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Teas

Tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world, aside from plain water, of course. Every culture in the world has its version of tea. So what is tea? In the strictest sense, tea is a beverage that is made by pouring hot or boiling water over dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant or tea plant as it is commonly known. Through the years, the meaning of the word “tea” has evolved to being almost anything made from dried plant parts and steeped in hot water.

Tea Trivia

  • The first iced tea recipe can be found in “Housekeeping in Old Virginia,” which was first published in 1877.
  • The tea bag was invented by accident. Thomas Sullivan gave away tea samples in 1908 in small bags, and the customers used them as is instead of opening the bags.
  • Tasseography is a form of divination or fortune-telling that “reads” or interprets one’s fortune from patterns in tea leaves.
  • Milk was originally poured with tea to prevent it from staining fine china.
  • Earl Grey tea, one of the most popular blends of tea, was named after a 19th-century British diplomat.
  • Slurping tea, while it sounds like bad table manners, actually increases the flavor of the tea and provides greater contact with one’s taste buds.

Tea Buying Guide

Let’s go through the types of teas. This is in no way a comprehensive list, but let’s go over the most popular types of tea that you can find in stores.

  • Black Tea – Black tea is probably the most widely used tea in the world. In China, black tea is called “red tea,” but it’s basically the same thing. This is made by oxidizing the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea has the most robust flavor of all the tea varieties, and it has the highest caffeine levels, which makes it excellent for morning teas. The English Breakfast tea blend is primarily black tea.
  • White Tea – White tea is the most delicate and least processed of all tea types. White tea is only picked at certain times during tea season when the new buds “flush” and are hand plucked to ensure that only the leaf shoots are plucked. Authentic white tea is the most expensive tea type available.
  • Green Tea – Green tea has a beautiful green color due to the lack of oxidation. In China, the tea leaves are pan-fired / roasted to retain the green color. In Japan, the leaves are steamed before being dried. Chinese green tea is bolder with citrus notes, while Japanese green tea is more delicate.
  • Herbal Teas – These are teas that are made from the leaves or flowers of various plants and not necessarily from the Camellia sinensis. A quick rundown of the most popular herbal teas.
    • Chamomile Tea – This is one of the most popular herbal teas. Typically consumed before bedtime as this is caffeine-free and is usually considered to be helpful in getting a good night’s sleep.
    • Peppermint Tea – Another trendy tea blend, also caffeine-free, and it is prized for its minty taste and is generally taken as something to help with headaches.
    • Ginger Tea – Ginger tea is usually taken for nausea relief and to help control blood sugar in people with diabetes.
    • Moringa Tea – Superfood tea! This has been gaining popularity in the past few years and they contain tons of vitamins and nutrients.

Tea Production & Farming in Texas

Tea production in Texas has not gone into full swing as of this writing. The only sizeable tea plantation in Texas that we have come across is the East Texas Tea Company. They have around 5 acres consisting of approximately 1,000 plants. They no longer sell tea commercially. As of the last checking, it is now a private garden.

Eating Teas

Steeping tea is both art and science. Once you’ve mastered the science of how tea is supposed to be steeped, then it becomes an art form that you can tweak to your desired results.

  • Temperature – The water temperature is extremely important when steeping tea.
    • For Dark Teas like oolong or black tea, bring the water to a rolling boil before pouring it over the tea leaves.
    • For light and delicate teas like green tea, white tea, and most floral teas, the water used must not be boiling, take the water off of the heat when small bubbles start to form, and that should be hot enough to steep the tea in. If you pour boiling water on delicate teas, there is a chance that the tea leaves will be “cooked and lose their flavor.
  • Time – Time also plays a crucial role in tea steeping. Steep too long, and you’ll get bitter tea. Not enough time steeping will leave you with a bland taste. Here are some guidelines on how long you should steep your tea. Take this as a rough guide and adjust to your liking.
    • White Tea – Tea bags should be steeped 30-60 seconds. Full-leaf teas 2-3 minutes.
    • Green Tea – Tea bags should be steeped 1-3 minutes. Full leaf teas 2-4 minutes.
    • Black Tea – Tea bags should be steeped 3-5 minutes. Full leaf teas 3-5 minutes.
    • Oolong Tea – Tea bags should be steeped 3-5 minutes. Full leaf teas 5-7 minutes.
    • Red/Herb Tea – Tea bags should be steeped 5-7 minutes. Full leaf teas 5-7 minutes.

Storage:

Store your teas in opaque and airtight containers. Keeping them away from moisture, air, and light will ensure that they stay fresh as long as possible. Do not assume that the vendor’s packaging is adequate for long term storage. Transfer tea to your own containers to ensure freshness.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 1.8 0%
  • Carbs: 0.5g 0%
  • Sugar: 0g 0%
  • Fiber: 0g 0%
  • Protein: 0g 0%
  • Fat: 0g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 0mg 0%
  • Vitamin C 0mg 0%
  • Vitamin A 0IU 0%
  • Calcium 0mg 0%
  • Iron 0mg 0%
  • Potassium 37.4mg 1%
  • Caffeine 35.6mg
  • Manganese 0.4mg 19%
  • Folate 8.9mcg 2%
  • Magnesium 1.8mg 0%
  • Phosphorus 1.8mg 0%

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