There is an amazing amount of choice available these days when it comes to selecting which tea to try. From Assam to Oolong, not to mention the array of flavoured teas that are rising in popularity. It can be confusing, the choice is overwhelming, leading to many tea drinkers sticking with one tea type and potentially missing out on some amazing taste experiences.
So, if all tea comes from the same plant why are there so many teas?
There are 3 factors that determine tea flavour and type.
Firstly, where the tea is grown. Soil type, climate, even the altitude of the tea plantation all influence the flavour of the tea leaf. You might see reference to 'high grown' as part of a tea description meaning that the plantation where the tea bush is grown is at a high altitude.
Secondly, when the tea leaf is picked. How young the tea leaf is when harvested impacts the flavour of the tea. You may have heard the term 'first flush' referring to the very first young tea leaf of the growing season.
Finally, what happens to the tea leaf once it is picked. This processing stage determines the tea type - whether a tea is classed as Green Tea, Black Tea, White Tea, Oolong tea, or Fermented tea, these are the major categories of tea.
It's a common misconception that different types of tea come from different types of tea bush - remember that all tea comes from one plant - Camellia Sinensis
Black tea is the most processed type of tea. The picked tea leaf is first spread out to wither or withered using warm air. The leaf is then rolled by hand or machine, oils released during rolling aid the process of oxidation which is triggered when the leaf membrane is broken during rolling. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that results in the browning of the tea leaf and the production of flavour and aroma. Finally the leaf is dried and fired at a high temperature to stop the oxidation process.
Once tea is processed it may be sold as it is, often taking its name from the region or even the specific tea plantation in which it is grown. For example Assam tea is produced from tea leaf grown in the Assam region of northeast India.
Tea may undergo additional processing such as smoking, being blended with other teas, dried flowers or herbs or having flavour added to create a unique tea, such as Earl Grey which is a blend of black tea infused with bergamot oil to give it its distinctive citrus flavour which perfectly complements the malty black tea.
There really is a world of choice! The trick is to try different teas.
To celebrate National Tea Day on 21st April we are launching a taster pack containing a mix of teas and tisanes to encourage everyone to sample something different.
We simply love talking tea! Please feel free to leave a comment, message us direct firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Instagram (@infini.teas) or Facebook (@InfiniTeas)
Our tea pyramids are proving extremely popular and are a great way to enjoy fuss free brewing on the go, without the need to compromise on the quality of your drink.
The material used to make our pyramids is Soilon - a fine mesh made from corn starch. We chose Soilon as it is biodegradable and can be broken down by microrganisms in soil, just pop your used pyramids in your food waste bin along with fruit and veg peelings and your council will take them to the nearest food recycling facility.
Soilon pyramids are a safe and non-toxic alternative to paper tea bags.
The pyramid shape gives our leaf teas and herbals plenty of room to expand and brew nicely, plus you can see the tea ingredients, overall a much nicer experience than the usual paper tea bags!
In drinking a well-steeped infusion you will get all the plant’s benefits in an easily digestible form as well as benefiting from hydration, social interaction (by sharing a brew with others) and aromatherapy from essential oils released during the steeping process – all things that you don’t get from a vitamin tablet!
There is a huge market in herbal and fruit infusions with a fantastic range of flavours and blends available to suit every taste. Brew with hot water for a warm and cosy feeling.
Look for high quality ingredients and well sourced products. To gain the full benefit be sure that you steep for plenty of time, in some cases up to 5 minutes, to extract the maximum health properties.
If you are keen to keep your kettle busy until it’s time to crack open the Pimm’s again next summer then look no further than our pick of herbal and fruit infusions, all caffeine-free and available to buy online.
Lots of us enjoy a hot toddy, but have you ever thought of using tea as a base?
With Christmas just around the corner it’s good to have an easy recipe up your sleeve to use at the first sign of a cold.
Our Lemon & Ginger Toddy is the ideal pick-me-up and is simple to make.
2 Lemon and Ginger tea pyramids
200ml (1/3 pint) just-boiled water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger (optional)
2-3 teaspoons honey
1 slice of lemon (optional)
InfiniTeas Tip: Add a tot of whisky to give your Lemon & Ginger Toddy an added kick!
We know that tea is good for us but what if it doesn’t taste that great?
Buying expensive tea doesn’t necessarily give you the perfect cup of tea. There are a few factors that will affect the taste of your tea - the quality of the tea, how it has been stored and of course the brewing technique.
Preparing tea isn’t rocket science but it is also not as simple as adding boiling water to tea. You can end up with a bitter cup of tea and we know how frustrating that is!
Green tea has lots of health benefits. Many customers would like to drink more and ask us about the best way to brew green tea as they are sometimes disappointed with the flavour.
Don’t over boil your water. Once it reaches the boil remove from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It should be hot (c.80ºc) but not boiling.
Green tea does not require much steeping time. Brewing for too long will result in bitterness and a less balanced flavour. We recommend experimenting with a range of 1 - 3 minutes.
Japanese green teas generally taste best at 1 - 2 minutes while for Chinese green teas, that have a larger leaf, try 2 - 3 minutes. Balance steeping time with water temperature: the lower the temperature, the longer the tea can be steeped.
Strain your tea quickly – if the tea and hot water stay together the darker and more bitter your infusion will become.
Try some green teas and find what suit your taste buds – our new Green Tea Explorer offers you the opportunity to sample teas from our range.
A recent news article in the Telegraph piqued our interest.
It’s exciting to read that exports of British tea are on the increase, which can only be great news for our tea industry here in the UK. It seems our fantastic UK growers are producing some amazing teas which are in high demand worldwide - the US, China, Singapore and Japan in particular.
So how practical is it for us to grow tea in our own back garden?
The Camellia Sinensis plant is the tea producing bush. Tea is made from the harvested dried, processed leaves and buds. The tender evergreen plants flourish in deep, rich soils, even temperatures, high humidity and with at least 1.3m of rain a year. Winter 2015 / 2016 was extremely mild here in the UK, fantastic for tea growing.
Now is a great time to purchase tea plants, we might try growing tea this year, watch this space …….
With the Great British Bake Off 2016 #GBBO taking to our TV screens here in the UK this week thoughts ultimately turn to stepping into the kitchen to create a masterpiece.
Our love of tea here at InfiniTeas has us seeking out recipes that give a nod to tea, whether it's an amazing cake or biscuit to accompany our current favourite brew or maybe a recipe using tea as an ingredient?
There are many fantastic tea inspired recipes to choose from so we thought we would share some of our favourites with you over the coming weeks. There really is something for everyone to suit your taste, budget, skill level or available time. These Chai cookies are delicious and are really quick and easy!
150 grams plain flour
40 grams sugar
30 grams icing sugar
1 tablespoon chai tea
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, optional
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
110 grams unsalted butter
Makes 24 cookies
Pulse the flour, sugar, chai tea and salt until the tea broken up and well distributed throughout the dry ingredients. For optional additional spice add the cardamom and cinnamon.
Add the vanilla and butter.
Pulse into a rough dough. Remove the dough and shape into a log. Wrap the log in baking parchment or cling film and roll until smooth and an even shape. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
When you are ready to bake your cookies preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Using a sharp knife slice the chilled dough into 8 mm think pieces. Place on the baking tray and bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, approx. 10 to 12 minutes.
Allow the cookies to cool and firm up for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Enjoy with a lovely cup of Assam.