Tea Terms

What is Black tea? Black teas are those teas whose leaves are allowed to fully oxidize before they are dried. Black teas are the most popular type of tea in the Western world today. Rich in polyphenols, several varieties are frequently blended together to create now famous blends (Breakfast, Earl Grey to name a few).

What is Oolong tea? It is allowed to partially oxidize before drying. Its oxidation level falls between green and black tea. Most oolong teas have complex and sometimes fruity flavors and floral bouquets.

What is Herbal tea? Also known as infusions or tisanes these consist of dried flowers and leaves of plants other than Camellia Sinensis and are not truly “teas”. Herbal tinfusions can also be made using fresh flowers, herbs, seeds, roots and bark. Some herbal teas are flavored with fruit, or essential oils and various spices.

What is White tea? White teas are the least processed of all teas. They are essentially plucked, carefully handled and dried. White teas are known for their subtle and sweet flavors. What is a green tea? A tea is defined as a green tea if the leaf has been protected from oxidation. Leaves are plucked and then carefully transported to the factory for processing which includes: withering, rolling, drying (and no bruising or time between rolling and drying, for oxidation).

Where in China are the leaves for your iced teas grown? Most of the leaves are from the Hunan and Yunnan provinces, famous for their teas as well as their spicy foods and beautiful women. Much of our leaf is grown around the 2-3000 ft elevation level in old gardens on bushes 20-45 years in age. Most workers are drawn from local villages and well paid for their services, many are skilled in production as well as plucking experts. It is beautifully, hilly country rich in both tea and food traditions. High mountains loom overhead and the air is clear. The people there do not drink iced teas and, in fact, don’t have the availability of ice. They think our tea drinking habits are odd but like that fact that we utilize their teas.

What is Rooibos? Rooibos is a natural herb that is unique to the South African Cedarburg Mountains. Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free and abounds in the minerals copper, iron and potassium, calcium, fluoride, zinc, manganese, alpha- hydroxyl and magnesium.

What is Stevia? Stevia is a small perennial shrub that belongs to the Chrysanthemum family of plants and is native to Paraguay. Stevia’s inordinate ability to sweeten, offers a safe, all natural, alternative to artificial sweeteners. In its herb natural herb form Stevia is approximately 10 to 15 times sweeter than the common table sugar. The levels of the plant are rated 70 to 400 times sweeter than sugar. Because the human body does not metabolize the sweet glycosides (they pass right through normal elimination channels) from the leaf or any of its processed forms, it does not adversely affect blood glucose levels and the body obtains no calories. For people with blood sugar, blood pressure or weight problems, Stevia is the ideal sweetener. Stevia is a key ingredient in our Hibiscus Raspberry Frenzy Iced Tea.

What is Fair Trade®? Fair Trade is an innovative, market-based approach to sustainable development. Fair Trade helps family farmers in developing countries to gain direct access to international markets, as well as to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace. By learning how to market their own harvests, Fair Trade farmers are able to bootstrap their own businesses and receive a fair price for their products. This leads to higher family living standards, thriving communities and more sustainable farming practices. Fair Trade empowers farming families to take care of themselves - without developing dependency on foreign aid.

What is USDA Certified Organic? Organic is defined as “an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological activity.” Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all of the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.

Do organic teas taste better than non-organic teas? If a tea garden is organic by default, meaning that it has become organic simply because the owners could not afford fertilizers and pesticides, often the flavor of the teas produced will be inferior to a healthy estates non-organic offerings. However - if an estate chooses to convert to organic and has the laborers and the means to care for the estate in a manner that includes good organic farming techniques, the teas will often have a richer and fuller cup potential, sweeter as well.