Tea 101

 

Photo: zoeathome.com

I’m far from being a tea connoisseur, but I’ve learned quite a bit within the past year. I’m primarily a coffee drinker, but gradually crossing over to the other side. Coffee can be tough on my body, causing sharp ups and downs throughout the day. I know I won’t completely cut that aromatic cup of Joe out of my life, but I’m definitely going to cut back.

I started exploring loose leaf tea about a year ago and I must admit it’s growing on me. Scientific studies have shown both green and black teas can prevent cavities, gum disease and increase the body’s antioxidant activity. Caffeine levels are lower. There is a plethora of teas to explore and try. In essence, drinking tea is appealing.  And what’s there not to like when you can serve tea out of an adorable Marimekko teapot?

Here’s my very brief introduction to tea. Hopefully it will either inspire you to try it or at least further your knowledge on the subject.

Types of tea

There are six basic categories of tea:

1. Black tea is the most common kind of tea worldwide. It contains 20 percent of the caffeine found in coffee.

2. Green tea makes up about 10 percent of the world’s tea. It contains 5 to 10 percent of the caffeine found in a cup of coffee.

3. White tea is the rarest of all tea types. It contains very low caffeine levels, about 1 percent of what is found in a cup of coffee.

4. Oolong is often referred to as the “champagne” of teas. It contains about 10 – 15 percent of the caffeine found in a cup of coffee.

5. Pu-erh tea is the “black sheep” of tea. It has a strong, earthy taste and is recognized as a powerful digestive aid.

6. Tisane is often known as herbal tea. It’s not derived from tea leaves, but rather various herbs, spices and flowers. And it’s caffeine free.

Photo: zoeathome.com

Steeping tea

To get the most out of tea, many experts suggest letting tea steep freely so that the leaves can unfurl. Opt for higher quality tea from a specialty shop versus store-bought tea bags. Put your tea of choice into a teapot strainer (pictured above), and steep your tea accordingly:

1. Black tea: 195 – 205F degrees for 2 – 3 minutes

2. Green tea: 175F degrees for 45 seconds – 1 minute

3. White tea: 175F degrees for 4 – 5 minutes

4. Oolong: 195F degrees for 3 minutes

5. Pu-erh tea: 208 – 212F degrees. Can be steeped indefinitely

6. Tisane: 208F degrees for 5 – 6 minutes

If you desire a stronger flavor for the black, green or white teas, add more tea – not time. Certain teas will taste bitter if you steep it for too long.

There is A LOT more about tea that I did not cover in this post, but hopefully it’s a good starting point for those of you who are interested. Now that you’re clamoring for tea, treat yourself to a Marimekko teapot and invite your friends and family over to spread the knowledge.

 

1. Marimekko Oiva Hennika Blue/Green Teapot, $98

2. Marimekko Unikko Teapot, $98

3. Marimekko Oiva Red Teapot, $87

4. Marimekko Sääpäivakirja Teapot, $115

5. Marimekko Räsymatto Teapot, $98

6. Marimekko Oiva White Teapot, $89

 

 

 

 

 

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