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The Tea FAQ
  1. What is tea?
  2. What are "herbal teas" and "herbal infusions"?
  3. What does "SFTGFOP1" mean?
  4. How do I brew a perfect cup of tea?
  5. How much loose tea should I use to make a cup of tea?
  6. Are there really any health benefits gained from drinking green tea?
  7. How much caffeine does tea contain?
  8. Do you have any information about the history of tea cozies (also spelled "cosies")?
  9. What is a Tea Press?
  10. What is a Tea Brick and is the tea drinkable?
  11. How do you brew the Matcha tea?
  12. What are the flavor characteristics of black tea varieties?

  1. What is tea?

    True "teas" are made from the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, which was first cultivated in China and found growing wild in India. Chinese monks and European traders introduced it to Japan, Sri Lanka and other countries. Today there are more than 3000 varieties of tea, each having its own distinct character and named for the district in which it is grown. Green tea is produced by steaming fresh-picked leaves before heat-drying. Black tea is produced by allowing picked tea leaves to completely ferment before firing. Oolong teas are only partially fermented.

  2. What are "herbal teas" and "herbal infusions"?

    Herbal "teas" contain no true tea leaves, but are created from an international collection of herbs and spices such as Moroccan rosebuds, Oregon mint, tropical hibiscus, cinnamon from Indonesia and more. These all-natural botanical ingredients are combined to create exciting flavors and aromas in a rainbow of colors from pale yellow to deep red.

  3. What does SFTGFOP1 mean?

    A tea graded as 'SFTGFOP1' is a Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe - grade 1 (to put it simply).

  4. How do I brew a perfect cup of tea?

    Good quality water and proper brewing time are essential for a flavorful cup of tea.
    • Start with a preheated pot or cup (simply fill your teapot or cup with very hot water and let it stand for a moment).
    • Use fresh cold water. In areas with poor tap water, use bottled or filtered water. Never use water from the hot water tap. Let the tap water run for a few seconds until it is quite cold; this ensures that the water is aerated (full of oxygen) to release the full flavor of the tea leaves.
    • Bring water to a rolling boil. Don't let it boil too long, as it will boil away the flavor releasing oxygen and result in a flat tasting cup of tea. Pour boiling water on tea leaves or tea bag.
    • Brew 3 to 5 minutes (for green teas, water should be a bit cooler and only steep for one to three minutes).

  5. How much loose tea should I use to make a cup of tea?

    To make an 8 ounce (250 ml) cup of tea, use the following chart as a guideline. Adjust to taste.
    White tea2 tsp. (20 ml)
    Green tea1 tsp. (10 ml)
    Oolong tea2 tsp. (20 ml)
    Black tea1 tsp. (10 ml)
    Herbal "tea"Start with 1 tsp. (1 gm), and increase to desired taste.

  6. Are there really any health benefits gained from drinking green tea?

    Green tea has a high content of vitamins and minerals. It contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in amounts comparable to a lemon. Green tea also contains several B vitamins which are water soluble and quickly released into a cup of tea. Five cups of green tea a day will provide 5-10% of the daily requirement of riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. The same five cups of green tea also provide approximately 5% of the daily requirement of magnesium, 25% of potassium, and 45% of the requirement for manganese. Green tea is also high in fluoride. A cup of green tea provides approximately 0.1 mg of fluoride, which is higher than in fluorinated water. Scientific studies have shown strong evidence that green tea may help reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease, and may also prevent some cancers.

    To further enrich your knowledge of green tea and its health benefits, read Green Tea - a natural elixir.

  7. How much caffeine does tea contain?

    Tea contains anywhere from 8 mg to 110 mg per 6 ounce (200ml) cup. Caffeine content can be a confusing subject, and is explained further on our Caffeine Information on Tea page.

  8. Do you have any information about the history of tea cozies (also spelled "cosies")?

    The English, Irish, Norwegians and Danish have, at one time or another, all been credited with the invention of the cozy. The generally accepted version of how the cozy was invented goes back to the 1600s and the Irish. Farmers in Ireland would typically have a large pot of tea with dinner each evening. The story goes that one evening a farmer was having dinner when he reached across the table and his hat fell off, covering the tea pot. Later when he went to pour more tea and removed the hat he discovered the tea was still very warm. His wife decided to make a cover for their tea pot and called it a "cosy".

  9. What is a Tea Press?

    A tea press is a tea pot that is cylindrical in shape and usually made of glass. The pot has a plunging apparatus attached to the lid which is designed to force the tea leaves to the bottom of the pot and stop infusion. After the tea is finished, the lid and plunger are removed and the tea leaves discarded.

  10. What is a Tea Brick and is the tea drinkable?

    Centuries ago the inventive Chinese, who created the earliest banking system with coins and paper bank notes, found that their currency had no value when trading with people in far away Mongolia and Tibet. Their solution to this problem was to turn their most valued product, tea, into bricks. The tea bricks were even scored so they could be broken to make change.

    Today, these sculpted tea bricks with traditional Chinese motifs, are mainly used for decoration as the quality of the tea is very poor. They make very unique gifts and interesting conversation pieces.

    Tip: If you choose to purchase a tea brick you may want to apply a coat of clear lacquer to protect it from humidity.

  11. How do you brew the Matcha tea?

    Matcha tea is used in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. For the ceremony the powdered Matcha is measured with a chashaku (bamboo spoon) and is placed in a chawan (serving bowl). Hot water is added, then whipped with a chasen (bamboo whisk) until frothy. The thick, frothy tea is consumed straight from the bowl.
    Tip: For home use, add 1/2 teaspoon Matcha to 8 ounces of freshly boiled water, stir vigorously and enjoy.

  12. What are the flavor characteristics of black tea varieties?

    There are more than 3000 varieties of tea, each has its own distinct character and is named for the area in which it is grown. For example, Assam from Assam in India, Formosa Oolong from Taiwan, Ceylon from Sri Lanka, Darjeeling from Darjeeling, India, and so forth.

    Ceylon (Sri Lanka): Ceylon teas have an aromatic amber liquor and a rich, full, astringent flavor. This tea is wonderful with a little cold milk and goes well with a sweet breakfast or afternoon pastry.

    Keemun (China): Keemun has a subtle orchid aroma and a bright red liquor. The flavor is mild with a hint of sweetness, which makes it a good evening tea.

    Lapsang Souchong (China): This tea is produced by withering the tea leaves over open fires of pine. Lapsang Souchong is an assertive dark tea with a smoky fragrance and flavor. It yields a red-brown liquor, and is a great accompaniment to salty and spicy dishes, and with cheese.

    Yunnan (China): Yunnan is considered one of China's "noble" varieties and is unique in that it combines aroma with strength, giving it a subtle rich taste. Nicknamed "the mocha of tea", this tea produces a red-amber color in the cup and is full-bodied with an illusive floral scent. Yunnan is a great breakfast tea.

    Assam (India): Assam teas are bold with a strong malty taste and dark liquor, making them excellent morning teas. Bursting with rich, round flavor, it is oftentimes difficult to distinguish one garden from another. Assam teas are delicious with a drop of milk.

    Darjeeling (India): Darjeeling is the rarest and the most prestigious of black teas. Its excellent quality is the result of climate and elevation. While sometimes difficult to distinguish one garden from another, each harvest period is easily identifiable. Darjeeling teas have a distinctive taste depending on the season.

    • First Flush Darjeeling: Referred to as "springtime teas", Darjeeling First Flush is harvested from late February to mid-April and yields a light tea with a delicate aroma and flowery taste. This tea is a connoisseur's delight.
    • Second Flush Darjeeling: Referred to as "summer tea", this tea is harvested in May and June before the monsoon, and produces a darker, more full-bodied cup.
    Darjeeling is a great afternoon tea.

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