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Tea Health Benefits

Effects of Caffeine on The Human Body 

May 24, 2022

Caffeine is what so many of us use to get through our day…but do you really know what it’s doing to your body? Studies have shown that caffeine is neutral, or even beneficial in small doses. However, drinking it in excess can lead to serious health complications. Below, we’re covering the effects of caffeine on the human body by each system, and calling awareness to foods that have hidden caffeine — and that should be consumed in moderation. 

What is caffeine? 

Caffeine can be found either naturally, such as in tea, or artificially — such as in energy drinks or other beverages like soft drinks. In the body, it directly affects the brain’s uptake of a compound called adenosine. Adenosine works actively to make us feel drowsy, and will be secreted naturally at the end of the day, and rises in concentrations until we eventually fall asleep. By blocking the receptors that accept adenosine, caffeine is very effective at keeping you awake. 

What are the effects of caffeine on the human body? 

Beyond what we have discussed, there are many other effects that caffeine has on the human body. We’ve explained them systematically below: 

The cardiovascular system

Caffeine’s effects on heart rates are well known. In excess, you can experience palpitations, hypertension, and other complications from caffeine, either natural or artificial. The reason why caffeine has a direct effect on your heart is due to its ability to stimulate the “fight or flight” compounds in the body: noradrenaline and norepinephrine. This can be dangerous if you build up a tolerance over time, and begin boosting your intake to feel the same effects that you once did. 

The digestive system 

Caffeine is known to stimulate your digestive system and can aid in motility-related problems. The result of this is that food and beverages will move much quicker through the digestive tract, and can result in loose stool passing quickly through your colon. This only happens in some people, as others may not be as sensitive to its effects, or may have built up a tolerance over time. 

The neurological system 

What many may not know about caffeine is its direct effects on the neurological system. Overall, caffeine intake can reduce blood flow to the brain, but boost the amount of energy that it expends. It also triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. This stimulates the reward centers and pleasure centers, making you feel satisfied. It’s no wonder that so many people are dependent on their first cup of morning coffee! 

The skeletal system 

Caffeine consumption can block the absorption of calcium in your bones, which can put you at risk for conditions such as osteoporosis, or recurring fracture. It also actively lowers your bone mineral density, which makes your bones more porous over time. There are also ongoing studies that point to the potential correlation of caffeine consumption and obesity rates, as it may inhibit the body’s natural weight regulation processes. 

Is caffeine bad for you? 

Caffeine isn’t inherently bad for you, especially when consumed in moderation. The risk of caffeine comes with overconsumption, as with anything else. In fact, caffeine actually has some benefits that you can enjoy with your daily cup, including: 

  • Memory: You can get a hearty memory boost when you enjoy caffeine, and also get a powerful jolt of energy. That’s why so many people enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, as it can help you to feel energized, alert, and ready to take on your day. 
  • Preventative wellness: Enjoying caffeine regularly through tea or coffee is linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Research continues to be ongoing to discover additional effects. 

If you’re looking to cut down your consumption of caffeine, you’re likely wondering how much caffeine your daily cup of tea has. Caffeination levels in tea aren’t generally calculated with exacting formulas and science. They are estimated and rounded to get you the most accurate level possible. It also depends entirely on your blend of tea. If you’re drinking a cup of loose leaf black tea, you’re likely averaging 47mg of caffeine per cup.

What foods have naturally occurring caffeine in them? 

There are a variety of food and beverages that have naturally occurring caffeine in them, including: 

  • Chocolate 
  • Black tea
  • White tea
  • Green tea
  • Guarana 
  • Coffee

If you’re looking to avoid caffeine, you can opt for caffeine-free versions of these foods, or avoid them entirely. There are plenty of loose leaf herbal tea options online and or decaf teas you can find too. Ultimately, it’s finding what works for you in your journey of a full caffeine or free of caffeine lifestyle, but likely you’re somewhere in the middle!

Tea Recipes

Tea Party Favorites: Ten Top Snacks for Your Next Gathering 

May 18, 2022

There’s nothing quite as social and fun as a tea party. With lessened pandemic restrictions, we’re seeing more and more people gather for parties with their friends and loved ones. Or, maybe you feel like having a tea-centered date night with you and a partner. No matter what type of event you’re planning, there’s one inspiration that you can draw from for all of them: the delicious food you can pair with any number of loose leaf tea options.  If you’re looking for the perfect snacks for your next gathering, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive into the ten top snacks and favorites that you can make for your next tea party. 

What type of food is served at a tea party? 

Tea parties are known for their light eats and snacks that are generally enjoyed after lunch but before dinner. Because of this, we want to avoid anything excessively rich or fried. If you do have something that’s rich (i.e. lemon curd,) it’s served with something that is light to give the visitor the best of both experiences without overpowering the tea. Food made should be complementary to the tea, so we also want to avoid any overly strong flavors or smells that would dull the taste and sensory experience of the tea. 

1. Mixed Berry Tartlets 

Tarts are delicious at a tea party, no matter what filling is used. Tartlets are even better and give you the full taste and experience of a tart without being excessively heavy or large. This mixed berry tartlet is an excellent pick to kick off your tea party, as its rich custard filling is tempered by the light, floral-tasting fruit and berry mixture. The crust is buttery soft and flakes to the touch, making this the perfect snack to enjoy next to a cup of your favorite tea.

2. Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies with Lemon Glaze 

What better snack for your tea party than a snack that intermingles delicious flavors with raw, pure-tasting Earl Grey tea? These shortbread cookies are decadent without being too heavy and offer a delicious, crumbled texture. The lemon glaze offers that familiar “zing” that you can enjoy with lemon in tea and makes the flavor profile brighter and more suitable for similar teas. We know you won’t be able to get enough of this delicious cookie! 

 3. Charcuterie Boards with Extra Cheese 

We know that this suggestion comes as a surprise to many of you, but rich and harder cheeses can actually pair excellently with tea. This is especially true in the case of a charcuterie board, where you can enjoy a variety of other bread, biscuits, jams, and treats alongside your cup! Our favorite unconventional pairings include a Creme Brulee Oolong tea with a rich, salty-savory sheep’s milk cheese, or another loose leaf black tea alongside some imported French Camembert. You can always mix and match pairings for yourself as well, and see if anything else unconventional and new suits your taste preference! 

Looking for more new tea recipes to try? Check out our top list of tea-infused desserts you won’t be able to put down!

 4. Basil & Shrimp Tea Sandwiches

This sandwich is more nutrient-dense than most tea sandwich types you’ll see and is perfect for a late afternoon tea that will precede your lighter dinner choices. The shrimp provides a nutty, sweet flavor to the spread that cuts nicely with the herby notes of the basil, making this the perfect sandwich to enjoy next to a cup of herbal tea. This recipe is also rare to find used, so we believe that this will be the “one” to impress your next tea party guests! 

5. Mini Quiches 

Mini quiches are delicious and exceptionally easy to make, despite their complex and rich flavor profile. Quiches are very versatile as well, allowing you to adapt the taste and additions to your overall taste and preference. This recipe can be made in minutes, using items you find around the house, in your fridge, and with your mini muffin tin. Greet your guests with the delicious smell of their tea party favorites and your favorite tea blends…we’re sure you won’t be able to get enough! 

6. Mini Lemon Meringue Pies 

This recipe is a bit more involved, but nothing quite beats the flavor and freshness that mini lemon meringues can bring to your next gathering or celebration. These pies feature a rich, creamy meringue topping and the famous lemon-pie filling that blends perfectly with really any flavored tea blend you choose. They are delicious, light, and the overall perfect tea snack for any season or occasion — but we especially love these in the summer months. 

7. Smoked Salmon Canapes 

While this one may seem unconventional, it’s another blend that can’t be missed at your next gathering. Smoked salmon is delicious in any vessel or recipe, and offers that unique, savory-smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with a variety of tea blends. Smoked salmon has become fairly easy to find at your local grocery store, making this recipe both easy to make and next-level tasty for your next tea party! 

Tea History & Culture

Tea Wellness: Mindful Tea Making 101

March 29, 2022

It’s no secret that meditation is a huge factor in overall health and wellness. When it’s difficult to meditate, you can build moments of mindfulness into the day through simple activities like brewing and enjoying a cup of tea. Before we jump in, let’s discuss mindfulness.

What is being mindful? Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we’re doing and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It’s another form of meditation. That might sound trivial, except that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that can makes us anxious. Mindfulness is rooted in Zen Buddhist meditation practices, used for centuries throughout East Asia. Buddhism, which offers up many ways to bring focus to our everyday lives, has a long historical association with tea. Buddhist monks living in mountain monasteries have long used tea growing nearby to help maintain a gentle alertness whilst meditating. Even today, tea is served in monasteries and beyond to encourage a state of focus, clarity and emotional balance.

When we think of tea, what comes to mind? For us, calm and relaxing are the first words to come up. The association of tea with relaxation and meditation is no accident. Closely intertwined with Buddhism, especially Zen buddhism, tea is often seen as an aid for meditation, stemming hunger, clearing the mind and curbing intense reactions. Buddhism deems that tea helps with cultivating the body and mind. Therefore, drinking tea has become a common practice of monks. As recorded in the Song Dynasty, monks “get up, wash their face and hands, and drink tea in the morning. Then, they sit during meditation and then take a nap. When they get up, they wash face and hands, and drink tea. They have a meal. Then, they wash face and hands, and drink tea.” In brief, everything is connected to tea. 

The main tea that is drank during these ceremonies is Matcha. Matcha can calm your stressed mind and provide your central nervous system relaxation. It creates sustainability to mental alertness. The property of this type of Green Tea to keep your mind relaxed and calm is the first reason Buddhists monks choose to consume Green Tea over any other tea type.

When you think of meditation, you might think of someone sitting on the floor with their legs crossed and eyes closed. The truth is, meditation can be anything that you do where you are fully present. Have you ever been driving on the freeway listening to your favorite song and realize that you missed your exit by a few stops? That was a form of meditation! Not everyone can jump right in and sit and have their mind go completely still. It takes practice and can improve your overall life in many ways.

These days we are constantly on our phones and computers and the notifications don’t stop popping up. Our minds are constantly hopping from one thing to the next. When you meditate, you may clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress. The mental and emotional benefits of meditation can include:

  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
  • Building skills to manage your stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Focusing on the present
  • Reducing negative emotions
  • Increasing imagination and creativity
  • Increasing patience and tolerance

Now, how do tea and meditation go together? One of the easiest ways to start being mindful is to pay attention. That mind sound silly but stick with me here! When you are making your tea in the morning (or anytime) pay attention to everything you do. Have you ever stood and truly listened? As the bubbles start to form there’s an orchestra of shifting sounds. It’s a good time to put down your phone and take a moment. When you are getting your tea out of the tin, listen to the strainer scoop up the tea leaves and hit the side of the can. As the water meets the tea leaves, colors slowly swirl and deepen. Depending on the tea, you might be able to see the leaves unfurl as they start to infuse. This is a good moment to observe and quieten those thoughts that are often whirling around in our heads – you might find it’s quite noisy in there! As you bring the cup to your lips, maybe you can feel the warmth of steam on your face, and notice the different aromas that meet your nostrils. Sip slowly and savor each sip.

This is a great way to tap in to finding your inner peace and help in thinking more clearly from day-to-day, all thanks to our favorite thing, tea.

Tea Guides

A Beginners Guide: The Six Types of Teas

March 23, 2022

All teas come from the same plant called Camillea Sinensis. What makes these teas different from one another is the processing of the tea leaves. There are six mains types of teas: Black Tea, White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong, Dark and Yellow Tea. You may be reading this thinking, “Well what about Rooibos and Chamomile? These are actually considered Tisanes. Lets jump into all six of these teas and their qualities!

White Tea

White tea is known to be one of the most delicate tea varieties because it is so minimally processed. White tea 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. White tea is typically only harvested in spring.

White tea has a very light, refreshing taste to it. You can expect sweet honey notes and lightly vegetal flavors, from a delicate Silver Needle to a more full-bodied White Peony.

White tea has many benefits to it as well! Thanks to minimal processing, white tea has the most antioxidants of all. These help protect the body from free radicals, fight disease and keep you and your immune system healthy. White teas have also been shown to help reverse skin damage caused by stress, diet and sun, and can even help the skin to rebuild resistance to stress.

Black Tea

Black tea is one of the most popular tea selections out there. It has a bold flavor and long shelf life. There are many types of black tea ranging from Earl Grey to English breakfast. Black tea leaves are allowed to fully oxidize before being processed and dried, which makes the leaves dark brown and gives the tea its signature flavor profile. Black teas tend to be bold and brisk, and they are often described as astringent.

After the leaves are picked, they are gently bruised and allowed to fully oxidise. During this process the leaves will turn from the green you see on the bush to the brown we recognize as tea, before finally being dried.

Black tea is loaded with health benefits. Thanks to their high caffeine content, black teas will give you that kick to get you out of bed in the morning. Unlike coffee, the caffeine in black tea is slow-release and therefore leaves you feeling energised for longer. Black tea is also naturally high in flavonoids, powerful antioxidants known to help lower cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Green Tea

Green tea is another extremely popular tea among tea drinkers. The taste of green tea varies. Green teas can range from the sweet, floral character of a Chinese green, such as Jade Tips, to an intense vegetal Japanese Sencha, the flavor depending on where the leaves are grown and how the leaves are heated. Green tea is widely believed to be bitter in taste. However, this is usually due to burning the leaves with boiling water. When brewed at lower temperatures the resulting flavor should be smooth, clean and even sweet. The leaves are plucked, slightly withered, then immediately cooked to preserve the green quality and prevent oxidization. As a result of these methods, green teas have a much higher concentration of chlorophyll, polyphenols, and antioxidants than other tea types. 

Green tea has been shown to have positive effects on parts of the brain used for memory, increasing cognitive functions. Green tea is also a favorite for many nutritionists thanks to its effect on the metabolism. Matcha, in particular, is often included in smoothies, energy balls and pre-workout snacks.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is often overlooked despite having some of the most varied and exciting flavor profiles. From lighter ‘green’ oolongs to the darker, more heavily oxidised oolongs, it is this varying level of oxidation that makes this tea type so exciting, offering a huge spectrum of flavour. Expect everything from a light and floral to a dark and aromatic.

After the leaves are picked (usually whole shoots), they are gently withered to remove some of the moisture from the leaf, before being tumbled in a bamboo drum. This process bruises the leaves and provokes oxidation. Oolongs are semi-oxidised which means that unlike black teas which are allowed to oxidise fully, for oolongs the process is halted after a certain time. The period of oxidation varies depending on the type of oolong being produced and can vary from 10% oxidation for a ‘green’ oolong, to over 60% for a darker Oolong. The leaves are then pan fired at high temperatures before being rolled and dried.

Oolong has been shown to help so many areas of your skin! From anti-aging to eczema to a healthy radiant glow, oolong is the way to go!

Dark Tea

Many people assume dark teas and black teas are the same. They are not! Dark teas are actually closer to green teas in they way that they are processed in the beginning. They then go through a fermentation process. The most common dark tea is Pu’er tea. It is one of the oldest types of tea, with a history dating back more than 2,000 years. Pu-erh teas are often described as having a subtle mushroom-like taste. This ancient tea originates in Yunnan province on China’s southwestern frontier, where a temperate climate and lush landscapes, teeming with biodiversity, provide ideal growing conditions for tea. 

In China, pu-erh tea has long been sipped to achieve a variety of health benefits, such as improvements in heart health and reductions in cholesterol levels. It’s also said that pu-erh tea can help promote weight loss, enhance eyesight, stimulate circulation, and soothe hangovers.

Yellow Tea

Yellow tea is produced similarly to white tea and green tea though an additional step is added. This extra step produces a tea that brews into a golden hue and features a mellow flavor without grassy notes. Yellow tea is a Chinese tea that is difficult to find outside of China. That’s because the process to produce this tea is time intensity, requires additional labor, and proves to be difficult when it comes to large-scale quality control. As a result, there are only three main types of yellow tea available on the market today!

Yellow tea undergoes a production process that is similar to green tea but includes one extra, time-consuming step. The leaves are harvested in early spring and immediately dried using direct sunlight or gentle pan-firing. Once dry, the leaves are wrapped in wet paper or cloth to induce a mild oxidation process through steaming. The yellow tea leaves are oxidized for up to three days and may undergo additional firing or drying rounds. This tea processing method produces a yellowing effect on the tea leaves.

Yellow tea is packed with antioxidants including polyphenols and catechins that are beneficial to overall health. These antioxidants work to prevent damage known as oxidative stress, which is caused by the presence of free radicals. This type of stress is known to breakdown healthy cellular processes and can contribute to premature aging as well as mental decline. The tea is naturally calorie-free, making it a good choice for people on weight loss plans that are looking to replace sugary sodas with healthier alternatives.

Tea Health Benefits

Caffeine Content in Tea and How It’s Determined

March 21, 2022
how much caffeine is in tea

Each day, billions of people rely on caffeine to wake up, or to get through a work shift or that dreaded 3 pm afternoon slump. In fact, this natural stimulant is one of the most commonly used ingredients in the world. Eighty percent of the world’s population consumes a caffeinated product each day, and this number goes up to 90% for adults in North America. So what is caffeine and how does caffeine in tea effect us?

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants. When you consume caffeine, it blocks the effects of adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that relaxes the brain and makes you feel tired. Adenosine levels build up throughout the day, making you increasingly more tired and causing you to want to go to sleep. Caffeine helps you stay awake by connecting to adenosine receptors in the brain without activating them. This blocks the effects of adenosine, leading to reduced tiredness.

What is the difference in tea and coffee?

Put simply, the caffeine in tea and coffee are digested differently. The caffeine in tea binds with an amino acid called L-theanine. This bond is what makes tea caffeine act in a slower, more controlled way. Instead of a relatively short, intense burst of energy like you would get from coffee, you get a prolonged, slow-release form of energy. You won’t notice a burst of energy, sweaty palms or jitters. But you’ll become much calmer, and focused.

The way coffee works is that it gives you a nice jolt of energy a couple of minutes after ingesting it, and you will almost suddenly feel awake. You’ll notice the coffee is working if you’re starting to get a bit jittery, possibly a bit sweaty, and feel like you have to do everything at once. This is because the caffeine from coffee passes right into the bloodstream, and has a very powerful direct effect. There is no gentleness, just a direct need to get up and do something.

What determines the caffeine content in tea?

There are a handful of factors that determine how much caffeine is in each cup of tea you make. They range from steep time, water temperature, the amount of tea leaf used, harvest time and type of leaf used. Any tea that is a true tea that comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant will have some level of caffeine in it. Additionally, the shorter time you steep your tea, the less caffeine you will have in that cup.

Which teas have the highest and lowest levels of caffeine?

Black tea typically has the most caffeine of all the tea types. One of the reasons for this is a longer infusion time versus green along with higher steeping temperatures, typically boiling. Because black tea is oxidized, it allows more caffeine to be extracted from the leaf versus other types of tea. Matcha is another tea that is high up on the list of most caffeinated tea drinks due to the fact that you consume the entire leaf. Herbal teas (which are teas that are not from the Camellia Sinesis plant) will have little to no caffeine in them.

Daily caffeine consumption.

Daily recommended caffeine should be about 400 milligrams, which is 4 “cups” of coffee, but cups being 8 ounces, it really means 2 large cups to a lot of people. With black tea coming in around half the caffeine as coffee (45 per cup versus 90 for coffee) you can enjoy a lot more tea throughout the day.

Tea Health Benefits

The Best Teas to Help Alleviate a Sore Throat

February 22, 2022

Drinking fluids when you’re feeling under the wether is essential to help flush out toxins from the body. Warm liquids can be especially comforting when your throat is irritated. But sipping certain herbal teas like licorice root or green tea may have even greater benefits — like reducing throat swelling and helping to clear mucus. Why is this? Tea is packed with amino acids and antioxidants that can help speed up the process in addition to traditional medicines to help you recover quicker. Even if you take all the necessary precautions like booster, flu shot, diligently washing your hands, you may still end up under the weather. Let’s jump in to the best teas to help you through those times!

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is known to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping to reduce swelling and repair tissue. It’s also an antispasmodic, meaning it can help to reduce any coughing as well. And inhaling chamomile steam is a popular home remedy for treating respiratory issues associated with the common cold.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is an amazing drink to have when your throat is irritated. Because peppermint contains menthol, it acts as an effective decongestant and soothing agent. It’s a great choice before bedtime, as it helps aid in digestion, too. The antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory components of green tea all help in dealing with cold symptoms.

Black Tea

When you’re feeling under the weather, skip your morning cup of joe for a caffeinated cup of black tea. Not only will it wake you up, but it also has compounds called tannins that will help reduce inflammation and relieve sore throat pain. You can also gargle black tea at a comfortable temperature to help reduce inflammation.

Ginger Tea

Ginger helps in soothing a sore throat in two ways – one by relieving the pain and second by fighting the infections. Ginger is huge in the wellness space for a reason. Ginger root is loaded with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which can help fight off sickness at its root. Ginger may also help with lowering body temperature and reducing fever. Adding a dash of cinnamon can help increase the antibacterial effects.

Green Tea

Green tea contains powerful antioxidant compounds called polyphenols that may help your immune system fight off cold and flu viruses. Green tea is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties which may help to alleviate discomfort of a sore throat. These properties come from a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which reduces inflammatory proteins in your body. This is important because sore throat is most often caused by inflammation of the pharynx, or back of your throat due to a cold or flu.

Tea Tips:

  • Try adding fresh lemon to your cup of tea. Lemon is packed with Vitamin C! Vitamin C is a tried and true remedy for fighting infection and bolstering immunity.
  • Add a dash of cinnamon to increase the antibacterial effects in all of these cups of tea! Cinnamon is packed with antioxidants which lend it a mild analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Our Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea is a great tea to help your sore throat. Not only is it naturally caffeine free, its packed with cold busting ingredients like ginger, lemongrass, lemon peel, licorice and spearmint.
  • Add honey to your tea for extra throat soothing benefits. Honey is one of the best remedies for a sore throat due to its natural antibacterial properties that allows it to act as a wound healer, immediately offering relief for pain while working to reduce inflammation.

Aside from tea soothing a sore throat and alleviating symptoms, it is always best to check with a medical professional if you’re truly under the weather. Tea offers many benefits for helping you through these times. Even the simplicity of preparing and enjoying a cup of tea can help you to relax and soothe both the body and mind. Whether you or a loved one is suffering from a sore throat, we hope you feel better soon!

Tea Recipes

Tea Pairing 101: What Tea Should I Pair with my Meal

February 17, 2022

You may have heard of the traditional tea time foods like sandwiches, scones and cakes to pair with tea but what about every other meal? Just like certain wines pair perfectly with certain foods, tea is exactly the same. With their different flavor profiles, this makes for some delicious pairings that will enhance your culinary experience. Pairing tea with food is the perfect way to enhance the taste of a dish as well as the drink itself. For centuries, sommeliers and chefs have paired certain wines with certain foods. Most of us are familiar with the basic rules: Red wines to accompany rich, red meat dishes. White wines to accompany white meats, fish and vegetarian dishes. Dessert wines for… well, dessert!

There are a number of different types of tea including white, green, oolong pu’erh and black. Generally white tea has the most delicate and subtle flavors, black and dark teas having the deepest flavors and black tea the highest tannin content/astringency. When you have a dish in mind that you want to match a tea with, consider the weight of the dish and what type of tea has a similar intensity.

White Teas

Because of the extremely subtle flavor of white teas, we recommend pairing them with only the mildest of flavors so you do not miss the sweetness that is so loved in white tea. Pure white tea has a very delicate flavor, sometimes with notes of apricot and has a buttery mouthfeel. It is often seen in blends with fruits like peaches or flowers like roses or orange blossoms. Think of white tea as you would a delicate white fish. Its taste easily melds with whatever flavors it’s paired with. 

Pairing suggestions: oatmeal, yogurt, or other light dishes with fresh berries for breakfast and basmati rice, white fish and basic salads with lunch and dinner.

Our favorite white teas: White Peony, Dragonfruit and Citrus Blossom.

Green Teas

Green tea is known for its subtle taste and light and refreshing flavor profile in comparison to other types of tea like many varieties of black tea.  In general, the subtle, vegetative flavor and aroma of most green tea is well suited to mild or subtly flavored foods, such as seafood, rice, salads, melon or chicken. Green tea is also great to drink after meals as it has been shown to help aid in digestion!

Pairing suggestions: Fish, lemon, mint, basil, vinegar, smoked or barbecued meat.

Our favorite green teas: Gunpowder Green, Sencha, Moroccan Mint

Oolong

Many argue that the subtle complexity of flavor and aroma attributed to oolong tea demand drinking it on its own. However, because oolongs can range in character between green and black teas, many can be paired with food along the same lines as their green or black counterparts. For instance, greener oolongs tend to go well with scallops, lobster and other sweet rich foods, while darker oolongs compliment somewhat stronger-flavored foods such as duck and grilled meats.

Pairing suggestions: Bread and butter, fruit, roasted vegetables, milk chocolate, lightly salted foods.

Our favorite oolongs: Morning Oolong and Formosa.

Black Teas

The more robust flavors and aromas of most black teas, as well as the most pronounced tannins, are well suited to pairing with full-flavored foods such as meat and spicy dishes. Unlike green teas, black tea leaves have been cured and are therefore fully oxidized, resulting in a somewhat more astringent taste, together with malty and woody, roasted flavors similar to bread.

Pairing suggestions: Spicy food, beef, lamb, ham and chicken, lightly salted food, pasta dishes (like lasagna), and fruits.

Our favorite black teas: Darjeeling, Ceylon and Lapsang Souchong.

Pu’erh Tea

Worthy of special note, pu-erh teas are known for their digestive benefits. Pu-erh teas have a strong, earthy and distinctive flavor, and they make great choices alongside a chicken or stir-fry recipe, as they can neutralize the oily and greasy tastes. Thanks to their digestive benefits, these beverages are often preferred after large meals.

Pairing suggestions: After meal, eggs, red meat, wild mushrooms, chocolate, poultry.

Desserts and Tea

For desserts, we suggest seeking out English Breakfast black tea. Our Chinese teas are hearty, rich, and taste perfect when complementing baked custards, chocolate cakes, or a rich, dense strawberry shortcake. Assam is another rich black tea that complements chocolate desserts, yet is a surprising foil against lemony or custard dishes. Some may be sensitive to caffeine. To that we suggest our Decaf Earl Grey or Decaf English Breakfast. Due to the naturally sweet, floral nature of a Jasmine, it is also ideal to serve with a dessert such as fruit, macaroons and any coconut desserts! Chai tea also pairs wonderfully with light pastries and scones.

Tea Guides

The Tea Kitchen’s Loose Leaf Tea Brewing Guide

February 2, 2022

Making the switch from tea bags to loose leaf tea can feel intimidating at first but we promise it is easy and worth it! When you steep loose leaf tea, it has more room to expand and infuse the water with its many vitamins, minerals and aromas, resulting in a much stronger and flavorful drink. Whether you are a fan of earl grey or a herbal chamomile, we got you covered. We created an entire guide from what tools you need to how to steep the perfect tea every time. To brew the perfect cup of tea, you will need a few basics that you probably have laying around your kitchen right now!

About Tea

True teas are made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The Camellia Sinensis plant can be found in Asian and African countries, but is primarily native to the Eastern regions of Asia. It grows in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Today, tea is grown and produced in every continent except Antarctica.

In order to achieve the flavor of a certain type of tea, there are different processes the leaves must undergo. The different cultivation types allow teas to develop different scents, aromas, flavors, and colors. Oxidation plays a huge role in this process.

The type of tea that requires the least amount of cultivation is White Tea and is typically a great tea to start with as it is the easiest to brew. The delicate aroma and flavor of white tea is achieved through picking young tea buds that are tightly enclosed in new tea leaves. Because of the lightness of white tea, it is often combined with floral notes to create a tasty infusion. Our White Peony Tea is a perfect example of this delicious combination.

Green tea has a quick turn around due to the lack of oxidation. Green tea leaves can be picked in the morning and served as tea the same evening. Because it does not undergo the oxidation process, green tea retains the chlorophyll and minerals from the plant and remains dark green as it produces a more astringent flavor. Green tea can be associated with various different health benefits including promoting brain function and cardiovascular health. To read more about the different benefits that come alongside green tea, read our post on the health benefits of green tea. Some of our favorite green teas to brew, including Chinese Sencha and Jasmine Special Grade Green, can be found in our online collection.

In contrast to green tea, Black Tea is oxidized which is how it earns the dark brown coloring. Following the oxidation of the tea leaves, they are fired in an oven to stop the process and allow the leaves to turn color. Black tea is generally stronger and more potent than the other types of tea. It is a common tea that can be used to make Southern Sweet Tea, and afternoon tea as the British tea tradition stands. One specific Black Tea that is commonly served at afternoon tea is Earl Grey tea.

Oolong tea undergoes partial oxidation allowing it to find its place in between black and green teas. It combines the astringent flavoring of green tea and the complexity of black tea. Oolong tea is rich in flavor and like any other tea, you can control the strength of your tea by the timing of each steep.

What you’ll need:

  • Loose leaf tea of choice. Picking out a quality leaf is crucial for the perfect cup of tea. Some easy tips to follow are: the larger the leaf, the higher the quality and the better the flavor; Smell the tea to make sure it hasn’t gone stale. Generally speaking, if it smells good it will taste good; For herbal teas, you want to focus on color and scent; if the herbs are faded or don’t have a fragrance, they are probably too old.
  • Electric kettle, stovetop kettle or pot. No worries if you don’t have a kettle lying around. You can easily use a pot that you have in your cupboard. Your trusty old French press is also perfect for brewing tea! Nothing special here; use the press like you always do and use tea leaves instead of coffee (just make sure to clean the press very well first so you don’t get any coffee flavors mixed with your tea). If you are interested in stepping up your tea game and are needing a new teapot, check out this blogpost for the best teapots.

    Tip: If you don’t have a thermometer laying around, use this rule of thumb: 180° F = bubbles form on the bottom of the pot, 195° F = the first bubbles begin to rise, 212° F = full rolling boil.
  • Tea infuser. If you do not have a tea infuser, you can use a kitchen strainer. If you do not have a kitchen strainer, you can place the tea leaves directly into the hot water for infusion. However, the tea prepared by this method will be harder to drink for someone not used to drinking this way because tiny bits of leave will float on the surface. You can avoid the tea leaves hitting your lips by blowing a bit in your cup.
  • Fresh water. Tea is made up of nearly 99% water. This primary ingredient definitely deserves some consideration! Using clean water will help with the best taste for your tea. Using water that has been in your kettle overnight may result in a stale tasting tea, and we definitely do not want that!

How to:

1. Pour fresh water into your tea kettle or pot and bring to appropriate temperature.

2. While waiting for water to boil, add the appropriate amount of loose leaf tea to your tea infuser. Place the tea infuser inside your teapot or mug. 

3. When the water reaches the desired temperature, pour it over the tea infuser into your mug or teapot. This will allow the water to circulate through the leaves.

4. Time your tea. Once the time is up, dunk the infuser a couple of times to circulate the water. Remove the infuser.

5. Serve in your favorite mug and enjoy your delicious cup of tea.

Brewing Guidelines:

Black Tea
If you like your black tea to be full bodied and rich, we recommend steeping it with boiling hot water. If you are looking for more of a caffeine kick, black tea with broken leaves will release caffeine more easily.
Teaspoons: 1 to 2
Brew time: 3 to 5 minutes
Temperature: 190 to 210 F

White Tea
White tea is usually quite forgiving when it comes to brewing. It is hard to over-brew and it shouldn’t get too bitter if you steep it at high temperatures. However, lower temperatures might give you a more nuanced brew, so this is a great opportunity to experiment and find out for yourself what you prefer!
Teaspoons: 2
Brew time: 3 to 4 minutes
Temperature: 170 to 180 F

Green Tea
Green tea is slightly more sensitive to temperature, especially with Japanese green tea. Make sure to keep your water temp lower so your tea does not come out bitter.
Teaspoons: 1 to 2
Brew time: 1 to 3 minutes
Temperature: 170 to 180 F

Oolong Tea
Oolongs vary significantly in the level of oxidation. Some lighter oolongs are much closer to green teas (you’ll recognize the low oxidation level by the green color of the dry leaves). Therefore, brewing these teas at a lower temperature might bring out some interesting notes and flavours. However, in general oolongs are quite forgiving and can be brewed with boiling water.
Teaspoons: 1 to 2
Brew time: 3 to 5 minutes
Temperature: 170 to 180 F

Herbal Tea
Unlike real types of tea such as green and white teas, herbal teas are much easier to brew. They also steep for longer, too!
Teaspoons: 1 to 2
Brew time: 3 to 5 minutes
Temperature: 190 to 210 F

Chai Tea
Chai tea’s base is black tea so, like above, if you like your cup full bodied, make with boiling hot water. If you are making this as a chai tea latte, using whole milk will bring ut all the richness in the spices (but all milks will do!)
Teaspoons: 1 to 2
Brew time: 4 to 5 minutes
Temperature: 205 to 212 F

Must Try Loose Leafs:

If you are a newbie to brewing loose leaf, your safest bets are black and herbal teas. These tea types are more forgiving with the brewing temperature and timing. Our recommendations for black teas are China KeemunAutumn Cranberry Black and Vanilla Black tea. For herbal teas, Hibiscus Flower and Lemon Ginger are fan favorites.

FAQ’s:

How do I store my tea? Will it go bad?
Tea should be stored away from light, moisture, and strongly flavored or fragranced foods. Storing in an airtight container is recommended. Green and white teas will keep fresh for up to a year. Black and oolong teas for no longer than a year and six months.

Can loose leaf tea be reused?
Yes, if the tea is green or oolong. Do not reuse black tea. When reusing tea increase the brewing time with each successive infusion to ensure sufficient taste.

What are the health benefits of drinking tea?
We have some great blog posts written on the benefits of tea here!

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @theteakitchen for daily tea tips and more!

Tea Recipes

Tea Infusions: What Are They and How to Make Them

December 21, 2021

Let’s talk about infusions. You may see infusions while shopping at your local grocery store next to all of your favorite teas. But, what exactly is an infusion? And what is the difference between tea and infusion? In simple terms, tea is the drink obtained by steeping camellia sinensis (tea leaves) in water. An infusion is the generic name of the method, which involves soaking any leaves or herbs in hot water. You may be saying, well isn’t that the same thing? Well, sort of. The main difference is that infusions are not limited to just the camellia sinensis plant. Infusions can be any herbal substance that go into hot water to create the drink. For example, you can mix black tea, black licorice root, dried elder flower and peppermint leaf to create a cold busting drink during cold season. Infusions are also steeped for longer periods of time and use larger quantities of herb. Then main purpose of this is to create a drink that is higher in vitamins and minerals. For example, a cup of nettle tea has 5-10 mg. of calcium, while a cup of nettle infusion can contain up to 500 mg. of calcium!

How To Brew Your Infusion

What should you brew your infusion in? Is a tea ball good to use? Can I use my everyday tea mug? While you are able to use those, the best vessels to make your infusion in are a French press or a quart-sized mason jar. Both of these work great and give your herb blend space to move around and release all their healing compounds! Just fill your jar or French press with an adequate amount of herbs (about 1/4 cup of herbs and/or tea blend) and then cover with boiling water. Make sure to cover your container tightly.

Infusion Recipes

There is an endless amount of infusion recipes you can make. For example, you can mix chamomile, lavender and lemon bomb leaves for a good nights rest, ginger and licorice for an upset stomach, and so many more! Here are a few tea infusion recipes courtesy of Mother Earth News:

High-C Tonic Tea Recipe

Who couldn’t use more vitamin C this time of year? This is a wonderfully refreshing blend filled with vitamin-C (and great for children, too!)

Ingredients:

4 parts rose hips
3 parts hibiscus
2 parts lemongrass
1 part cinnamon chips

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. To make a tea, prepare as an infusion.

Berry Good Tea Recipe

When you are in need of a boost during the cold and flu season, this is the perfect drink to do so!

Ingredients:

2 parts elderberries
2 parts dried hawthorn berries
2 parts lycium berries
1 part huckleberries or bilberries
1 part raspberry leaf
Honey (optional)

Instructions:

Mix together all of the ingredients. Brew as an infusion, using 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture per cup of water, and steeping for 30 to 60 minutes. Sweeten with honey if desired. Drink 1 cup daily.

Pick-Me-Up Tea Recipe

Has the clock struck 3:00 pm on a Monday and you are looking for a pick me up that isn’t a coffee? Try this recipe!

Ingredients:

2 parts hawthorn berry, leaf and/or flower
2 parts nettle
1 part ginkgo
1 part licorice
1/4 part cinnamon
1/4 part ginger

Instructions:

Prepare as an infusion, using 1 ounce of herb mixture per quart of water, and allowing it to steep for 45 minutes or longer.

Herbal infusions pack a powerful punch, and offer many medicinal benefits for your overall health. They are definitely worth adding to your tea drinking routine. Let us know if you try any of these or if you come up with one on your own!

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @theteakitchen 

Tea History & Culture

The Rich History of Chai Tea

December 7, 2021

This delightful, steaming cup of tea that everyone loves, is full of rich history that dates back over 5,000 years. Chai tea contains Assam black tea, as well as a mixture of aromatic spices, which was passed down through many generations and is now many customers’ favorite tea! In this article, we’ll be exploring the history of chai, and what’s inside each steaming cup.

What is Chai Tea?

Chai is a Hindi word that means “tea.” Although the origin of masala chai remains a mystery, the original chai tea comes from South Asia. The Assam region in India is where the origins of chai tea are found. Native tea plants were commonly used by South Asians in ancient times as forms of herbal medicine. They also appeared to be able to treat simple illnesses such as the common cold. Chai tea has been loved throughout the centuries due to its many health benefits. 

Traditional chai spices are black tea mixed with cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom. However, chai recipes vary from one household to another and from region to region, as they were passed down through many different generations. The modern chai latte is made by steeping Assam black tea leaves in boiled whole milk.

In the early 1700s, chai tea cultures had spread all the way from East Asia and Western Europe. The British East India Company began cultivating the crop in British India in the 1830s.

India was overwhelmed with the beginning introduction of morning chai. A lot of the Indians now drink at least two to three cups daily at the very minimum. Traditional chai tea was introduced to the world around the 1900s. It later quickly became a popular drink. 

What’s Inside a Cup of Chai?

Traditional chai drinks can be made in many different places, so there is no single recipe that defines chai. These are the main ingredients that chai contains.

Tea: Most popular chai bases are the Darjeeling and Assam black tea from India. You can also make chai with different types of green teas such as the South American herb Yerba Mate and the South African herbal red rooibos ingredients. There are also herbal blends that contain no tea leaves and are made entirely from herbs.

Sweetener: While honey, brown sugar, and white sugar are the most common chai sweeteners for maintaining sweetness, other sugars such as demerara or turbinado can also be used when making chai. Jaggery is an unrefined sugar from cane that is used in India and is almost always used when producing chai. 

Milk: Buffalo milk is popular milk used in India when making chai. The modern-day version of chai is more commonly made with alternative dairy products like soy milk, coconut milk, almond, and rice. To have the best tasting chai possible it may be necessary to steep strong chai in water and add some milk to it. You will find many recipes telling you to simmer the spices with a mixture of milk and water or to even use all milk when doing so.

Spices: Spices such as chai (also known as masala) can vary depending on where they are originating and the cultural preferences. Cardamom, ginger, and cloves were the most common chai spices, and they were all easily available in India to be used in the production of chai. Traditional recipes may include vanilla, nutmeg, and star anise. Bay leaf, allspice, and cacao became increasingly popular as chai moved west. In some recipes, cumin and coriander may also be a selection of ingredients to be used.

Chai tasting

There are many chai recipes, so the beverage can be made in many different ways depending on what ingredients are used. Chai with a lot of ginger and black peppercorns may have a fiery taste. Other chai that contains more vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg might leave behind a lasting sweeter taste on your palate. Some chai teas may have a bitter earthiness from cacao or saffron. Other times, fennel and cumin could have a more savory flavor.

Many chai teas are made differently based on the culture in which you are purchasing, and it is helpful to know and understand the different varieties and rich cultural history of chai tea. These teas are made all over the world.

Interested in brewing your own steaming cup?