Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Have you found yourself wanting to experiment with tea but felt overwhelmed at the thousands of options? Like wine, no two are the same and finding the perfect blends for you should be fun! With a little guidance and experimenting you will surprisingly find not only your perfect cup of tea but your go to blends for every occasion. Tea is very personal and flavor is just the tip of the tongue, so to speak. It's not just plant leaves soaked in hot water, it’s an experience. It’s the beauty of the leaf, the aromas, the culture and the vast array of processing techniques. It’s the colors, it’s the sensory experience, it’s the time of day and the season of the year. You're going to find that there’s not just one perfect cup of tea for you! Are you starting a fresh day or winding down after a long one? Are you bonding with friends around the kitchen table, splashing around the pool with the kids, or desperate for an afternoon pick me up? So dive in with excitement not anxiety. This is going to be fun. And you’re going to find that the greatest thing about choosing The Tea Spout is having access to your own personal tea guru, to help guide you!
Artisan Tea vs. Boxed Bagged Tea
Like most products, tea is available in an array of quality and price. As the old adage goes “you get what you pay for”. This is absolutely true for tea. Artisan tea, also known as ‘orthodox tea, ‘speciality tea’ or ‘pure leaf tea’ is a more premium whole leaf tea that falls into categories of Types of Teas : black, white, green, yellow, purple, oolong, and dark (or fermented). What you find in the grocery store will most likely be a black tea plucked in mass quantity by machine and processed by using the CCT or cut, curl, tear method. Machine plucking makes it more difficult to hand pick specific leaves so a mix of new and mature leaves and stalks are removed from the plant. Leaf selection is important because the younger buds and leaves are richer in nutrients, higher in aromatic oils and allow for more complex flavors than the older more mature leaves. Bagged tea leaves are known as ‘dustings’ or ‘fannings’ because they are basically the bottom of the barrel and have little to no health benefits (not to mention how old and tired they are by the time they actually get to the store). Ewwww!!
All tea deriving from the Camellia sinensis plant have varying levels of caffeine (20-26mg). In addition to caffeine, tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine which increases the production of alpha waves in the brain. L-theanine, in combination with caffeine, stimulates the mind without overstimulating the nervous system reducing jitters, anxiety, headaches and caffeine addiction caused by coffee and other energy drinks.
In the past, the tea industry stated that caffeine amounts could be pinpointed based on the specific type of tea. For instance you may have heard that white teas contain the least amount of caffeine followed by green, oolong, and black. This is no longer the case and it has been determined that because caffeine amounts are contingent on various factors such as plant age and growing conditions it is impossible to dictate how much caffeine is in the finished product of every single blend. What we can tell you is that the hotter the water (black teas require boiling water) the more caffeine that will be extracted into your cup. But, water temperature is important so refer to our bag labels and be careful to not use boiling water when steeping greens, whites, and oolongs!
It’s also interesting to know that what most call “herbal teas” is actually an oxymoron because they do not contain the leaf of the Camellia sinensis plant (tea) and thus caffeine. They are a blend of herbs, spices, roots, nuts, and flowers and we refer to them as herbals or tisanes ( pronounced tea-zahn). So keep in mind when shopping our store that our herbal blends are all naturally caffeine-free.
Fruity, Floral, Nutty, Spiced, Herbal or just Plain?
If your like me, you’ll prefer to experiment with your Flavor Palette and not commit to just one. So start clicking your favorite flavors into our search bar and explore!
Hot or Iced
If you’re preparing your tea properly, you don’t have to choose specific blends for hot or iced. You may find that you prefer your white blends hot and your herbals iced but this is just one more opportunity for you to enjoy playing in the wonderful world of loose leaf!