumber Mint. They add a bit of freshness to the green tea. At least to us.
Now we don’t drink much white tea but it should still be mentioned. White teas tend to be mixed with spices and some fruits such as: rhubarb, cinnamon, coconut, ginger, sage, etc… While we haven’t found any that make us jump for joy white teas have good flavor; they are defiantly worth trying if you haven’t, even just once.
These are best know for their home remedies. Peppermint Tea for an upset stomach, Chamomile Tea for help sleeping, etc… However there is so much more out there! Celestial (our go to brand for Herbal teas) Has an amazing Country Peach Passion that with a touch of honey is to die for. It taste like summer in a cup to me. Apple, Apricot, and Blueberry are also really common flavors throughout herbal teas.
Loose or Bag Tea?
Well, it depends on time, energy, and what we want. We keep the basics in bagged form for easy brewing (especially on the go). But some of the more elaborate tea (Jasmine Pearls & Peach Tranquility anyone) we tend to have in loose form. With strainers and pitcher infuser when we are having a tea party to out little personal infuser for just one relaxing cup loose leaf tea is nothing to fear. Make sure you store you loose leaf tea in air tight containers. We store ours in Mason Jars, but there are tons of options.
This rock sugar is my favorite and can be found on Amazon for a great price: here!
What is tea without a friend?
We also make sure to watch some Downton Abbey while drinking tea whenever we are together.
What is your favorite way to enjoy tea?
What are your favorite tea?
Let us know below!!
-Megan & Katy