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Tea Knowledge

Tea Basics

Use a Tea Bag

Place loose tea in bag, place in a cup then pour boiling hot water over. Let it steep for 10-15 mins.

In a Tea Pot

Put the water in a kettle to boil. Tap water is often acceptable; if your tap water has a noticeable taste, but filtered or bottled water is best.

Shortly before the water in the kettle boils, empty out the teapot/infuser and add the tea leaves.You may want to put the leaves loose in the pot, or use a strainer, sock, or tea ball. You can, of course, also use tea bags in a pot. If you do, place the bags on the bottom of the pot so that they will be struck by the boiling water as it falls on them.

Add boiling water to the teapot or infuser.

Allow the tea to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the amount of tea and type. Be careful not to let the tea stand for too long. Different teas take different infusion times.

During the infusion, give the teapot a good shake or stir to let the leaves circulate. After they settle, pour the tea. Some authorities recommend using cups that have been preheated with hot water. This is primarily important if you are using very thin porcelain that could be cracked by the sudden addition of very hot tea.

Add whatever accessories you prefer: milk, sugar, honey, lemon, etc.  Organic products are preferred.Enjoy!

Tea Bags or Loose Tea?

High-quality tea is usually sold as loose tea. In addition, tea in bags goes stale much more quickly because of its greater surface area (and hence greater exposure to atmospheric oxygen); and it tends to pick up odors and flavors from surrounding foods.

Still, bags can be very convenient, especially if you are preparing tea away from home. It may be a good idea to store bagged tea in a tightly closed metal or opaque glass container to help keep it fresh longer.

How should I store tea?

Tea should be stored in an airtight, opaque container in a cool, dry place. Many tea retailers sell tea in metal tins that close tightly, which seems optimal. Clear glass jars are acceptable only if you can keep them in a closed cupboard away from light. If you reuse containers, avoid using materials that retain odors, as the tea will pick them up.

The refrigerator is not a good place. The cold encourages water condensation, which can ruin the tea. You can freeze tea for long-term storage if you tightly seal your container and wrap it in plastic. Before you open a container of frozen tea, let it warm to room temperature in order to avoid contaminating the tea with condensation. (You may also want to do this on a dry day.)

How much caffeine does tea contain? Does green tea have caffeine?

All real tea contains caffeine unless the tea has been artificially decaffeinated. (The only exception to this rule is Japanese kokicha, made from stems of the tea plant. Its caffeine content is negligible.) Tea also contains a related chemical called theobromine, which has similar (slightly milder) effects on the body.

The amount of caffeine in a cup of tea varies tremendously, depending on the variety of tea and the brewing time. (The most important factor in caffeine content of leaves appears to be the climate in which the plant is grown.) It has been widely claimed that green tea has less caffeine than black, but various sources (including a professional tea chemist) have informed me that this is not necessarily true. Although green tea often contains less caffeine than black, in some cases it may have just as much or more.

There is simply no reliable way, short of chemical analysis, of knowing exactly how much caffeine is in your cup; and chemical analysis is not terribly practical if you intend to drink the tea. My advice is to be mindful of how much you drink, and pay attention to how you react to a particular brand or sample of tea. There may be no better way to decide how to regulate your intake.