White Tea first appeared in the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127). It was during this period that the first paper money and gunpowder were used and a standing navy and the location of true north on a compass were first established. White Tea was the choice of the royal court and was given as tribute to the emperor. White tea leaves and buds were ground into a silvery powder, which was then whisked in bowls during the Song Tea Ceremony. This was the inspiration for the famous Japanese Tea Ceremony.
The first mention of White Tea appeared in “Treatise on Tea”, written by the Emperor Huizong (1107-1110). A tea connoisseur, White Tea was his favourite and his book included highly detailed descriptions and rules for the making and judging of tea.
In 1769, the first Silver Needle Pekoe Tea was developed and in 1857, tea plants were found in Fuding County in Fujian which yielded a superior White Tea. In 1885, Silver Needle Tea was developed and then White Peony Tea in 1922. In 1968 the first exports of White Tea were made possible by new techniques of growing and processing.
White tea has come a long way in its long history. It was largely unknown outside China and the Orient until recently. Now, with a renewed interest in fine tea and remarkable discoveries about its health benefits, white tea is being discovered and enjoyed around the world.
Gongfu (also know and Kung-Fu) is a type of Chinese Tea Ceremony. It uses a ritualized way of preparation and presentation of tea. Gongfu Tea Brewing became popular during China’s Ming Dynasty about the year 1500. This method is great for Pu’erh, Oolong and Black teas.
So let’s jump right in. At the basic level, there are 5 variables involved:
1. Quality Of The Tea
2. How Much Tea Do I Use?
3. Temperature Of The Water
4. Brewing Times
5. The Quality and Type Of Teapot
One of the more important things to consider is the temperature you steep/brew your tea. There are as many opinions as there are varieties of tea as to the “correct” brew temperature.
I have found that When you use water that is to hot for the type of tea that you are wanting to drink it causes the tea to become bitter. The hotter the water the more likely you are to “burn” the tea. The longer you steep the tea the more flavor that you are infusing into the water. Using a lower water temperature and a longer brewing time will make a better tasting tea.
So how do you know what temperature you should use and just how long do you steep the tea for? The best thing you can do is to find a good general starting point and adapt from there until you find the temperature and time that works for your personal taste.
Here is a helpful chart that I made up and use for brewing/steeping times and temperatures for each main category of tea type.
White tea. 175° 2-3 minutesIndian Green 175° 2-3 minutesJapanese Green Tea 160° 1-2 minChinese Green Tea. 175° 2-3 minOolongs 200° 4-5 minutesDarjeelings 195° 4-5 minutesBlack Teas. 200° 4-5 minutesHerbals. 200° 5 minutes
These are starting points that I use. I live in Colorado at a mile above sea level so my water boiling point is different than someone at sea level. Here our water boils at 206° so the typical 212° for black tea doesn’t work. I found that the first thing that really spoils the taste of a tea is the water temperature. To hot and it will “burn” the tea and not hot enough, the flavors aren’t pulled out of the leaf. Finding your teas perfect temperature will take some experimentation.
I found that 200° works well when a tea manufacture calls for water at full boil.
So now how to I go about brewing my tea?
I’ll be going through these different options and I will link up to them soon.
In English tea is a neat, short word, but through out it’s long history, it has been spelled many different ways. It has been called tea, tee, tcha, chai, and many other variants.
The symbol to the right is the Chinese character for tea and has been used since at least the third century. There are in fact, two families of words that are used around the world, which come from the way that the Chinese character for tea has been pronounced. In Mandarin it is pronounced cha, In the Amoy dialect, which is spoken in the Fujian province and Taiwan, it is pronounced tay.
The two words took different paths in spreading out to the rest of the world, based on trade routes.
The pictures below are lists of names, and the languages and the derivative of either Tay or Cha. Click on the pictures to view them full size.
Thank you to “The Tea Cyclopedia” for these images.
Finally got my shipment of kuti coffee leaf in. After reading about what wize monkey is doing with trying to stimulate the economy of Central America using their coffee leaves to make a tea I was intrigued. I have had the Ethiopian tea before but not kuti. I went to the wize monkey site to find that their coffee leaf tea wouldn’t be available for another 6 months.
After looking through a few articles I found a place that had kuti coffee leaf tea and decided to order, I am not disappointed. It reminds me of a tea that you might get in a nice asian food restaurant. One difference is the richness of the kuti is such a nice surprise. I realize tea in a asian restaurant is brewed to enhance and not over power the food you are being served so it isn’t going to be brewed very strong. The coffee leaf tea is a rich flavor, great for an after dinner or late afternoon drink.
I was kind of surprised at the bag of coffee leaves I received. They were all huge not at all like the loose leaf style tea that I am used to making tea with. Close to what I have received when I have purchased Shoumei but even a little bigger than those leaves.
I went Gaiwan for the preparation, using filtered water about a teaspoon of the leaves, again they are mostly whole leaves so I kind of just eyeballed it. Used 200° water and let it steep for about 3 minutes. The remainder of the tea I let steep in the Gaiman for another 2 minutes so I had a stronger brew for my second cup.
The liquor is very pleasant, thick, rich, almost sweet. Very nice well rounded taste. Very enjoyable.
I hope you will take the time and try this “tea”.
A new trend, well at least new for the majority of the world, a tea made from the very same plant that produces beans used for ground coffee, espressos and lattes. This tisane has been consumed in Ethiopia for over 200 years. Sumatrans also drink coffee leaf tea rather than roasting beans because they believe it to be more nutritious.
One company who is a pioneer in this is Wize Monkey. They are putting together a few different flavors of this new tisane and according to their website these teas will be available in the spring of 2015.
Wize Monkey has found “Because coffee beans can only be harvested 3 months a year, 90% of staff are seasonal. Due to this, many workers move to the cities to find other jobs, but the cities are highly dependent on agricultural exports to fuel the economy. The coffee leaf can be harvested all year round
With a constant flow of income, these farms can now convert seasonal jobs into permanent ones. This helps develop better communities and stronger families with sustainable and organic agriculture since employees have stable work and don’t need to seek off-season income in other cities.”
An added bonus is that coffee leaf tea would require organic farming methods. This agricultural shift would benefit the farmers and their workers as well as the surrounding environment. I believe that we will be hearing more about coffee leaf tea in the future.
That’s all nice and I am all for helping other people but, really what does this taste like, I really like my morning wake-up juice.
There is some caffeine content but only around 12g. That is about as much as decaffeinated coffee. Some studies have shown coffee leaf tea may have an even higher concentration of antioxidants and other healthy components than some true teas. Antioxidants are polyphenols which have the potential to aid the body with removing free radicals. Coffee leaf tea is also rich in calcium and other vitamins. British and French scientists have discovered that coffee leaf tea contains mangiferin, a natural substance normally found in mangoes. It has been shown to fight inflammation, reduce cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels.
I hope to be offering their tea here on my site when it becomes more readily available.
I saw this in an email that someone set to me and so I had to look it up online to see if it was really true. It is a pretty amazing piece of ingenuity. The teaBOT is the brain child of two long time friends, Brian Lee and Rehman Merali.
This video shows the story of the teaBOT. Such a great premise, I wish there was one near me so that I could give it a try.
This Toronto based company was founded in 2013 by two high school friends, Brian Lee and Rehman Merali. Brian’s family has a loose-leaf tea store and he noticed that customers were leaving the store due to long line-ups. He discussed the problem with Rehman over sushi one day and the two engineers started sketching a machine to make a premium cup of tea for busy on-the-go consumers. The idea soon evolved into having the machine create the tea blends on-demand and teaBOT was born!
If you happen to have a teaBOT near you please give it a try and let me know what you think…
I am one of those people that enjoys a lot of different teas but there are a few that I regularly go back to. A friend of mine gave me a few samples of tea from Harney and Sons in New York. I liked tea before but those samples ignited a fire inside of me that has made me into the tea snob, as I am regularly called by my friends. I don’t completely disagree on my tea snobbery but it depends on what how you define what a tea snob is.
My all time favorite black tea is “Paris” by Harney and Sons, a close second in the black tea category is their “Black Current” tea. Both are a staple in my life.
I have lived in Colorado since the late 70’s. My parents up-rooted me from my home town of Eugene Oregon to open a floor covering business in Denver. They have since retired and live in Missouri. Me, my wife and our two kids still live here in the Mile High City.
I have been working on starting up a business that falls in line with my passion for tea. I love white and green tea and I am planning on blending my own flavored white teas. I will have them available for purchase soon.