A lot of our loose teas are either Organic, Fair Trade, or Kosher. But what exactly does that mean? Here are a few brief thoughts that I hope will help clear up any confusion.
Organic: Produce (tea) that has been grown on soil that has no synthetic fertilizers and pesticides for the past three years. They must be approved by the USDA and meet their requirements. To be organic certified requires that farmers be inspected each year, and follow the federal guidelines. All of our organic teas have come from farmers that have met these requirements.
Fair Trade: Fair Trade is a foundation that helps farmers and producers that live in countries that are less economically developed. They receive a fair price for the goods they produce. Their goods are marked with the Fair Trade label which symbolizes they received a fair income for their labor.
Kosher: According to Dr. Axe, "the word Kosher is used to describe food and drink that complies with Jewish religious dietary law." He continues to explain that "with the Kosher stamp on a package, it certifies that a food is actually what it claims to be."
What is Tea Oxidation? Oxidation is a chemical process that happens to tea leaves once the leaf has been plucked. Once the leaves are bruised, oxygen mixed with enzymes begins to start the oxidation process. Not all tea types go through the same process. Some teas are highly oxidized while others are not processed at all. The level of oxidation determines the type of tea and their flavors.
All "true" teas come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. There are four classifications of these teas: Black, Oolong, Green, and White. Teas fall into one of these categories. Teas that come from other plants are called Herbal Teas (Tisanes). Here are a few facts about each tea, including their caffeine level:
Black Tea: Black tea is a fully oxidized tea. It is the most well-known tea in the western world, especially for its famous blend of English Breakfast. It is produced in China, India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya. It has the highest caffeine level of all teas, which is about half the amount of coffee. It is known for its heart benefits and its high antioxidant levels.
Pu'erh Tea: This tea is the darkest in the black tea family. It is named after the China province in which it is produced. It stands alone because of its unique qualities. It is referred to as a fermented and aged tea, known throughout Asia for its medicinal benefits. It contains probiotic properties, which promotes a healthy immune system and aids in digestion. It is also used to help with weight loss. Pu-erh Tea is processed into cakes and wrapped in rice paper then aged for several years before going on the market. Its liquor is even darker than most black teas and has a smooth taste. Pu'erh Tea has a high level of caffeine.
Oolong Tea: Oolong is a semi-oxidized tea. It can be infused multiple times presenting new flavors each time. It is produced in China's Fujian province and on Taiwan's mountainsides. There are several different oolongs available and each have their own oxidation levels, flavors, and aromas. This bright yellow tea has a sweet flavor and fragrance that has slight citrus and floral notes. It has a medium amount of caffeine.
Green Tea: This tea resembles the original leaf since it is unoxidized. It is best known in recent years for its health benefits. Steeping time is very important in green tea. If it is over-steeped the tea can become bitter. It is produced in China and Japan. Green Tea has very low caffeine and high in antioxidants which makes it the perfect tea any time of the day.
White Tea: This delicious tea is considered the healthiest tea in the world due to its effect on the immune system. It has high antioxidant levels because it is not processed. It is harvested just as the first buds appear. Therefore, it is given a high status in the Chinese tea world. Because of its subtle taste, it is the best tea for those who are new to tea. It is mostly produced in China's Fujian province. White Tea has the least amount of caffeine of all teas.
Herbal Teas: Any tea that comes from another plant besides Camellia sinensis is called tisanes, which we call "teas". Herbal teas can be served either hot or cold and make a wonderful alternative to a caffeinated beverage. All Herbal Teas are caffeine-free except for Yerba Mate.
White and Green Teas have the highest levels of antioxidants than any other teas.
We sell our teas by the ounce. You can make 5-6 cups of tea per ounce using 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of loose tea.
The Tea Book by Linda Gaylard