There is a LOT to know about tea! We conduct monthly Tea Tastings at the store, please give us a call to reserve a spot! 201.432.4TEA.
Before leaving the factory, teas are tasted by expert tasters, carefully weighed, and tested for moisture content. Even the best quality teas cannot reveal their full flavors if brewed improperly.
Follow these three easy steps to ensure enjoyment of your tea: Start with fresh, cold water and bring just to point of full rolling boil, or until you hear the kettle whistle.
Pour water over leaves, about a teaspoon/cup and allow to steep 5 minutes stirring once. Experiment on the amount, and brewing time. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to making tea, it's an art! Remove leaves from water by straining, and allow brew to cool slightly. Use all five senses to appreciate the characteristics of your tea! Generally Assam and any variety of CTC will take less time to brew, the 5-minute mark is only a general guideline.
Why fresh, cold water?
Previously boiled water doesn't have much oxygen, which greatly inhibits the development of flavor. Tea needs a lot of oxygen, so make sure fresh water (filtered or spring) is always available. In our store, we use Water Doctor (http://www.waterdoctorusa.com, 732.972.7510) which is a tap of amazing water installed right on the sink. We love it and so do our customers!
Why just to point of full rolling boil?
Because too much of that oxygen can escape! Green teas taste better when the water is heated to just before the boiling point. In the beginning, it's not mega-important to get the temperature precise; if you have the inclination, experiment with different water temperatures.
What does CTC mean?
CTC is an anagram for Cut, Tear and Curl, which is a process of manufacture that allows for a quick, strong liqueuring tea. Liqueur refers to the liquid, the tea you actually drink as opposed to the brewed leaves.
What does Orthodox mean?
Orthodox refers to the whole leaf teas, the CTC type look like small granules, but are actually tiny pieces of leaf and do not dissolve.
Why do CTC teas brew faster than others?
Because the leaves are broken into smaller pieces they have more surface area than whole leaf, so it liqueurs (the water gets colory) faster.
Organic is a term applied to any agricultural product cultivated without any man-made chemical fertilizers or pesticides. After a three-year process, the garden must be certified by International agencies for worldwide export. This is not exclusive to the Tea Industry, the agencies can certify any type of farm growing organic fruits and vegetables. Sometimes organic tea gardens have a lower yield, as a portion of the crop may be lost to pests like the tea mosquito, although the loss decreases with time. There is no discernable taste difference, although organic teas tend to keep better. Teas destined for the US market all have to clear customs and comply with strict EU and FDA standards and are absolutely safe for human consumption.
How long will my tea keep?
If stored properly in an airtight container, and not opened in the presence of humidity or strong smell, the flavor will remain for 6 months or longer, depending on quality. There is no need to keep a large volume of tea, only purchase what you think you can consume within a month or two. That way, it's always fresh! Fresh tea tastes better.
Which tea should I choose?
Please contact us for guidance! We know tea shopping can be confusing and we want to be sure you thoroughly enjoy your purchase. Generally, if you like tea with no milk and sugar, and are looking for a healthy beverage, try green tea. If milk, sugar and spices are more your taste, select a medium to full-bodied tea. All leaves from the camellia sinensis plant have anti-oxidant properties, so don't just go for White with the assumption black doesn't have any. It's just not true! Please contact us for additional information and direction towards University resesarch.
What can I do with all those used tea leaves? Should I throw them away?
No!!!! Tea leaves are organic material and as such can be used in cooking, soil compost (only for outdoor plants), even helping a toothache feel better! Please ask us if you'd like more usage tips.
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