Friday, January 27, 2012


There are over 3,000 varieties of tea but they all come from one plant -- the Camellia Sinensis, an evergreen bush with dark leathery leaves.  There are hybrids of this plant and the flavors vary according to soil, altitude and climate. 

How the leaves are processed / fermented decides the type of tea.    

Here is a list of the most common varieties with basic process, flavor and brewing information.

BLACK:  fully fermented and dried -- rich, full-bodied; 
brew at a rolling boil 3-5 minutes

OOLONG:  semi-fermented -- flowery scent, subtle flavor between black and green;
brew at 190 degrees, 1 - 8 minutes

GREEN:  unfermented, steamed, rolled, dried -- grassy, mellow flavor
brew at 160 degrees, 1 - 3 minutes

WHITE:  least processed, made from silver buds and selected leaves that are steamed and dried -- light, delicate, slightly sweet
brew at 180 degrees, 4 - 8 minutes

YELLOW:  rare, produced only in China, fermented but not completely oxidized, slow drying phase -- subtle, fresh taste, light and mild
brew 180 degrees, 1 - 2 minutes

BLENDED TEAS:  a mixed variety of tea
FLAVORED TEAS:  tea mixed with fruit, spice, flowers, smoke or a combination of them. 
brewing both blended and flavored varies according to type of tea used.

HERBAL (Tisane):  made with herbs, flowers, fruit, roots, berries, bark or leaves from plants other than the Camellias Sinensis.  It is not a true tea.
brew at a rolling boil, 5 - 8 minutes

RED (Rooibus):  a South African herbal tea -- sweet, slightly nutty flavor
brew at a rolling boil, 3 - 5 minutes 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January is Hot Tea Month

Celebrate Hot Tea Month by discovering some new teas, enjoying your favorites and sharing tea time with those you love.