Everything you need to know about tea.
Ok, maybe this isn't everything you need to know, more like a general overview. But there are some important facts you should know about tea if you want to impress your dinner group.
What is tea, even?
The botanical name for the tea plant is camellia sinensis. It grows as a small shrub or bush, and is sometimes even referred to as a tree. The part of the plant that is used for your favorite morning beverage are the leaves. It's actually a really beautiful plant that has slender green leaves and white blossoms (see above illustration). So beautiful, in fact, I have it tattooed on my body.
The tea plant grows in mostly in tropical climates and the really good stuff comes from high elevation areas because it takes longer for the plant to grow, in turn giving the plant more flavor. Tea is grown all over the damn place, but the four biggest tea producing countries are China, India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.
Types of tea.
There are various types of tea, but the main ones you've probably heard of are black, green, white, and oolong. These are all from the same plant (camellia senensis) but what makes up all the variations (type, quality, price), are things like where it's grown, how old the plant is, what strain the plant comes from, and processing (oxidizing).
Oxidation is the browning of tea leaves and the production of flavor and aroma that results in such chemical reactions. It all can get real science-y real fast, but just know that black teas are the most oxidized, green and oolong generally less, and white barely. Some teas are not even oxidized, and some are fermented, and some are steamed. But each type of tea has its own way of being processed, making it it's own variation.
What about caffeine?
I don't know who is running around telling this lie, but I keep hearing people say they heard green tea has a fuck ton of caffeine. This is false, people. From most caffeine to least: black, oolong, green, white. The typical way in which I describe caffeine levels of tea is to compare it to coffee (I'm sorry). Black tea and coffee actually have the same amount of caffeine by volume. But since we process and brew them differently, that's not the case. A cup of black tea has about half the amount of caffeine of a cup of tea. Green tea has about half the amount caffeine of black tea. Oolong has more caffeine than green tea but not as much as black tea. And white tea has close to no caffeine but there are traces.
If you're still reading this, I'm sure you're thinking "But Jenni, what about herbal tea?? YOU HAVEN'T EVEN MENTIONED IT".
Well guess what people! Herbal tea isn't even considered TEA because it's not part of the camellia sinensis tea plant. In the tea world, herbal blends are referred to as a tisane ("ti-z-an"). But I always say HERBAL TEA because who the fuck even knows what tisane is unless you're a total connoisseur??
Anyway, herbal tea is not the tea plant, so theres never any caffeine...ever. Herbal tea can be made from literally any herb or spice: chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, cinnamon, licorice root, hibiscus...to name a few.
Luna Tea Co.
So now that you have a general overview of tea, now you can understand what I do at Luna Tea Co. I combine the tea plant with different herbs and spices to create organic hand crafted tea blends. I have different variations of black tea blends, green tea blends, and herbal blends. So if you're not a purist and you love the idea of different flavor combinations, check out my website where you can purchase my delicious organic creations.
Have any questions or want to add to this wealth of knowledge? Leave a comment or join me on social media! I post a lot about my process and the various ingredients in each tea blend.