How the leaves are processed will determine their final classification as White, Green, Oolong or Black Tea. The main difference between the many tea varieties is how much oxygen the leaves are allowed to absorb during processing. Much oxygen produces dark-colored, black teas. A little oxygen results in green tea. Unprocessed leaves are called "white tea."
are produced on a very limited scale in China and India. They are the least processed of all teas. The new tea buds are plucked before they open and simply allowed to dry. The curled-up buds have a silvery appearance and produce a pale and very delicate cup of tea.
is often referred to as “unfermented" tea. The freshly picked leaves are allowed to dry, then they are heat-treated (steamed or fired) to stop any fermentation (also called oxidation). In China, traditional hand-making methods are still employed in many places, particularly in the manufacture of the fine green teas you'll find offered here.
is generally referred to as "semi-fermented" tea and is principally manufactured in China and Taiwan – often called Formosa, its old Dutch name. For the manufacture of Oolongs, the leaves are wilted in direct sunlight, then shaken in bamboo baskets to lightly bruise the edges. Next, the leaves are spread out to dry until the surface of the leaf turns slightly yellow. They are then usually smoked over pine charcoal, giving them their distinctive flavor and aroma. Oolongs are always whole leaf teas, never broken by rolling. The least fermented Oolong teas, almost green in appearance, are called "Pouchong."
undergoes a full fermentation process composed of four basic steps - withering, rolling, fermenting, and firing. First, the plucked leaves are spread out to wither. The withered leaves are then rolled, in order to release the chemicals within the leaf that are essential to its final color and flavor. The rolled leaves are spread out once more to absorb oxygen (oxidize / ferment), causing the leaves to turn from green to coppery red. Finally, the oxidized leaves are fired in order to arrest fermentation, turning the leaf black and giving it the recognizable tea scent.
is a special kind of Tea which is made from green or black tea, fermented (using a secret process passed down for centuries), and pressed into cakes or bricks and stored for several years before being offered for sale. Aged Pu-Erh is also available as a loose tea. Like a fine wine, Pu-Erh's flavor mellows and improves over time – some highly prized (and very expensive!) Pu-Erh Cakes are over 30 years old!
include Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey and other Teas from India & Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in White, Green and Black versions. Chai (the Hindi word for Tea) is a blend of teas and spices. Indian Darjeeling & Assam Black Teas (or Chinese or Ceylonese Blacks) are blended with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, black pepper and other aromatic spices. Chai can also be made with Green Tea or Rooibos for reduced caffeine levels. Chai is usually served strong with Milk and Honey, although it is also wonderful all by itself!
White, Green and Black Teas are created when additional flavorings are mixed with the leaf as a final stage before the tea is packed. For Premium Jasmine tea, whole, fresh jasmine blossoms are added to the green tea during the drying process, new blossoms are added every night, and the old ones are removed.
This process is repeated for up to 10 nights. For other grades of Jasmine tea, the blossoms are added when the tea is packed. For other floral-scented or flavored teas, flower blossoms or petals may be added to the tea either during drying, or just prior to packing. Fruit and spice flavored teas are generally made by combining a fruit's or spice's essential oils, or actual pieces of the fruit or spice, with tea from China, India or Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
are not really teas. They are made from South African Herbs called "Rooibos" and "Honeybush." Both are naturally caffeine-free, with distinctive flavors and aromas. Rooibos' flavor is reminiscent of Chinese Black Tea, but somewhat milder and sweeter. Honeybush is a honey-scented flowering bush and creates an enticing, rich brew with sweet honey overtones. Rich in anti-oxidants, phytoestrogens and essential minerals, both of these organic South African herbals are delicious and healthy, and ARE naturally caffeine-free.
Another type of "Red" Tea is "Yerba Maté," a South American herb with a sweet, tea-like flavor, high antioxidant and mineral content and the stimulating properties of caffeine. Maté has great social significance in Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil, where people carry their Maté with them in a "gourda & bombilla" through which they sip all day long, adding water as they go. Maté is NOT caffeine-free!
are not "true teas" as they are not made with tea leaves. Herbal teas are made from flowers, herbs, spices and other botanicals, specially blended to be soothing and rejuvenating. These "teas" are naturally caffeine-free.
Our Decaffeinated Teas are decaffeinated using either a natural CO-2 process or a water process that allows the leaves to retain their delicate shape and flavor. Made from Ceylonese (Sri Lankan), Indian or Chinese Green and Black Teas, they come in several varieties and flavors.