Each variety of tea has a different method of brewing preparation.
FOR HOT TEA:
1. Use a teapot.
2. Start with fresh-drawn cold water and bring to a rolling boil. (NOTE: If your water is heavily chlorinated or contains other objectionable odors, filter before boiling for best tasting tea).
3. Use one teaspoon or one tea bag per cup; pour boiling water over the tea.
4. brew by the clock -- 3 to 5 minutes and serve! For the best flavor, preheat the teapot with a little hot water prior to use and cover your teapot with a cozy to retain heat during the brewing process.
FOR ICED TEA: For small quantities, proceed as for hot tea and pour over ice. For large quantities, prepare a concentrate as follows: Concentrate: bring one quart of cold water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add 8-10 tsp./teabags per quart of brewed tea desired. Steep 5 minutes or desired strength and pour over remaining cold water or ice cubes. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water.]
All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis bush, a warm-weather evergreen, which in the wild can grow 90 feet and higher. In the past, in some countries, monkeys were trained to pick the tea leaves and toss them to the ground. Today the Camellia Sinensis bush is grown as an important plantation crop and is kept to a height of three feet for easy cultivation. Fresh leaves of the tea plant are processed and their level of contact with oxygen determine resulting types of tea. The oxidation process is also known as fermentation. During oxidation, tea leaves undergo natural chemical reactions that result in distinctive color and taste characteristics.
Over 3000 varieties of tea are available and depending on the time of day and personal preferences, there is a blend to suit everyone's taste.
The main tea types include: Black tea, Oolong tea, Green tea, White tea.
Black Tea: Black tea is made from leaves that have been fully oxidized, the leaf is spread out and left to wilt naturally, before being fired, producing a hearty deep rich flavour in a colored amber brew. It is the oxidation process, oxygen coming into contact with the enzymes in the tea leaf, that distinguishes black teas from green teas. The oxidation process is also known as fermentation.
Green Tea: Green tea is not oxidized. It is withered, immediately steamed or heated to prevent oxidation and then rolled and dried. It is characterized by a delicate taste, light green color and is very refreshing.
Oolong Tea: (semi-fermented) Oolong tea is gently rolled after picking and allowed to partially ferment, only until the edges of the leafs start to turn brown. After the tea has developed properly the oxidation is stopped by being fired, a process called 'panning'. Oolong refers to partly oxidized leaves, combining the taste and color qualities of black and green tea. Oolong literally translates as "Black Dragon" and usually served in Chinese Restaurants. Oolong teas are consumed without milk or sugar and are extremely flavorful and highly aromatic.
White Tea: White Tea is the rarest and most delicate of tea. Plucked forty-eight hours or less between the time the first buds become fully mature and the time they open, they are covered with silky white hairs. Unlike black and green teas, white tea isn't rolled or steamed, but simply aired dried in natural sunlight, this preserves more of its antioxidant properties - about three times as many antioxidant polyphenois as the green tea and the least amount of caffeine.
White tea leaves are bigger, lighter and more delicate than that of Black, Oolong and Green Tea, therefore you should use more leaves per cup than with other teas.
Flavored Gourmet Teas: Flavored teas are real teas (Camellia Sinensis), blended with fruit, fruit peel or flavored with the natural oil, essence, spices or herbs, such as Earl Grey Tea , Berry Twisted, Chocolate Shake
Chai Teas: Chai tea is basically a black tea brewed with selected spices and milk. Blending different ingredients changes flavors and brewing methods may vary. Chai teas My Masala Chai Tea or Chocolate Chai Tea,
Scented Teas: Scented teas are teas that have been scented by flowers such as jasmine tea,. Layers of blossoms are spread between layers of tea. This is done reapetedly with fresh blossoms until desired flavor. The blossoms or petals are sometimes used to decorate the tea.and
Herbal Teas or Tisanes: Herbal Tea infusions or tisanes such as Chamomile Tea or Spearmint Tea do not contain any real tea leaf. The term "herbal tea" is somewhat of a misnomer, since these products are not really tea at all. Herbal Tea beverages or infusions can be derived from a single ingredient or a blend of flowers, herbs, spices, fruits, berries and other plants. Herbal teas have soothing, uplifting and medicinal qualities.
Rooibos Tea (ROY-boss) (also known as Red Bush Tea)
Rooibos Tea is an herb that is rich in Vitamins and minerals including Antioxidants, Flavanoids, Vitamin C. NO Caffeine! Very Low Tannins! No oxalic acid!
100% Natural - no colorants or preservatives.
Organic Teas: Organic teas are becoming a healthy choice for many consumers. To be recognized as "organic Tea", it takes years for a tea estate to become even considered for certification. Usually after organic tea certification the yields of crop drop, but the estate is compensated for the higher price.
Flower Scented Teas: Scented teas were developed by the tea masters of China using a purely natural technique of infusing the essential aroma of fresh picked flowers into tealeaves. This artisan process dates back many centuries and involves only the careful mixing, curing and drying of tea with fresh flowers. No perfumes or added flavors are used to make traditional flower scented teas. The properly crafted tea is infused with the natural and pure essence of aromatic flowers. After the final scenting the dried flowers are picked out of the tea leaving only a small percentage of flowers in finest grades of the finished tea. Flower teas are typically scented between 3-5 times before they are finished and packed. Flowers used for scenting teas include but are not limited to jasmine, osthmanthus, wild rose, orchid, lotus, magnolia and various citrus blossoms.
Grades of Tea...
PEKOE - Leaves of similar size from the same branch
TGFOP - (Tippy golden flowery orange pekoe) highest grade Usually full leaf tea from India: Darjeeling and Assam. Golden refers to light colored buds.
ORANGE PEKOE (OP) - Leaves are long, thin and rolled lengthwise. Generally higher quality than pekoe leaves
FANNINGS - very small, broken leaves slightly larger than dust
DUST - the smallest broken leaves after all manufacturing processes are finished. LOOSE TEA - Generally refers to whole leaves
PROCESSED TEA - refers to leaves that have been sieved to sort leaves to uniform sizes.
SOUCHONG - grading refers to large, intact leaves, curled up at edges, twisted lengthwise.
brOKEN GRADES - refers to teas that have been mechanically crushed. Generally used for tea bags or flavored/scented tea
Orange Pekoe is grade. Interestingly, the term Orange Pekoe has little to do with quality as it is a size grading term. Orange Pekoe in true tea jargon stands for whole leaf. When you pour boiling water on this tea you will see how the leaf uncurls and expands quite dramatically, a process called the agony of the leaf.
About Green Tea...
Green and black tea come from the same plant. Green tea is steamed and then dried after plucking and retains a lighter color and flavor. Black tea is allowed to wither and ferment before drying, resulting in a darker leaf color and a more pronounced flavor and aroma.
Green tea is not allowed to go through fermentation process, (fermentation causes tea to turn black during the drying process) but it is steamed before drying. This is the primary difference between green and black teas. Green teas tend to have a light body. Some green teas however, can be quite pungent with a surprising amount of body to the cup.
Caffeine In Tea...
Tea contains 2 to 3 times less caffeine than coffee. According to the Food Guide Facts, a component of Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating, moderate daily intake of up to 400 to 450 mg of caffeine is within the recommended limit for most people. This represents an average of 10 to 12 cups of tea per day.
Caffeine levels may vary depending on the type of tea (origins, growing conditions, etc.) or brewing time.
Green tea is generally thought to contain less caffeine per cup than black tea, this is only true if it is brewed in the traditional green tea (170°F to 180°F) method because more caffeine is released with higher water temperature ( black tea 200°F and 212°F). Since green and black tea come from the same plant - Camellia sinensis, the amounts of caffeine levels are virtually the same. But some say, the more oxidized (or fermented ) the tea, the more caffeine it contains.
traditional brewing of green tea at 180'F for 2 to 3 minutes yields about 15 - 25 milligrams of caffeine per 6 ounce cup.
Several decaffeinated tea blends are available for caffeine-sensitive individuals. Decaffeinated teas provide comparable antioxidants.
Approximately 80% of caffeine can be removed from regular tea by pouring hot water over the leaves.
Caffeine in tea is released during the first 30-seconds of steeping, therefore to remove most of the caffeine from any tea. Pour boiling water over the tea leaves or teabags. Allow to steep for 30 seconds. Pour out the brew, saving the steeped leaves or teabag. Re-steep the same leaves or teabag with more boiling water for the recommended steeping times.
Antioxidants In Tea....