What is Tea?
Tea is a plant (Camellia sinensis) that grows in wet tropical and subtropical climates; from this same plant comes Green, White, Oolong, Puerh, and Black teas, which are simply processed differently. Other beverages which are often referred to as tea are not really “tea” at all, but tisanes (or herbal infusions–not to be confused with shampoo or conditioner). These dried and often flavored leaves, buds, petals, fruit, etc. are then steeped in hot water to create a refreshing drink.
Who drinks this stuff anyway?
Despite the fact that Americans drink more coffee than tea, tea is actually second only to water in the rest of the world.
Why drink tea?
Tea has its start thousands of years ago as a beverage that was consumed for medicinal purposes. Today, tea offers a wonderful source of antioxidants and some with a moderate amount of caffeine (to be discussed in a later post). Most of all, enjoy it for the taste!
How do I make tea?
Each kind of tea will require slightly different water temperatures to create the best cup; however, the most important part is your own taste. Here are some guidelines to get you going in the right direction:
-Start with cold, filtered water to obtain the best results and never microwave…
-Use 1 tsp. for each 8 oz. of water
-Water temperatures: Some teas or more delicate than others, water that is too hot will “shock” green tea and make a bitter and astringent cup, steeping it too long will often have the same result.
- White: 3-4 minutes at 185˚F
- Green: 1-3 minutes at 160-175˚F
- Oolong: 3-5 minutes at 175-195˚F
- Black: 3-5 minutes at 201-209˚F
-To find your taste, sip to taste every 30 seconds while steeping. Black tea will yield a light and sweet liquor if only steeped for a minute or so; a rich and robust liquor after 3-5 minutes.
Harvesting and processing tea
Reacquaint yourself with Rooibos