Feb 3, 2011


Ever wonder how long you should steep your tea and how hot the water should be? If your British probably not, you probably pour scalding hot water in your tea cup and drink when it looks black enough. Well I have learned after years of drinking teat that if you pour boiling hot water on some teas you will burn the leaves and get bitter tea. This is not a good thing. Here is a handy chart that tells you about brewing times.
Tea origins
Tea is the most popular drink in the world. It has been drunk for thousands of years and is thought to have originated in China when some tea leaves fell into the Emperors water. Since that time tea has been used in many different ways and at some points in history it was so valuable that it was used as currency. It has been used by doctors to treat disease and is thought to improve longevity, vitality and general well-being.

Types of tea
Many people do not realize that tea comes in five main types:
  • Green Tea
  • Oolong Tea
  • Black Tea; and
  • White Tea
  • Pu Erh Tea
All of these teas come from the same plant called the Camellia sinensis and are given different names only after certain cooking or preparation methods are carried out. Green Tea is pan fried or steamed to prevent the leaves from oxidizing or fermenting. Oolong Teas are the most expensive because they are semi-fermented and made in a more elaborate method. The color of this tea is usually a light yellow. Black Tea is the strongest tea of them all the the type we are most used to drinking in the west. It is fully fermented and has up to three times as much caffeine in it than the other teas. White tea is quite rare and is made from the white buds of the tea plant as opposed to the green tea leaves. It is a clear white color and much finer. Pu Erh Tea is chinese tea that has been fermented twice and then left to grow mold on it. It is said to have strong medical properties.

Another type of "tea" (that is not actually tea) that I love is Rooibos. This tea comes from a bush in Africa.  Rooibos tea goes through a fermentation process. It is finely chopped, bruised and left to ferment in heaps,  then left to dry in the African sun, where it changes from a vivid green to a deep mahogany red the unique color which Rooibos tea is known and adored (and consumed).
Here are a few of my favourite sites to buy tea


  1. Yum! I love rooibos...but I'm always afraid to actually say it aloud!

    This is awesome, Hayley. Thank you. I wonder if you have any wonderful chai-recipes up your knowledge-ally.

  2. "ROY-buss" is how I say it =) I will send some chai info your way!