All About Tea
by Bea Kunz of Sage
(Used by permission.)
One essential of brewing the perfect cup or pot of tea is to
never over infuse.
Black Tea: Bring the water to a boil, remove from the heat
source, add tea, cover and steep for required time. (Five to
seven minutes is good for most black tea.)
For a stronger tea, add more leaves instead of brewing for a
longer amount of time.
At the end of the infusion time, remove the tea leaves to avoid a
Always use loose leaf for a better quality; bags are usually of a
lesser quality of leaf.
Always use fresh water; do not use distilled water for making
tea; it is flat and the oxygen has been depleted.
Green Tea: Green teas are not fermented during the processing,
allowing the leaves to retain their natural color.
When making Green tea, you should bring the water almost to a
boil, but not completely.
Remove from heat, let stand about two minutes then add tea leaf.
Cover and steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
White Tea: White Teas are minimally processed. It is generally
only air dried and slightly oxidized.
The highest quality white teas are picked just before the buds
are open, while they are still covered with silky white hairs.
Hence the name...
White teas should be steeped well below the boiling point for 4
to 5 minutes.
Herbal Tisanes: Herbal Tisanes do not have black, green, or
white tea leaf. If the two are mixed they become a blend.
The English word "tisane" comes from the Greek word ptisane, a
drink made from pearl barley. Tisanes can be made from dried
flowers, leaves, seeds, or roots.
Interesting Tea Facts
All teas originate from one bush, the Camellia sinensis. The
difference in tea leaf comes about by the different methods of
Tea is a natural source of amino acids.
Want your tea with less caffeine?
Caffeine is highly water soluble, so it is the first constituent
of the leaf to be extracted in the steeping process. 80% or more
of the tea's caffeine content is released within the first 20 to
30 seconds of steeping. Simply discard the first steeping after
30 to 60 seconds and add fresh water and steep again.
Tea was valued for its medicinal qualities long before it became
a drink of pleasure.
A few tea tips:
Tea hastens the discharge of nicotine from the body.
Hibiscus tea was favored by the Pharaohs of the ancient Nile
Valley. It is known for its health properties. (Lowering blood
pressure, cools the body of fever, and it contains no caffeine.)
Always store tea in glass, ceramic or paper containers, never
Tea Facts Worth Knowing
Infusion: Tea made from leaves, flowers and light material. Put
1-2 teaspoons of herbal tea material into a brewing utensil of
your choice and place in a 6-8 oz size cup. Add lightly boiled
water and allow it to steep for 3-5 minutes. For a more
"medicinal" effect steep 15-30 minutes. Will keep refrigerated for
Decoction: Tea made from bark, roots, seeds, twigs and berries.
Put 1-3 tablespoons of cut herb, seed, root, bark, etc into a pot
of 16-32 oz of water and allow to sit in non-boiled water for at
least 5-10 minutes. Set on stove and bring to a slow boil then
turn down to a simmer for 10-30 minutes. Strain and drink. Will
keep about 72 hours if kept refrigerated.
Much of the research on green tea has focused on its polyphenol
content. Many different kinds of polyphenols are found in green
tea, and these polyphenols will become increasingly present in the
tea water the longer a tea is steeped. (This principle holds true
for green tea, white tea, black tea, and oolong tea.) Catechins,
theaflavins, and thearubigins are among the best studied of the
green tea polyphenols that are known to increase in the tea water
as steeping times increase.
When you brew tea yourself, you can control this steeping process
in a way that will maximize the polyphenol content of your tea.
When you buy a bottled tea, however, you may or may not get a tea
that has been carefully brewed. In addition, you are likely to get
a tea that includes other ingredients and is not simply 100%
According to a 2005 study, Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon
State University issued a report showing that many bottled teas
contained polyphenol content 10 to 100 times lower than freshly
and carefully brewed teas. Differences between bottled tea and
freshly brewed tea were attributed to steeping process, amount of
actual tea found in the bottled products, and presence of non-tea
ingredients in the bottled teas, including sugar. In addition,
bottled tea companies were sometimes found to use powdered rather
than brewed tea in their products.