Types of Tea
All tea comes from two varieties of the tea plant called Camellia sinensis sinensis (a smaller leafed plant) or Camellia sinensis assamica (a larger leafed plant). The two Camellia sinensis plants are native to South and Southeast Asia, but are grown all over the world in tropical and subtropical environments. Black tea, Oolong, Green and White tea all come from the two varieties of tea, but are processed differently and exposed to different levels of oxidation.
Black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the oolong, green, and white teas. Black tea is the strongest in flavour and contains the most caffeine because it is oxidized longer. Both varieties of the Camellia species are used to make Black tea: Camellia sinensis sinensis (also used for green and white teas) and the Assamese plant, Camellia sinensis assamica, which has only been used for black tea in the past, but in recent years has been used for Green. In Chinese languages, Black tea is known literally as "crimson tea", a closer description to the colour of the tea produced. The name Black tea could otherwise refer to the colour of the leaves after processing.(Learn more about Black tea)
Brewing Black Tea
For most Black teas about a teaspoon per 8 oz. cup should be used. Unlike Green teas, which turn bitter when brewed at higher temperatures, black tea should be steeped in freshly boiled water. If you prefer a stronger cup of Black tea, use more tea in your infusion and steep for the suggested amount of time. The more delicate black teas, like Darjeeling, should be steeped for around 3 to 4 minutes. Broken leaf teas, which have more surface area, need less brewing time than whole leaves. Whole leaf Black teas, and Black teas typically served with milk or lemon should be steeped 4 to 5 minutes.
Black Tea Nutritional Information
Black teas without sweeteners or additives contain minimal quantities of calories, protein, sodium, and fat. Some flavoured tea with herbs and extra flavouring added may have less than 1 gram of carbohydrates. All teas from the Camellia sinensis tea plant are rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant.(back to top of page)
Pu-erh's are the only fermented teas, whereas other Black teas are only oxidized. Although Pu-erh teas are usually classified as post-oxidation or, just simply as Black teas, Pu-erh teas can be placed in three types of processing methods, namely: green tea, oxidized tea, and secondary-oxidation. Pu-erhs can be green teas if they are lightly processed before being pressed into cakes. This type of Pu-erh is referred to as maocha if unpressed and as "green/raw Pu-erh" if pressed. While not always pleasant tasting, green Pu-erhs are fairly inexpensive and are known to age well for up to 30 years. Pu-erh can also be an oxidized tea if it goes through slow process oxidation for up to a year. This Pu-erh is referred to as ripened or cooked Pu-erh, and has a more mellow and pleasant flavour. Aged Pu-erhs are secondary-oxidation and post-oxidation teas. If aged from green Pu-erh, the aged tea will be mellow in taste but still clean in flavour.(Learn more about Pu-erh tea)
Brewing Pu-erh Tea
Preparing a Pu-erh brick or cake involves first breaking off compressed tea for brewing. There are many ways to do this: by flaking off pieces of the cake or steaming the entire cake until it is softened up; using Pu-erh knife (similar to an oyster knife or a rigid letter opener) to pry large flakes of tea off the cake to reduce leaf breakage.
Pu-erh is generally expected to be served Gongfu style, generally in a Yixing tea pot or in a type of Chinese teacup called a gaiwan. Optimum water temperatures are generally regarded to be around 95 degree Celsius for lower quality Pu-erhs and 85-89 degree Celsius for good
Pu-erh Tea Nutritional Information
Drinking Pu-erh tea is purported to reduce blood cholesterol. It is also widely believed in Chinese cultures to counteract the unpleasant effects of heavy alcohol consumption. In traditional Chinese medicine, the tea is believed to invigorate the spleen and inhibit "dampness." In the stomach, it is believed to reduce heat and "descends qi".
Pu-erh tea is widely sold as a weight loss tea or used as a main ingredient in such commercially prepared tea mixtures. Though there is as yet no empirically backed evidence as to how Pu-erh might facilitate weight loss, the widely proposed explanations include that the tea increases the drinker's metabolism, or that the high tannin content in the tea binds macronutrients and coagulate digestive enzymes, thus reducing nutrient absorption. Although evidence is still sparse, it has been shown that rats experience reduction in body weight, blood triglycerides, and blood cholesterol following a diet containing Pu-erh tea.
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In Chinese tea culture, semi-oxidized oolong teas are known as qingchá (Chinese: "blue-green tea"). Oolong tastes more like a green tea than black tea- it does not contain the sweet smell of black tea but, at the same time doesn't have the grassy, earthy flavours that are associated with green tea. Oolong is usually prepared to be strong and bitter, but leaves a sweet aftertaste. Many types of Oolong, and among those the famous produced in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian and in the central mountains of Taiwan, are a few of the most famous Chinese teas. The English name, Oolong tea, comes from the Chinese name which is pronounced as and is translated as "black dragon tea". There are three ideas about how the Chinese name happened:
The "tribute tea" theory suggests that Oolong tea descended from the Dragon-Phoenix Tea Cake tribute tea, which Oolong tea replaced when loose tea came into fashion. It was called the Black Dragon tea because the tea appears dark in colour, long and curled, like the mystic Black Dragon.
(Learn more about Oolong tea)
Brewing Oolong Tea
Generally, 2.25 grams of tea per 7 ounces of water should be used. Oolong teas should be prepared with 180F to 190F (82C-87C) water (not boiling) and steeped 3-4 minutes. High quality Oolong can be brewed multiple times from the same leaves, and unlike green tea it improves with reuse. It is common to brew the same leaves three to five times, the third steeping usually being the best.
Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
Scientists from Japan's University of Tokushima School of Medicine found that people who regularly consumed Oolong tea experienced more than twice the calorie-burning results compared to those who drank green tea.Weight Loss
A study published in the Journal of Medical Investigation found that women who consumed Oolong tea directly after a meal increased energy expenditure by 10%. This compared to an energy expenditure of 4% for green tea drinkers and 0 for water drinkers.
Researchers at the Suntory Research Center in Osaka, Japan found that drinking Oolong tea 15 minutes before eating foods high in carbohydrates curbed rises in insulin, thus reducing some of the fattening effects of carbohydrate intake.
Researchers from Japan's Shiga University of Medical Science found that drinking Oolong each day helps to clear up skin problems within one month.
Dr. Kenichi Yanagimoto and colleagues from the University of California found that people who drank Oolong tea on a daily basis experienced a fifty-percent reduction in free radicals within 15 days.
Free radicals are damaging substances in the body that contribute to signs of aging, including wrinkles and dark spots that are caused by ultra-violet rays, chemical food additives, pollution and stress.
A study by the Department of Dentistry at Japan's Osaka University showed that regular consumption of Oolong tea strengthens teeth and helps prevent tooth decay by inhibiting the build-up of plaque.Stronger Immune System
According to a study published in Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, test subjects who consumed Oolong were found to have stronger immune systems and a reduced risk for infections.(back to top of page)
Green tea is a type of tea made solely with the leaves of Camellia sinensis that has undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originates from China and has become associated with many cultures in Asia from Japan to the Middle East. Recently, it has become more widespread in the West, where black tea is traditionally consumed. Many varieties of green tea have been created in countries where it is grown. These varieties can differ substantially due to variable growing conditions, processing and harvesting time. Over the last few decades green tea has been subjected to many scientific and medical studies to determine the extent of its long-purported health benefits, with some evidence suggesting regular green tea drinkers may have lower risk of heart disease and developing certain types of cancer. Green tea has also been claimed useful for weight loss management.
(Learn more about Green tea)
Brewing Green Tea
Generally, 2.5 grams of tea per 170 ml of water, or about one teaspoon of green tea per cup, should be used. With very high quality teas like gyokuro, more than this amount of leaf is used, and the leaf is steeped multiple times for short durations.
Green tea brewing time and temperature varies with individual teas. The hottest brewing temperatures are 80°C to 90°C water and the longest steeping times 2 to 3 minutes. The coolest brewing temperatures are 60°C to 70°C and the shortest times about 30 seconds. In general, lower quality green teas are steeped hotter and longer, while higher quality teas are steeped cooler and shorter. Steeping green tea too hot or too long will result in a bitter, astringent brew from low quality leaves. High quality green teas can be and usually are steeped multiple times; 2 or 3 steepings is typical. The brewing technique also plays a very important role in preventing the tea developing an overcooked taste. Preferably, the vessel in which the tea is steeped should also be warmed beforehand so that the tea does not immediately cool down.
Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea consumption is reportedly associated with various health-promoting properties. For example, it has been shown to promote fat oxidation in humans at rest and to prevent obesity and improve insulin sensitivity in mice.
In a study performed at Birmingham (UK) University, it was shown that average fat oxidation rates were 17% higher after ingestion of Green Tea Extract than after ingestion of a placebo. Similarly the contribution of fat oxidation to total energy expenditure was also significantly higher by a similar percentage following ingestion of Green Tea Extract. This implies that ingestion of Green Tea Extract can not only increase fat oxidation during moderately intensive exercise but also improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in healthy young men.
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White tea is the uncured and unoxidized tea leaf. White tea is fast-dried,while green tea is roasted in an oven or pan (kept moving for even curing).Oolong and black teas are oxidized before curing.
White tea often contains buds and young tea leaves, which have been found to contain lower levels of caffeine than older leaves, suggesting that the caffeine content of some white teas may be slightly lower than that of green teas.
White tea is a specialty of the Chinese province Fujian. The leaves come from a
number of varieties of tea cultivars. The most popular are Da Bai (Large White),
Xiao Bai (Small White), Narcissus and Chaicha bushes. According to the different standards of
picking and selection, white teas can be classified into a number of grades, further described in the varieties section.
(Learn more about White tea)
Brewing White Tea
Generally, around 2 to 2.5 grams of tea per 200 ml (6 ounces) of water, or about 1.5 teaspoons of white tea per cup, should be used. White teas should be prepared with 80°C (180°F) water (not boiling) and steeped for 2 to 3 minutes. Many tea graders, however, choose to brew this tea for much longer, as long as 10 minutes on the first infusion, to allow the delicate aromas to develop. Finer teas will exhibit more flavour and complexity with no bitterness as they brew. Lower grade teas do not always stand this test well and develop bitter flavors or tannins. On successive brews (white teas produce three very good brews and a fourth that is passable), extend the time by several minutes per. The third brew may require as long as 15 minutes to develop well. Temperature is crucial: if it is too hot, the brew will be bitter and the finer flavors will be overpowered.
Benefits of White Tea
A study at Pace University in 2004 showed white tea had more anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities than green tea. White tea contains higher catechin levels than green tea due to its lack of processing. Catechin concentration is greatest in fresh, unbroken and unfermented tea leaves.
White tea is made out of young leaves and buds, which is said to contain more of the amino acid theanine (relaxing and mood enhancing properties) than green and black teas which are made from older leaves.
Caffeine content of green and white teas are similar, though both depend on factors such as the variety of tea, the cut and length of the leaf, and the method of steeping.
White tea contains less fluoride than green tea since it is made from young leaves only.(back to top of page)
Rooibos, (pronounced "roy-boss"; Afrikaans for "red bush"; scientific
name Aspalathus linearis) is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants. The plant is used to make a herbal tea called Rooibos tea, bush tea (esp. southern Africa), redbush tea (esp. UK), South African red tea (esp. USA), or red tea. The product has been popular in southern Africa for generations and is now consumed in many countries. Rooibos is grown only in a small area in of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Generally the leaves are oxidized which produces the distinctive reddish-brown colour of Rooibos and enhances the flavour. Unoxidized Green Rooibos is also produced, but the more demanding production process for Green Rooibos (similar to the method by which green tea is produced) makes it more expensive than traditional Rooibos. (Learn more about Rooibos tea)
Using Rooibos Tea
In South Africa it is more common to drink Rooibos with milk and sugar, but elsewhere it is usually served without. The flavour of Rooibos tea is often described as being sweet (without sugar added) and slightly nutty. Rooibos can be prepared in the same manner as black tea, and this is the most common method. Unlike black tea, however, Rooibos does not become bitter when steeped for a long time; some households leave the tea to steep for days at a time.
Nutritional Benefits of Rooibos
Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries particularly among health-conscious consumers, due to its high level of antioxidants such as aspalathin and nothofagin, its lack of caffeine, and its low tannin levels compared to fully oxidized black tea or unoxidized green tea leaves.
Rooibos is purported to assist with nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems.
Traditional medicinal uses of Rooibos in South Africa include alleviating infantile colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological problems. For skin treatments, Rooibos is brewed and placed directly on infected areas. Green Rooibos, especially effective for acne, rashes and other skin irritation, has a higher antioxidant capacity than fully oxidized Rooibos. (back to top of page)
Yerba maté (British spelling, Yerba-maté, Spanish yerba maté, Portuguese erva-mate), Ilex paraguariensis, is a species of holly (family Aquifoliaceae) native to subtropical South America in Argentina, eastern Paraguay, western Uruguay and southern Brazil. It was first scientifically classified by Swiss botanist Moses Bertoni, who settled in Paraguay in 1894.
The yerba maté plant is a shrub or small tree growing up to 15 meters tall. The leaves are evergreen, 7–11 cm long and 3–5.5 cm wide, with a serrated margin. The flowers are small, greenish-white, with four petals. The fruit is a red drupe 4–6 mm diameter.
(Learn more about Yerba maté)
Brewing yerba maté
The flavour of brewed yerba maté is strongly vegetal, herbal, and grassy, reminiscent of some varieties of green tea. Many consider the flavour to be very agreeable. Because it is generally bitter if steeped in boiling water, it should be made using hot rather than boiling water. One teaspoon of yerba maté is used per 8oz cup and steeped for 3-5 minutes. Unlike most teas, it does not become bitter and astringent when steeped for extended periods. The leaves may be infused several times.
Nutritional Benefits of yerba maté
Each infusion of yerba maté contains vitamins A, C, E B1, Niacin (B3), B5, and B Complex. The minerals Mate contains are calcium, manganese and phosphorus. yerba maté is also high in fatty acids, Chlorophyll, Flavonols, Polyphenols, Trace Minerals, antioxidants, Pantothenic acid and 15 Amino acids.
According to Dr. Mowry, Director of Mountainwest Institute of Herbal Sciences, one of the group of investigators from the Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society concluded that yerba maté contains "practically all of the vitamins needed to sustain life". They focused especially on the Pantothenic Acid, remarking that it is "rare to find a plant with so much of this significant and vital nutrient. It is indeed difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to Mate in nutritional value."
In addition, results from a study done by researchers at the University of Madrid assert there is a high content of mineral elements, especially K, Mg ad Mn in Mate. The researchers considered those findings "to be of great relevance" to the nutritional value of Mate infusions.
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LaPacho, Pau darco or Taheebo is an herbal tea made from the inner bark of Pink ê, (Tabebuia impetiginosa).
Taheebo, or Pau d'Arco, is the common name for the inner bark of the Red or Purple LaPacho tree. This tree grows high in the Andes of the South American rainforest. The Red LaPacho's purple-colored inner bark was one of the main medicines used by the Incas and has been used for over 1,000 years by the Callawaya tribe, descendants of the Incas.(Learn more about Lapacho)
Production of Lapacho
To produce LaPacho, the inner bark of the Pink Ipê is dried, and shredded. A powdered form of LaPacho is also made by using this same process, then grinding the bark into a fine powder.
Potential Benefits of Lapacho
LaPacho plays a central role in the herbal medicine of several South American indigenous peoples. LaPacho bark is typically used during flu and cold season and for easing smoker's cough. It works by promoting the lungs to expectorate and free deeply embedded mucus and contaminates during the first three to ten days of treatment.
LaPacho is used by herbalists as a putative treatment for cancer, HIV, and numerous other maladies. Studies by the U.S. National Cancer Institute showed that LaPacho may prevent, delay, or treat cancer; but the oral doses needed to reach useful levels in the blood also cause severe side effects. Brazilian researchers isolated a substance in LaPacho tea that apparently contains a chemical chain, anti-tumor agent. Dr. Paulo Martin, a medical researcher for the Brazilian government stated, "We isolated a compound we called quechua from LaPacho and found it to be a powerful antibiotic, with virus-killing properties." Dr. Norman Farnsworth of the University of Illinois, who supports Dr. Martin, is quoted as saying: "LaPacho undoubtedly contains a substance found to be highly effective against cancer." Some
some countries the use the word 'tea' is legally restricted to infusions of Camellia sinensis (the tea plant). feel that one of the most significant contributions of LaPacho tea is the elimination of pain. Apparently this takes about 3 days of drinking a quart of Red or purple LaPacho tea each day, properly prepared, and 2-3 cups per day thereafter.
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Herbal and Fruit Tea (Tisane)The English word "tisane" originated from the Greek word πτισάνη (ptisanē), a drink made from pearl barley.
Technically, the name 'herbal tea' is incorrect because they are not made with real tea (Camellia sinensis),
but by infusing other plants. Inome countries the use the word 'tea' is legally restricted to infusions of
Camellia sinensis (the tea plant).(Learn more about Herbal and Fruit teas)
Types of Herbal Teas we sell
Good Night: Valerian Root, Passion Flower, Lemon Balm Leaf,
Peppermint, Fennel, Caraway, Anise, Rosehip, Rosemary, Marigold Blossoms
Hers: Cinnamon, Apple bits, Rooibos, Ginger, Fennel, Chamomile, Clove,
Cardamom, Alchemilla, St. John's Wort, Black Pepper, Ginseng Root
Yogi Chai: Ceylonese Cinnamon, Spice, Orange Peel, Natural Cinnamon Flavour
Stress Blocker: Apple Cubes, Rosehip, Rooibos, St. John's Wort, Orange Peel, Lemon Grass, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Gingko Leaves, Calendula, Orange Blossoms and Natural Flavour.
Types of Fruit Teas we sell
Maritime Cranberry Fruit: Apple , Hibiscus, Rose Hip, Elderberry, Blueberry, Calendula, and Natural Flavour
Pear Cream Fruit: Apple, Hibiscus, Rosehip, Elderberry, Calendula and Natural Flavour
Canadian Blueberry Fruit: Apple, Hibiscus, Rosehip, Elderberry, Blueberry, Orange Peel and Natural Flavour
We ship across continental North America and as far as Kelowna BC. We are happy to ship our fresh flavourful teas and tisanes as well as unique tea accessories as far as Kelowna BC and across all of Canada. Please view our products online at www.shop.distinctlytea.com.