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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

Black Tea

Nick Rose

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Black tea is a type of tea produced from the camellia sinensis plant that is highly oxidized, resulting in a dark reddish-gold hue, a hearty, slightly astringent flavor, and a moderate amount of caffeine.

While black, green, oolong, and white teas all originate from the camellia sinensis plant, different varietals of the plant, in addition to different processing techniques, result in very different kinds of tea.

How Black Tea is Made

Black teas are typically produced from two different varieties of the tea plant, camellia sinensis sinensis and camellia sinensis assamica. After the leaves are harvested, they are withered through exposure to air. The leaves are then rolled or crushed, and then oxidized, resulting in a black colored leaf and a higher level of caffeine. The tea is then dried, sorted, and packaged.

Black Tea Health Benefits

Like other teas produced from the camellia sinensis plant, black teas have a wide variety of health benefits, and are a great addition to a balanced diet. Black teas are very high in antioxidants, and help to promote wellness and prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease. Black tea also helps boost the digestive system and nourishes the hair and skin.

Containing a moderate amount of caffeine, as well as the anxiety-fighting chemical l-theanine, black tea can help contribute to clarity, focus, and energy, while also promoting calm and concentration. While everything should be consumed in moderation, research shows that black tea has a wealth of health benefits and is a beneficial addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Chinese Black Tea vs. Indian Black Tea

 There are two main categories of black tea, based on the areas in which different teas are grown and produced. Chinese black teas originate in China, where they have a rich history stretching back centuries. Chinese black teas tend to be slightly lighter and milder, and are lovely when taken on their own with no need for milk or sugar. In China, these teas are called “red tea,” with “black tea” referring only to aged and fermented teas such as pu-erh. Chinese black teas include teas like China Keemun, Golden Yunnan, and Lapsang Souchong.

Indian black teas are grown and produced in India, often in famed growing regions like Assam and Darjeeling. Black teas grown in India are typically grown from camellia sinensis assamica, and have a darker, richer, and more full-bodied character. Breakfast blends such as English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast are often made up of Indian black teas. Other teas grown in India include Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri. For those interested in exploring Indian teas, our Star of India is a wonderful introductory tea that blends the Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri together.

Other Classic Black Teas

While India and China remain the two largest exporters of black tea, both historically and in the present day, a variety of other countries also grow and produce premium black teas. Ceylon is a classic black tea grown in Sri Lanka and is similar to an Indian black tea in taste and body, with a bold flavor. Nepalese Gold, produced in Nepal, is a rich and luxurious black tea with notes of honey and stone fruit. Vietnamese Golden Tips, grown in Vietnam, is similar to a Chinese black, and has notes of leather and burnt sugar.

Flavored Black Teas

In addition to our classic black teas, we also carry a carefully cultivated selection of flavored black teas from all over the world. For those looking for a little added spice and sweetness, flavored black teas can be a great way to explore different flavor profiles. Flavored black teas also stand up well to being served over ice, and are great with milk and honey.

We carry classic flavored black teas like Earl Grey and Masala Chai, as well as a variety of other teas including Solstice Spice, Apricot Brandy, and Vanilla Velvet. No matter what kind of tea you’re in the mood for, we’re sure to have a black tea that will suit you!

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Green Tea

Karen Gardiner

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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!

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White Tea

Nick Rose

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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.

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

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Oolong Tea

Nick Rose

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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.

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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!

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Purple Tea

Margaret Wack

Kenyan Purple Tea

Purple tea is a new category of tea! Produced from the camellia sinensis tea plant, and is a cousin to black, green, white, and oolong teas and represents a unique, newly discovered variety of tea.

From India to Kenya

Purple leafed tea plants were found growing wild in the Assam region of India, and were later taken to Kenya, where the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya worked to create a cultivar of this wild plant which would be ideal for commercial tea production. The third largest producer of commercial tea after China and India, Kenya now leads as the largest producer of purple tea. This unique tea thrives when grown at high elevations along the equator, where it receives twelve hours of sunlight a day year round.

Purple Popularity

Although purple leaf tea has not been on the market long, its popularity is growing as more people find out about the unique history, flavor profile, and health benefits of the tea. Since this tea has become commercially available, more and more tea distributors and venues are carrying it.

The flavor is most similar to oolong – lighter than black tea and without the fresh grassy flavor of green tea. It is also very low in caffeine, somewhere in between green and white teas, making it a great choice for those looking for all the benefits of tea in a less-caffeinated cup.

Health Benefits of Purple Tea

Purple tea is rich in a type of antioxidant called anthocyanins, which are thought to help protect against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases by reducing free radicals. Anthocyanins give certain fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, and eggplants, their rich blue, purple or dark red color. In general, purple leaf tea has been found to have almost twice the antioxidants of other teas, making it a great choice for those looking to include healthy foods and drinks in their daily routine!

Our Purple Teas

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, brews up a light purple color, and has a mild taste similar to that of oolong. Our Lychee Purple Leaf blends purple tea with lychee, apple, pineapple, lemon peel, currants, and blue cornflower for a fruit-forward tropical tasting blend. Whether you’ve just learned about purple tea or have been thinking of trying it for a while, this unique new tea is sure to become a favorite!

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Matcha

Nick Rose

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Grown and produced in Japan, matcha is a powdered green tea derived from the camellia sinensis tea plant. Matcha is delicious taken on its own, and can also be added to lattes, smoothies, and baked goods. Matcha is experiencing a surge in popularity as more people become acquainted with this unique tea.

History

Although matcha is most commonly associated with Japan, powdered green tea was first produced in China during the Tang Dynasty. In the 12th century, Chinese monks brought both Buddhism and matcha to Japan. The ritualized use of matcha by Japanese monks grew quickly, and by the 15th century its popularity had spread to Japan’s upper classes. Today, matcha is primarily associated with Japan, and has a rich history and cultural significance within the country.

How Matcha is Made

To make matcha, tea leaves are grown in the shade during the final few weeks leading up to processing, which increases the chlorophyll content of the plants, and produces a darker tea leaf with a rich, slightly sweet flavor. When rolled and steamed in the process typical to green teas, this tea is known as gyokuro and is highly prized. When dried flat and ground into a fine powder, shaded green tea becomes matcha.

Matcha Health Benefits

Matcha is packed full of health benefits, making it a perfect fit for those looking to reap the health rewards of a concentrated green tea. The shaded growing period common to matcha produces a tea with higher caffeine and theanine levels, giving matcha its unique stimulating and relaxing properties. Caffeine energizes the body and helps stimulate mental clarity and focus, while theanine promotes relaxation and calm.

Matcha is also packed with antioxidants. Because when you drink matcha you’re consuming the entire tea leaf, matcha is especially high in cancer-fighting catechins when compared to other green teas. While studies concerning the properties of matcha are still ongoing, research suggests that matcha has a wealth of beneficial properties!

How to Prepare Matcha

In Japan, matcha is often prepared during a traditional tea ceremony. Matcha preparation is largely a matter of personal taste, so feel free to experiment and find the right ratio of matcha to water that works for you!

To prepare, sift one to two teaspoons of matcha through a fine sieve into a matcha bowl. Add two ounces of simmering water, being careful not to let the water reach a full boil. Briefly stir the contents, then use a bamboo whisk to whisk the matcha in a zigzag motion until it becomes frothy. Drink straight from your tea bowl, and savor the rich, uplifting taste of quality matcha!

Our Matcha

Here at ArtfulTea, we carry several varieties of matcha. Our ceremonial grade matcha is perfect for drinking on its own when whisked with hot water. Culinary grade matcha, meanwhile, is great for adding to smoothies, lattes, and baked goods for a bright green color and sweet, savory green tea flavor. We even sell matcha to go, which comes in individual packets, and can be mixed into a glass or water bottle even when you’re on the run. Whether enjoying a traditional Japanese tea ceremony or adding matcha flavor to whatever dish you choose, we have the perfect tea for you!

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Rooibos

Nick Rose

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Rooibos is an herbal tea grown in South Africa’s Western Cape region. Dutch for “red bush,” rooibos is sometimes also called red tea. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, and has a rich, slightly sweet flavor.

History

Rooibos has been consumed in South Africa for many years, and has a rich history in the country. Rooibos became especially popular in South Africa during World War II, when tea imports to the South Africa were interrupted. Without regular tea, people began drinking rooibos as an alternative, and today, rooibos is one of the most popular drinks in the country.

Rooibos soon spread to other areas of the world, including the United States. Beloved for its antioxidant properties as well as for its lack of caffeine, rooibos is a great alternative for those looking to move away from caffeinated tea. Although rooibos is an herbal tea, it has a similar taste and body to that of a black tea, with a bit of additional natural sweetness.

How Rooibos is Made

Rooibos tea is made from the needle-like leaves of aspalathus linearis, a plant that grows in a mountainous region near the South African Atlantic coast. Owing to the unique climate and soil conditions of the region, 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.

Rooibos takes its name from the reddish-brown color that the leaves take on when they are oxidized. Green rooibos is made from the same plant, but instead the leaves are lightly steamed and do not undergo full oxidation. Green rooibos is more difficult to produce than regular rooibos, and has a milder flavor. Honeybush is a cousin to the rooibos tea plant that is also native to South Africa, and has a slightly sweeter taste.

Health Benefits

Rooibos teas contain a variety of health benefits, making them a popular choice for those looking for a healthful herbal tea. Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, rooibos is also is very low in caffeine and tannins. Many Rooibos teas are also blended with beneficial spices, flowers and fruits.

Our Rooibos Teas

Here at ArtfulTea we carry a wide variety of Rooibos teas. A popular choice for those looking for a decaffeinated tea packed with health benefits and flavor, rooibos has something to offer everyone.

Our plain organic Rooibos is great for those looking to experience rooibos on its own, while our Green Rooibos is a lovely tea with a lighter, more floral flavor. Some other popular rooibos flavors include Rooibos Chai, Earl Grey Rooibos, and Lemon Cream Rooibos. Honeybush Hot Cider is another popular herbal tea, containing honeybush tea, apple pieces, and cider mulling spices. Whether you’re looking for a fruity rooibos iced tea to cool down with, a warm, sweet tea to sip on a winter’s night, or anything in between, we’re sure to have something that will suit you!

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Herbal Infusions

Nick Rose

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Herbal infusions, while sometimes referred to as “herbal tea," aren’t actually tea at all. Tea made from herbs, flowers, and spices, rather than with leaves from the camellia sinensis plant, are more properly called herbal infusions or tisanes. While you can still call them herbal teas, these brews are naturally caffeine-free, and can also differ in other ways from their camellia sinensis counterparts.

Herbal teas have been used for centuries to promote health and wellness, and can soothe everything from a scratchy throat to sore muscles. These herbal concoctions are prominent in Chinese medicine, ayurveda, and folk remedies from all over the world.

Herbal Health Benefits

While herbal teas typically don’t contain as many antioxidants as tea made from the camellia sinensis plant, they have a wealth of other beneficial properties. Herbal teas are great for hydration, and can be a great way to ensure that your water intake is up to snuff. Herbal teas also contain many ingredients with beneficial properties in their own right, like ginger, mint, hibiscus, and lavender. Herbal teas can be a great way to reduce stress and develop a bedtime ritual that allows you to relax and unwind.

Herbal Varieties

There are a wide variety of herbal teas readily available, some even made from flowers, herbs, and other plants that you can find in your own backyard. Flowers like lavender, chamomile, and rose compose a variety of different herbal teas. Hibiscus, which brews up a vibrant magenta color and has a wealth of health benefits, is another common ingredient in herbal teas. Mint-based herbal teas are also very popular.

There are also several kinds of herbal tea that are common enough to merit their own category. Rooibos is an herbal tea grown in South Africa’s Western Cape region. Dutch for “red bush,” rooibos is sometimes also called red tea. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, and has a rich, slightly sweet flavor. Rooibos is the base for many of our caffeine-free teas, including Rooibos Chai and Earl Grey Rooibos.

Yerba mate is a type of tea made from the leaves and stems of the holly plant ilex paraguariensis and is native to South America. Sometimes known as “drink of the gods” or “drink of friendship,” mate was first discovered and prepared by the indigenous Guarani people. While mate does contain caffeine, many people experience it differently than they experience caffeine in tea or coffee. It’s extremely popular in countries like Chile and Argentina, where it is celebrated for its warming, stimulating properties. Traditionally, yerba mate is best when shared with friends!

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Mate

Nick Rose

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Yerba mate is a type of tea made from the leaves and stems of the holly plant ilex paraguariensis and is native to South America. Sometimes known as “drink of the gods” or “drink of friendship,” mate was first discovered and prepared by the indigenous Guarani people. Mate’s etymology derives from both Spanish and Quechua, an indigenous South American language - yerba is derived from the Spanish word for herb, while mate comes from a Quechua word meaning cup or gourd.

After European colonization, mate consumption and production became popular among the colonizers, particularly Jesuit missionaries and other foreign settlers. Mate is extremely popular in South America, where 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, the world’s leading importer of mate, as well as Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

Mate Health Benefits

Mate is high in caffeine, containing almost as much as coffee per cup. However, the caffeine present in mate, sometimes called matteine, often has a slightly different effect than the sort of caffeine found in coffee or in tea made from the camellia sinensis plant. Mate is said to contribute to focus, clarity, and alertness, without the negative effects typically associated with excess caffeine intake, making it a great alternative for those looking for a stimulant with fewer adverse side effects. Mate is also rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals, and is known for promoting good digestion and heart health.

How to Prepare Mate

Mate is traditionally prepared in a hollow gourd by adding leaves and hot, but not boiling water to the gourd to steep. The tea is then consumed through a filtered straw known as a bombilla. In many South American countries, mate is drunk among a group of friends by drinking and refilling the same gourd as it is passed from person to person. Mate can also be prepared in the same way as other teas and tisanes, by steeping the leaves in an infuser or filter in a mug or pot.

Our Mate

Our traditional Yerba Mate is a great option for those looking to try mate on its own, with no added ingredients. Our Nutty Mocha Mate is a rich, delicious blend of mate with chocolate and hazelnut, sure to appeal to those with a sweet tooth, while our Lively Lemony Mate is an uplifting, citrus-forward brew that’s sure to start the day off on a great note!

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