Tell Me About Tea

 rose_of_venice.jpgWhat makes black tea black...

Black tea is produced by a process that includes oxidation, and is also refered as fermentation. Black tea is first withered by allowing some of the moisture in the leaves to evaporate so that the leaves become pliable. This process takes 12-18 hours. The leaves are then rolled to break the cells allowing the release of enzymes.  Oxygen reacts with the enzymes on the surface of the leaves causing them to turn black, thus changing the color and taste of the tea. Oxidation is stoped by firing the leaves in ovens, this destroys the enzymes responsible for oxidation.  Leaves are then packaged for selling, blended with other teas, or flavored.  Catagories most often seen for black tea are "Estate Teas" such as Darjeeling, Assam and Ceylons.  "Blended Teas" usually combine black teas from different crops, estates and even origins to achieve a well-balanced blend.  "Flavored Teas" (most popular in the United States) offer everything from apricot to vanilla, covering hundreds of different flavors. 

plum_oolong.jpg  Oolongs are unique in name as well as processing...

Producing this handcrafted tea properly is extremely labor intensive. The tea maker must carefully balance many elements in the critical first few hours, including weather conditions, leaf quality, and oxidation time. Depending on the processing method, the resulting tea can be anywhere from a green to a black.  In contrast to black teas, which are fully oxidized, and green teas, which are not oxidized, oolongs are semi-oxidized. Like black teas, oolongs are first withered for several hours to soften the leaves. Then the leaves are alternately oxidized and fired several times by various methods, which may include shaking in baskets or walking on leaves that have been placed in cloth bags! When the desired amount of oxidation is reached, which can vary significantly, the leaves are fired at high temperatures to destroy the enzymes that contribute to oxidation. Because some oolongs are more oxidized than others, the flavor of oolongs can vary from near-black to quite green. The best oolongs are still all handmade and have a naturally fruity/flowery aroma and a delicate sweetness. 

rain_forrest.jpg  Why is green tea so healthy...

Green tea leaves are either steamed or simply dried until the moisture evaporates making the leaves pliable.  The leaves are then fired in a hot wok to destroy enzymes, which prevent oxidation or fermentation. During firing, the leaves may be shaped into the desired form, such as the small pellets of gunpowder tea and some green teas are roasted to produce a toasty flavor. The shorter processing gives green tea a lighter flavor than black tea. It also helps keep all the beneficial chemicals intact, which is why green tea is so good for you. 

 peach_white.jpg  What makes white tea so special...

White tea contains more nutrients than black or green tea because of its minimal processing, making it the ultimate health tea.   White tea is the most delicate of teas and is known for unmatched subtlety, and natural sweetness.  White tea is simply steamed, then dried, without significantly altering the leaf. Consequently, these teas appear light and fluffy and require more infusion room than other teas. Most white teas brew a very pale, straw colored liquor. Studies show that white tea is 10% more effective in improving immune health than its green cousin.

pink_princess.jpg  Why are herbals or tisanes not considered tea?  

Although herbals or tisanes can be made from a variety of different plants, they do not contain the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis) and by definition can not be called tea. Our herbals are hand-crafted with fresh flavorful herbs, blossoms, spices, and fruits from around the world. Rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants and naturally caffeine free.   

florida_orange.jpg  What is "Rooibos"? (pronounced Roy-Boss)  

Rooibos means red bush.  Rooibos comes from a plant grown only in South Africa.  This herbal has increased in popularity not only because of its incredible taste, but also because of the health benefits associated with drinking this wonderful brew. 

Rooibos has no caffeine and is low in tannin making this a great selection for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. Various studies have shown the many health problems that can be helped by drinking Rooibos tea:  

·          Eases irritability, headaches, nervous tension and insomnia. 

·          Acts as an anti-spasmodic agent, to relieve stomach cramps and colic in infants  

·          Can be used to treat hay fever, asthma and eczema  

·          Placed directly on the skin, it can slow the aging process  

·          Boosts the immune system 

Rooibos contains no oxalic acid, so it can safely be consumed by people who are prone to kidney stones. There are so many minerals in the tea, that it can almost be considered a nutritional supplement:   Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Potassium, Calcium,  Fluoride, Zinc, Manganese, Alpha-hydroxy (can be placed directly on skin). 

 

 green_fiesta.jpg  Mate?

Discover what the people of South America have known for centuries: yerba maté naturally raises energy and mood without all the jitters of other stimulating beverages. Packed with nutrients and antioxidants, this holly tree native to the forests of South America is nature's ideal energy tonic!

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