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tea 101

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Lao Tzu

If you’re here, it means you’re ready to start your journey through the wonderful world of tea. Good thing you have us to guide you all the way. We’ve got the 411 on tea history, flavor profiles, preparation tips, and much more.

For a quick, handy reference,

download tea 101

types of tea

Black Tea in a mug
black tea

Ah, Black Tea—we just can’t get enough of it. But we aren’t alone in our appreciation. Black Tea is the most commonly consumed tea variety in the world. Known as Red Tea in China, Black Tea comes from Camellia Sinesis tea leaves, the same leaves used for Green Tea. The difference? To make Black Tea, these green leaves are crushed and then exposed to air. This process is known as oxidization and it’s what changes the color from green to a deep coppery red.

Consumed hot, or made into a refreshing iced tea, Black teas offer a world of flavor just waiting to be explored.

Dry Oolong Tea
Oolong tea

Oolong. Fun to say, and even more enjoyable to drink. Translated, it means “dark dragon” or “black dragon”. This fiery moniker comes not from the flavor, but rather the shape and color of the leaf. Also, much like dragons, oolong teas are highly revered in China.

When it comes to tea, there’s perhaps none that deliver more diversity of flavor, complexity, and body than oolongs. Coming from the Camellia sinensis plant, oolong serves as a fine example of what skillful processing can do to tea leaves. Existing somewhere between green and black tea, oolongs span across a wide variety of tea. In fact, any tea that’s between 8% and 85% oxidized can be considered an oolong.

Factoring in the horticulture, oxidation level and roasting, oolongs boast an impressive array of aromas, tastes and colors. In the skilled hands of an expert tea-maker, characteristics coaxed from a single batch of leaves can range anywhere from light, sweet, floral and buttery with hints of honey, to intense, woodsy and roasted, layered with notes of chocolate and nuts.

White Tea in a glass
WHITE TEA

When we think of White Tea, the first word that comes to mind is “rare”. Originating from Fujian province of China, white tea is, in fact, the least processed and most rare of all teas. As with every tea, white tea originates from our dear old friend, the Camellia sinensis plant.

Occurring only once a year, in the early spring, the yet-to-blossom buds and young leaves are delicately handpicked at a point when the sugars of youth are still present. Covered in soft, feathery white “hairs”, known as trichomes, the leaves have a silvery-white appearance, hence the name “white tea”.

Over the course of the next couple of days, the leaves are scrupulously monitored as they wither and dry on woven rattan trays, allowing the tea to cure in its own juices, and the natural sweetness to concentrate. Because white tea is not oxidized, it results in a pleasantly lighter brew than green and traditional black teas.

For a subtle, yet extraordinary, tea-drinking experience, look no further than Good Earth’s Sparkling Silver Needles Tea or Jasmine Pearl Tea.

Dry Herbal Tea
HERBAL TEA

Here’s the thing about herbal tea…unlike true teas, herbal teas are not made with the leaves of the Camellia sinesis, meaning they’re not really tea at all. Essentially, herbal tea is a caffeine-free infusion of herbs like mint, rosemary, sage, rooibos, chamomile, lavender, and other aromatics, along with fruits, spices, seeds, roots, and rare botanicals, that are added to hot water to enhance its flavor.

Green Tea in a mug
GREEN TEA

Though all green tea comes from Camellia sinensis, there are countless types of green tea from all over the globe, including China, Japan, Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Hawaii and South Carolina. Green tea, however, is considered to have originated in China, where the word “tea” refers almost exclusively to green tea.

When it comes to processing, the tea leaves are harvested then quickly pan-fired or steamed, and dried, to prevent too high a level of oxidation, which turns green leaves brown and can effect its highly desirable, freshly picked flavor. When pan-fried, green tea expresses grassy and toasted notes. When steamed, it coaxes from the leaves a vegetal, sweet and seaweed-like flavor profile. If brewed correctly, green tea is mildly astringent and very light in color.

Brew some of ours today, and enjoy all the delicious advantages green tea has to offer.

how to prepare tea

    • Step 1

      Boil 1 cup (8 oz) of filtered water.

      Tip: For best flavor, allow water to cool for up to 1 min for green, white and oolong teas.

    • Step 2

      Measure about 1 heaping tsp for herbal tea or ½ - 1 flat tsp of green, white, oolong or black teas.

      Tip: Adjust the amount based on your personal taste preference.

    • Step 3

      Add tea to clean, dry infuser, insert infuser into cup or mug and pour the water over infuser.

      Tip: Infusers with fine metal mesh works great with all types of tea.

    • Step 4

      Steep for 2 min for green, white and oolong teas and 3-5 min for black and herbal teas.

      Tip: Loose tea can be steeped multiple times; each steep will have a slightly lighter flavor.

    • Step 5

      Remove infuser and enjoy!

      Tip: Most teas taste best with just water; however, black teas are best with honey and/or milk.

    • Step 1

      Boil 1 cup (8 oz) of filtered water.

      Tip: For best flavor, allow water to cool for up to 1 min for green, white and oolong teas.

    • Step 2

      Add tea bag to cup or mug.

      Tip: Use pyramid tea bags or tea sachets that give the tea more room to infuse the water.

    • Step 3

      Steep for 2 min for green and white teas and 3-5 min for herbal, black and oolong teas.

      Tip: If you prefer stronger tea, save the used tea bag and add it to the next cup.

    • Step 4

      Remove tea bag and enjoy!

      Tip: Most teas taste best with just water; however, black teas are best with honey and/or milk.

    • Step 1

      Boil 1 cup (8 oz) of filtered water.

      Tip: For best flavor, allow water to cool for up to 1 min for green, white and oolong teas.

    • Step 2

      Measure about 1 heaping tsp for herbal tea or ½ - 1 flat tsp of green, white, oolong or black teas.

      Tip: Adjust the amount based on your personal taste preference.

    • Step 3

      Add tea to clean, dry infuser, insert infuser into cup or mug and pour the water over infuser.

      Tip: Infusers with fine metal mesh works great with all types of tea.

    • Step 4

      Steep for 2 min for green and white teas and 4-7 min for herbal, black and oolong teas.

      Tip: Loose tea can be steeped multiple times; each steep will have a slightly lighter flavor.

    • Step 5

      Remove infuser, let it cool, pour over ice and enjoy!

      Tip: If you prefer to sweeten with sugar or honey, add it while the tea is still warm.

    • Step 1

      Boil 1 cup (8 oz) of filtered water.

      Tip: For best flavor, allow water to cool for up to 1 min for green, white and oolong teas.

    • Step 2

      Add 1 or 2 tea bags to a cup or mug.

      Tip: Use pyramid tea bags or tea sachets that give the tea more room to infuse the water.

    • Step 3

      Steep for 2 min for green and white teas and 4-7 min for herbal, black and oolong teas.

      Tip: If you prefer stronger tea, save the used tea bag and add it to the next cup.

    • Step 4

      Remove tea bag, let it cool, pour over ice and enjoy!

      Tip: If you prefer to sweeten with sugar or honey, add it while the tea is still warm.

loose leaf vs. teabags

loose leaf vs. teabags

Tea purists believe that steeping loose teas are worth the extra effort, and results in exceptional freshness and flavor, as the leaves have proper room to brew in water and expand as they infuse.

The convenient dunk and run factor of teabags allows tea-drinkers to quickly and easily enjoy their favorite beverage. Our premium pyramid teabags are a marked improvement over conventional bags, allowing more space for maximized water flow. Of course, there are some teas in our portfolio that are just too delicate to even attempt to put in a teabag. To experience these jewels you will need to indulge in the ritual of loose leaf brewing.