Choosing Your Tea
Try a specialty tea or stick to a classic favourite!
- Classic Tea: Great tea, common leaves and growing techniques.
- Specialty Tea: Special growing conditions, often young leaves, hand rolled, harder to harvest, often smoother taste (think fine wine or scotch).
Types of Tea
- Black and Flavoured Black Tea
- The most popular teas on the market are black teas, which have the most caffeine with a deep rich robust flavour. Once the leaves are picked they are left out in the sun to slightly wilt, the leaves are then rolled to break open their tissue. The inner chemicals react to the air and begin to oxidize (fermentation) and the leaves darken and change from green to red to black. After oxidation is complete, the leaves are dried and then packaged.
- Black tea grown in the Assam Valley of India, known for the one-horned rhino and Brahmaputra River, which has the larges tea growing area in the world. Assam teas have a first flush, second and Autumnal flush. The first flush has a rich and fresh aroma, second flush produces the “tippy” teas. “Tippy” teas are black teas with golden tips and are very popular. Not all tea estates have the ability to produce “tippy” teas. The golden tip in Assam teas lessens the astringent characteristic of the tea and makes it sweet and smooth. Assam tea can be malty with a sweet smooth characteristic.
- Black tea grown in the Darjeeling Province of India at 6, 562 ft above sea level and in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountain Range. The most cool climate, soil, rainfall and sloping terrain combine to give Darjeeling a unique “Muscatel” flavour and exquisite bouquet, which is not found anywhere else in the world. The finest and most delicately flavoured teas come from Darjeeling and have acquired the reputation of being the “Champagne of Teas”.
- Oolong tea falls somewhere between green tea and black tea in the amount of time the tea leaves are allowed to oxidize. The difference is the oolong tea goes through a shorter wilting stage and the leaves are fired directly after in order to prevent further fermentation. The leaves can range from being almost black to dark green, depending on when oxidation is stopped.
- Green tea comes from the same plant as all other teas. After the tea leaves are plucked and sorted, they are either steamed or pan fired. Green tea does not go through the oxidation (fermentation) process. Green tea has less caffeine than black tea and the leaves are often rolled into different shapes prior to drying. Green tea also has very powerful antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids.
- White tea is the least processed tea and is said to have three times more antioxidants than green or black tea. White tea leaves are picked early in the year while the tiny white hairs are still visible on the leaves and the bud is still closed. Only the top leaf and a bud are picked from the plants which are then allowed to dry in the sun. White tea produces a light cup usually very pale yellow with a light and slightly sweet taste.
- South African, 1500-2500 ft above sea level, fruity with sweet notes, reddish to deep red, caffeine free, soothing effect on headaches, digestive problems, contains beneficial minerals such as iron, potassium, cooper and zinc, enjoy hot or cold.
- Blend of fruits, herbs and natural flavours, caffeine free. Can be enjoyed hot or cold. Often contains Vitamin C and trace of minerals.
Photos by Sean Frith and Alex Taylor