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117 Galisteo St
Santa Fe, NM 87501

505-795-7724

Luxury loose leaf teas, handcrafted tea blends and fine tea ware. ArtfulTea: where the ordinary experience of drinking tea becomes extraordinary.

Tea Wisdom

White Tea

Nick Rose

White tea is made from the buds and immature leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, all of them plucked before the leaves have a chance to fully open and dry in the sun. Its name is derived from the fine white downy hairs that are found on the leaves.

peony white tea

What differentiates white tea from other teas is both that it is made from younger leaves and that the tea leaves undergo very little or no treatment in the form of rolling or oxidization. As a result, white tea tends to be the lightest-tasting and lowest-caffeinated tea. Of all the teas, it also has the highest concentration of the immue bolstering antioxidants known as catechins.

Pleasant and subtle, brewed white tea actually has a pale yellow color. It has been well known in China for many centuries (in ancient China, its consumption was restricted to members of royalty), though not until the 1900’s was it really enjoyed overseas. Even today it remains the hidden gem of the tea world, growing in popularity yet still unknown to many consumers.

White teas are delicate, and optimal preparation involves steeping the tea in water that is steaming but just below a boil (175-180 degrees). However, because of its light flavor, you can steep the tea for a bit longer than green tea -- generally for up to three minutes.

Browse ArtfulTea’s selection of Luxury Loose Leaf White Tea

THE BASICS OF BLACK TEA

Nick Rose

Where Black tea Comes From

Black, green, oolong, and white teas all originate from the same source, the Camellia Sinensis plant. However, it is both the kind of camellia sinensis and how the leaves are processed that determines what type of tea we end up with. Black tea typically derives from the camellia sinensis assamica plant which is grown in subtropical climates, often at higher elevations.

 

assam black tea

How black tea is processed

After a tea leaf is plucked, it is transferred to a processing area where the leaves are carefully withered to achieve the right moisture content and to allow for the development of flavor. The leaves may be rolled to remove extra water content so that they can begin to oxidize. During this process, the leaves blacken and develop flavor. Once this is complete, the tea is tasted, packaged, and shipped!

 

General Guidelines for Black Tea Preparation:

Use 1 level teaspoon per 6 oz. water. Heat water to boiling. Steep for 2 - 4 minutes. For best taste, do not over steep. Black tea leaves can usually handle a second infusion, and sometimes even a third.

Browse ArtfulTea’s selection of Luxury Loose Leaf Black Tea
 

Preparing the Perfect Cup of Tea: How long to steep tea

Nick Rose

Everyone has their own ideas about how long to steep tea, but the main rule is not to "stew" the tea by letting the leaves steep forever, resulting in a bitter, unpleasant drink. Beyond that, feel free to modify these suggestions to suit your taste.

jade oolong

Black tea – usually steep for 3 - 5 minutes.

Green tea – generally, steep no more than 2 minutes. Many will taste best after only one minute (note: if you think you don't like green tea, it may be because you've only had it after it steeped far too long).

Oolong – steep about 2 minutes (most oolongs can be infused multiple times).

White tea – steep about 3 minutes, unless it's flavored (in which case you may want to steep it for a shorter time). White teas can also be infused more than once.

Herbal, Rooibos and Mate – steep for 5 minutes or longer. Because these "infusions" don't contain any tea (see "Types of Tea: Herbal Infusions"), they won't get bitter when steeped longer and often the benefits of the herbs are maximized by steeping for about 10 minutes.

Preparing the Perfect Cup of Tea: Amount of Tea

Nick Rose

kukicha green tea

It can vary by tea, but generally you'll be safe with these guidelines.  For a standard mug (which usually holds 10 to 12 ounces), you'll just double the amount recommended for a 6 oz. cup. If you're using a teapot, it's a good idea to measure how many ounces it holds.

Black tea, Green, Oolong and Rooibos – use one level teaspoon per 6 oz. of water

Herbal tea – use a heaping teaspoon per 6 oz. of water

White tea – use two teaspoons per 6 oz. of water

Preparing the Perfect Cup of Tea: Water Temperature

Nick Rose

The temperate of the water when you pour it over the leaves really affects the way tea tastes. You'll want to use the best quality water available and always start with fresh water (so please don't reheat previously boiled water as it will taste flat).

Earl Grey Green Tea

Black tea, Herbal or Rooibos  – heat water to a full boil (212° or lower depending on your elevation)

Oolong tea – heat water until just off the boil (approximately 195°)

Green or White tea – heat water until "steaming briskly" but not boiling (approximately 175-180°)

Mate – heat water until steaming but not boiling (approximately 150° - 160°)

If the water has already reached a boil but you want it cooler, you can wait a few moments until the temperature comes down a bit and then pour it.

Types of Tea: Herbal Infusions

Nick Rose

Atomic Gold Organic Herbal Tea

Herbal tea is really not "tea" at all. It is more properly called an "infusion" or a "tisane" – but you nearly always see it referred to as "tea". It contains no part of the camellia sinensis plant, but is made entirely from herbs, flowers, berries, spices or leaves. Because there is no "tea" in it, it has no caffeine.

Rooibos is also an herbal infusion. It comes from a plant that is native to South Africa, where it has been enjoyed for centuries. It has no caffeine and is very high in antioxidants.

Mate is an herbal infusion that, strangely enough, contains a "caffeine-like" compound that creates an effect much like caffeine does. It is native to South America and was traditionally used by people of the Andes to keep them warm and alert.

Types of Tea: Camellia Sinensis

Nick Rose

You can see from our tea collection that there are several types of tea. Black, Green, White and Oolong teas all come from the same plant: the camellia sinensis (cousin to the garden camellia). Each tea looks and tastes different because of the way the leaves are processed.

Camellia Sinensis Tea

Black tea leaves have been fully fermented (or oxidized), giving them their robust flavor and their higher level of caffeine.

Green tea has had little or no fermentation (oxidation) and has less caffeine than Black tea. It can vary from quite mellow in flavor to more "grassy" tasting.

Oolong is somewhere between Black and Green tea. It has had just enough fermentation for a darker exterior while the interior remains green, giving it a wonderfully complex flavor. Depending on how much oxidation has occurred, Oolongs will vary on a spectrum from almost green to almost black. They are sometimes described as "orchid-like" in taste.

White tea is made from only the tea plant's newest "downy" leaves. It has not been fermented at all but merely dried, so you'll often see little white hairs or down on the leaves. White tea has a very subtle flavor, and minimal caffeine.

Storing loose leaf tea

Nick Rose

Organic English Breakfast Tea

Tea is susceptible to air, moisture, light and heat. If exposed to any of these elements for even a fairly short time, tea will begin to degrade. The most effective way to keep your tea fresh is to use a storage container that is tightly sealed against air and moisture, and also keeps all light out. A tea tin is ideal, but it must have a tight fitting lid. A ceramic canister is also fine, again as long as the lid is snug. Glass containers are usually not the best choice because they allow light in. Whatever container you choose, be sure not to store it near heat (such as a stove) or in a window where it will bake in the sun.

We package ArtfulTea in bags or tins. The bags are specially made, three-ply bags that keep moisture, air and light out as long as they are properly closed. Your tea will be fine in one of these bags for several months. ArtfulTea is also available in reusable tins (with a special, snug lid!) for more permanent tea storage. Consider ordering your first batch of ArtfulTea in the tin, and when you re-order choose bags for decanting into the tin!

How Long Does Tea Last?

Karen Gardiner

darjeeling black tea

Good quality tea is going to be drinkable for about a year from the time it is harvested and processed. However, since all tea is imported and transit times can vary, by the time the tea reaches you it may already be a few months old. It's a good idea to try to use your tea supply within about six months if you want to be sure it's fresh. If it takes you a year to use it, it will probably still taste okay, although you may be able to tell a slight difference in flavor.  (And, really, life is too short to drink bad tea! So drink it sooner than later.)