Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

101 W. Marcy 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

Filtering by Category: Types of Tea

Green Tea

Karen Gardiner

SenchaOrganicGreenTea.jpg

Green tea is produced from the leaves of camellia sinensis, the same plant from which black, oolong, white, and purple teas are made. While it originated in China hundreds of year ago, green tea is now produced throughout Asia, in countries including Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Unlike black and oolong teas, green tea is unoxidized, resulting in a lighter color brew and a mellower flavor. There are many different varieties of green tea, whose unique flavors depend on factors such as the location, growing conditions, and preparation process.

Chinese Green Tea

Tea has a rich history in China stretching back centuries. While both myth and archeological research indicate that tea may have been consumed in China as far back as three thousand years ago, its status as a popular staple for both elites and common people arose over the course of hundreds of years. By the seventh century Tang dynasty, however, green tea had become an integral part of Chinese life, and specialized cultivation methods, ceremonial preparations, and cultural significance had developed around tea. Chinese green teas are typically pan-fired soon after they are harvested, which halts oxidation and preserves the green color and the light, grassy taste of the tea.

At Artful Tea, we carry a variety of Chinese green teas. The classic Gunpowder, named after the small, rolled shape its leaves take when dried, is a perennial favorite. Chun Mee is a mellow, buttery green with fruit notes, and is sometimes known as “precious eyebrow” due to the unique shape of its leaves. Dragon Well Superior is famous for its high quality, and has a nutty and refreshing taste.

Japanese Green Tea

Around the sixth century, tea consumption and production spread from China to Japan, as well as to other neighboring countries such as Korea and Vietnam. Today, green tea is often associated with Japan just as much as with China. Unlike Chinese green teas, Japanese greens are steamed rather than pan-fired, resulting in a more vibrant green color and a vegetal, umami-packed flavor.

Artful Tea’s selection of Japanese green teas has something to offer everyone. Sencha, one of the most popular green teas in Japan, brews up a beautiful bright green and has a rich, sweet flavor. Kukicha Twig, produced from the stalks, stems, and twigs of the tea bush, is a unique tea with a nutty, creamy taste. Our Genmaicha is a traditional Japanese tea, containing green tea blended with toasted rice. Genmaicha Matcha, meanwhile, blends matcha with genmaicha tea, resulting in a lovely cup with a stronger green tea flavor.

Artful tea also offers several different varieties of matcha, or powdered green tea. We carry ceremonial grade matcha, used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, culinary grade matcha for use in smoothies, lattes, and more, and even matcha that you can take on the go!

Health Benefits

With about half the caffeine of black tea and a quarter that of coffee, green teas still contain enough caffeine to give you a little boost, whether you start your morning with a cup or drink it throughout the day. Green teas are also packed with powerful antioxidants, and can be a healthy alternative to other drinks. While research is still inconclusive, green tea may also have additional health benefits, helping to protect against disease and other illnesses.

Preparation 

If prepared incorrectly, green tea can taste bitter and over-strong, but properly prepared green tea is light and delightful. The key to enjoying a cup of green tea is preparation, which consists of a few simple steps.

To brew a delicious cup of green tea, measure one teaspoon of leaves for every six to eight ounces of water. Heat a kettle of fresh, cold water to the point of steaming briskly, but not boiling. If you have a kitchen thermometer, you will want the temperature to be between 175–180 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the hot water over the tea leaves, allowing them to steep according to package directions, usually only one or two minutes. Steeping green tea leaves for too long, or using water that is too hot, are common mistakes that usually result in a bitter taste.

Flavored Greens

Interested in experimenting? ArtfulTea offers a variety of flavored green teas, from Jasmine Yin Cloud, a custom blend of Chinese green tea scented with fresh jasmine blossoms, to Green Tea Citrus, a green tea twist on a classic Earl Grey, and many more. Whether you’re looking to explore traditional green teas, or are simply looking for a cup with less caffeine but packed with flavor and health benefits, we’re sure to have the tea for you!

Read More:

Pu-erh Tea

Nick Rose

Organic Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh is a fermented and aged tea, produced from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant and originating from the Yunnan province of China. A traditional Chinese tea whose cultivation history stretches back hundreds of years, pu-erh brews up a deep, dark color and has a rich, mellow, earthy flavor. Pu-erh is enjoyed by collectors and novice tea drinkers alike, and has seen a surge in popularity in recent years as more people become familiar with this unique tea.

History

Pu-erh is a type of heicha, or Chinese black tea. In China, what westerners typically refer to as black tea is called red tea, with black tea referring only to teas such as pu-erh that are fermented and aged after having undergone the oxidation process.

While the exact history of pu-erh and other heicha has been lost to time, the tea most likely has its origins in the Silk Road and other such extensive east-west trade routes. As a fermented and aged tea, pu-erh travelled well, and even improved its flavor, over the long journey it took to reach far off destinations. As such, it became a valuable trade commodity, and quickly spread throughout Asia and beyond.

The tea is named after the city of Pu-erh in Yunnan province, a famed trading post for heicha in imperial China. Bordering Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam in the southwestern part of China, Yunnan province had extensive trade ties to the west and throughout Asia during imperial times. Today, only tea originating from Yunnan province is legally allowed to be sold as pu-erh, and much of the tea is still processed in the city of Pu-erh itself!

How Pu-erh is Made

While most teas go through a process of oxidation, few are truly fermented as pu-erh and other heicha are. The tea is first harvested from a varietal of camellia sinensis known for its large leaves and grown in southwestern China. Leaves are most prized if they are picked from older, wild growing trees. Tea harvested from plants that are cultivated but have wild origins, called “wild arbor” trees, is also valuable, while tea grown from plantation bushes is less desirable. The time of harvest also affects the tea, with pu-erh of the highest quality harvested in the spring.

Harvested pu-erh is then dry-roasted in a process called “killing the green,” after which the tea is lightly bruised by rolling and rubbing, and then sun dried. While this process largely halts oxidation, a minimal amount of oxidation continues to occur as it dries, which contributes to the unique flavor and composition of pu-erh.

The tea is then fermented. Shou cha, or ripened pu-erh, undergoes an accelerated process, similar to composting, by fermenting the tea in a humid environment over a time period of months to years. Sheng cha, or raw pu-erh, undergoes a slower, traditional fermentation process, which can take years. Both forms of pu-erh can be further aged in order to continue to develop the flavor of the tea. Similar to wine, pu-erh grows in the depth and complexity of its flavor as it matures, and often increases in both rarity and price with age. Pu-erh that has been aged for many decades can sell for thousands of dollars a pound!

Pu-erh is often pressed into a variety of shapes, such as cakes, bricks, or flat squares pressed with Chinese characters. These can be decorative as well as for consumption.

Health Benefits

Pu-erh has a long history of being used in China for its medicinal benefits in traditional herbal medicine. Like other varieties of camellia sinensis, pu-erh is full of antioxidants, and has an uplifting, energizing effect thanks to its caffeine content, which is similar to black tea and about half that of a cup of coffee. The fermentation process that pu-erh undergoes produces a tea with other unique health benefits, as well. Pu-erh is often used to aid digestion, lower blood pressure, and even to help lose weight.

Pu-erh aficionados often speak of a body high that accompanies drinking this tea, which warms you from the inside out and relaxes both the body and the mind. While studies concerning the potential effects of pu-erh are still ongoing, evidence suggests that pu-erh has a wealth of health benefits even over and above other types of tea!

Preparation

If using a cake or brick of pu-erh, the leaves can be flaked off from the larger whole using a pu-erh knife. The tea should be rinsed by pouring boiling water over the tea and then quickly discarding the liquid in order to remove impurities and prepare the tea for further infusions. Boiling water is then poured over the tea to steep.

Pu-erh is often prepared in a yixing pot or gaiwan using the traditional Chinese Gongfu method. In this method, the tea is steeped in successive infusions, with the first infusions steeping only a few seconds, and later infusions steeping for several minutes. Pu-erh teas prepared in this way can be infused many times, with each successive steeping producing a mellower flavor and exposing different nuances in the taste of the tea.

If preparing in a western style teapot or cup, steep the leaves for one to five minutes before enjoying. Pu-erh prepared in this way can also be steeped several times.

Our Pu-erh

At Artful Tea, we sell high quality loose leaf pu-erh. Our organic Leaf Pu-erh is perfect for pu-erh connoisseurs as well as those looking to dive straight in to the world of fermented tea, and has a rich, mellow, earthy flavor. Our Caramel Pu-erh adds a depth of malty, nutty sweetness to its pu-erh base, and is perfect with a splash of milk as an after-dinner cup of tea or with dessert. Our Dandy Cinnamon Pu-erh includes dandelion root, cinnamon, ginger, and lemon peel, and has a pleasantly tart, uplifting flavor that warms you from the inside out. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the world of pu-erh, or simply try something new, we have just the tea for you!

Read More:

Purple Tea

Nick Rose

Purple tea is a new category of tea from the Camellia Sinensis plant which gives us Black, Green, Oolong and White teas. Purple leafed tea plants were found growing wild in the Assam region of India and later taken to Kenya. For over 25 years, the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya worked to create a cultivar of this wild purple tea plant which would be ideal for commercial tea production. Kenya, the third largest producer of commercial tea after China and India, now leads as the largest producer of Purple tea. It thrives when grown at elevations over 6,000 feet along the equator, where it receives 12 hours a day of sunlight year round.

Although Purple tea has not been on the market long, its popularity is growing rapidly as seen in a HuffPost headline from January 2015 asking “Will Kenyan Purple Tea Replace The Green Brew As India’s New Health Drink?” Purple tea is rich in a type of antioxidant called anthocyanins which are thought to help protect cells from free radicals and support capillary strength. Anthocyanins give certain fruits and vegetables (such as blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, and eggplants) their rich blue, purple or dark red color. This rich hue also gives Purple tea its name.

Purple tea’s flavor is most similar to oolong – lighter than Black tea and without the fresh grassy flavor of Green tea. And Purple Tea is very low in caffeine – lower than most Green teas with only slightly more caffeine than White tea. Flavor, health benefits and low caffeine are winning many fans of this newcomer tea. Both of our Purple teas come from the Tumoi Tea Garden in the Nandi Hills of Kenya. Our Kenyan Purple tea is a classic unflavored cup, while our Lychee Purple tea is a tropical tasting blend with apple, pineapple, lemon, currants and lychee. Like Green and Oolong teas, Purple tea leaves can be infused more than once, making it an ideal ‘on the go’ choice using our Urban Tea Tumbler!

Read More:

Oolong Tea

Nick Rose

jade+song.jpg

China and Taiwan are the best known Oolong producing countries in the world today.  Chinese tea production reaches back centuries while Taiwan is a relative newcomer with tea production beginning in the early 1700s on the East Asian island known as Formosa.  Many Taiwanese teas retain its historic, regional appellation such as our Organic Formosa Oolong.  Taiwanese oolongs tend to have a shorter fermentation cycle than their Chinese counterparts, though fermentation also varies according to the type of oolong being made.

Oolong is referred to as semi-fermented. Fermentation is a process which involves drying and roasting the leaves multiple times to produce a specific flavor, color and aroma.  Many oolong lovers consider this tea the perfect bridge between unfermented green tea and fully fermented black tea.  Generally speaking, oolong teas have lower caffeine levels than most black teas while being higher in caffeine than most greens (with the actual amount of caffeine in a tea depending on several factors including the length of the fermentation process).

In terms of flavor, various aspects determine where an oolong tea lands along the green to black tea spectrum including elevation, when the leaves are harvested, and the length of fermentation.  Closer to the green tea end of this spectrum, our Jade Song Oolong from Taiwan has a lovely pale color and delicate flavor reminiscent of its green cousins.  By contrast, our Organic Formosa Oolong is noticeably darker in color with a more full bodied flavor including a hint of honey and slightly more caffeine.  A delightful middle ground is our classic Fine Ti Kuan Yin which offers a distinctive brandy hue and a slightly sweet yet earthy flavor often attributed to oolongs grown in China.    

Loose leaf Formosa oolong tea is a bargain in addition to being delicious! There are many health benefits ascribed to oolong teas and the leaves can be steeped several times with each infusion releasing surprising subtleties in flavor.  While oolong tea is a great balance point between green and black to start the day, oolongs are also lovely in the afternoon when caffeine might be a consideration.  Even in the heat of the summer months, Citrus Sonata, a subtly flavored oolong from China’s Fujian Province, or Passion Petal, with its exotic mango and rose flavors, are a wonderful pick me up.

Read More:

Mate

Nick Rose

lively+lemony.jpeg

Known as “Drink of the Gods” or “Drink of Friendship,” mate tea (or yerba mate) is a caffeine-rich infusion of tea leaves and stems from a type of holly plant known as llex paraguariensis, from the subtropical forests of South America. First discovered and prepared by the indigenous Guarani people, Mate is is grown in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.

Mate is extremely popular in South America: it is the official drink of Argentina, and is also widely consumed in Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile and Brazil. It is also very popular in Syria, which is the world’s leading importer of Mate, and Lebanon.

Mate is known for producing the energy and mental alertness of other caffeinated drinks, but without side effects like nervousness, stomach-aches or addiction. For this reason, there is a widely-held belief that mate contains not caffeine but a different stimulant referred to as “matteine,” although mate is in fact caffeinated (it has less caffeine than coffee, but more than most teas).

Mate is said to produce the energy of coffee, the calmness of tea, and the euphoria of the natural chocolate, cacao. It is shade-grown, and its dark leaves contain even more antioxidants than green tea. Mate is also rich in vitamins and minerals, and is known for promoting good digestion and heart health.

Mate is traditionally prepared in a wide, rounded cup known as a gourd, and drunk through a metal straw known as a bombilla. It is traditionally enjoyed in a social setting of family or friends, who pass around the same gourd of steeped, and re-steeped, Mate.

The tea is prepared by filling the gourd about half to three-quarters full with mate tea; the gourd is then turned upside-down, and with a hand covering the top, shaken vigorously for about five seconds. The purpose of the shaking is to move the smallest tea leaf fragments to the top of the gourd, to avoid drinking pieces of leaf (for drinking, the bombilla has a small filter that allows liquid to enter but not the leaves, although tiny leaf fragments might get through if not shaken from the bottom).

After shaking, the gourd is turned upright and hot water is added to the infusion -- water should be 160-180 degrees, hot but below simmering temperature. Now the mate is ready to drink; typically, one person drinks a full cup of mate, then water is added to the infusion again, and the tea is passed to the next person. Often mate drinkers will store hot water in a thermos to continue adding to their mate blend.

Read More:

Matcha

Nick Rose

matcha-powder-2356768_960_720.jpg

Grown and produced in Japan, Matcha is a powdered green tea derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant. To make Matcha tea, the leaves are grown in the shade during the final few weeks leading up to processing. After the leaves are harvested, all veins and stems are removed before the leaves are stone-ground into a green powder.

The shade growing of Matcha increases chlorophyll and produces a darker tea leaf with higher caffeine levels and more amino acids, particularly theanine. As theanine is a relaxing amino acid, the combination of theanine and caffeine is known to produce a state of both mental alertness and calmness. Matcha green tea has a subtle but deep, slightly sweet flavor dominated by its amino acids. It is highly rich in antioxidants and other nutrients.

Though it has endured as a product of Japan, the earliest preparations of Matcha tea were developed in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). When the monk Eisai brought Buddhism to Japan in the 12th century, he also brought the Chinese method for preparing Matcha green tea. The ritualized use of matcha by Japanese monks grew quickly, and by the 15th century its popularity had spread to Japan’s upper classes. As Japan honed its methods for producing Matcha, in China its popularity declined; today, Matcha Tea is known primarily as a legacy of Japan.

In Japanese, “Cha” means tea and “ma” means powder, so the word “matcha” is literally translated to powdered tea.

Preparation of a cup of Matcha tea is a little different than with loose leaf teas. To prepare, put one-half to one teaspoon of Matcha powder into a bowl. Then add two ounces of simmering water -- do not let the water reach a full boil. Briefly stir the contents, then vigorously whisk (using a regular wire whisk if fine, though many recommend a bamboo whisk) until the water becomes foamy. Enjoy your Matcha.

Read More:

Rooibos

Nick Rose

earl+grey+rooibos.jpg

Rooibos (a Dutch word that means “red bush”) is an herb from South Africa’s Western Cape region. When made into tea, Rooibos is non-caffeinated and has a rich, almost sweet flavor.

The name “Rooibos” comes from the reddish-brown color that the leaves take on when they are oxidized with heat. However, there is also a green Rooibos that is made when the leaves are lightly steamed but do not undergo a full process of oxidization. Green Rooibos tea is more difficult to produce than regular Rooibos, and has a milder flavor.

Rooibos tea is made from the needle-like leaves of the Aspalathus Linearis plant, which grows in a mountainous region near the South African Atlantic coast. Owing to the unique climate and soil conditions of the region, the Aspalathus Linearis is extremely difficult to grow in other places. Rooibos has been enjoyed for many generations in South Africa, which continues to be its premier exporter around the world.

Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, compared with black and green teas Rooibos is very low in bitter-tasting Tannins.  Many Rooibos teas are also deliciously blended with spices, flowers and fruit.

While steeping some teas too long can produce a flavor that’s overly strong or bitter, as an herbal tea Rooibos is easy to prepare and won’t become bitter with longer brewing. Using water that’s brought to a full boil,  steep a teaspoon of Rooibos for every 6 to 8 ounces of water for at least five minutes to maximize its aromatic flavor.

View ArtfulTea's collection of luxury loose leaf rooibos tea

Read More:

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

Read More:

Black Tea

Nick Rose

assam black tea

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.

 

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
 

Read More:

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.

Read More: