Burlington Tea Festival 2016

Tea Types & Steeping Instructions

Tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis, a warm-weather evergreen. Tea is grown around the world in thousands of estates or tea gardens, resulting in thousands of flavorful variations. Like wines, many teas take their names from the district in which they are grown, and each district is known for producing teas with unique flavor and character.

While there are more than 1500 varieties of tea available worldwide, all teas can be divided into three basic types: black, green and oolong.

The way the fresh tea leaves are processed and their level of contact with oxygen determine the types of tea. During oxidation, the tea leaves experience natural chemical reactions that result in distinctive taste and colour characteristics.

Black Tea

Most commonly used in North American tea bags, black tea is made from fully oxidized leaves, which produce a hearty deep rich flavour in a coloured amber brew. Popular black teas include: Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Keemun, Lapsang Souchong, Sikkim, Yunnan, and popular blends such as English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast and Russian Caravan.

Preparation: 100°C / 212°F and steep 4 minutes

Green Tea

Most popular in Asia, green tea is not oxidized. It is withered, immediately steamed or heated to prevent oxidation and then rolled and dried. It has a delicate taste, light green colour and is very refreshing. Varieties of green tea include: Gunpowder, Dragon Well, Jasmine, Sencha Dancha, Hojicha, Genmaicha, Gyokuro, Spider Leg, Matcha, and Tencha.

Preparation: 80°C / 185°F and steep 1-3 minutes

Oolong Tea

The name oolong literally translates as “Black Dragon” and is very popular in China. Oolong teas feature partly oxidized leaves and combine the taste and colour qualities of black and green tea. Extremely flavourful and highly aromatic, oolong teas are consumed without milk and sugar. Varieties of oolong tea include: Formosa Oolong, Ti Kuan Yin, Formosa Pouchong, and Black Dragon.

Preparation: 80°C / 185°F and steep 2-3 minutes

White Tea

White Tea is made entirely from leaf buds that are covered with whitish hairs. The new budds are plucked before they open,  withered, then dired slowly at low temperatures. Unlike other tea processing methods, the leaf buds are not rolled and slightly oxidized. The result is a tea with a mild flavour and natural sweetness.

Preparation: 80°C / 185°F and steep 2-5 minutes

Herbal Tea

Not made from the Camellia sinensis plant, but rather an infusion of leaves, roots, bark, seeds or flowers, it is calming, soothing or invigorating.

Preparation: 100°C / 212°F and steep 3-6 minutes

 

Steeping Instructions

Tea Type

Preparation

White

80°C / 185°F

(Steep 2-5 min)

Green

80°C / 185°F

(Steep 1-3 min)

Oolong

80°C / 185°F

(Steep 2-3 min)

Black

100°C / 212°F

(Steep 4 min)

Herbal

100°C / 212°F

(Steep 3-6 min)

How to Brew the Best Cup of Tea

  • Start with fresh-drawn cold water and bring to a rolling boil and let sit to temperature suggested above
  • Warm the teapot
  • Use one teaspoonful of loose tea or one teabag per cup (6 oz.) of water
  • When the water is at the correct temperature, take the kettle to the warmed teapot and pour over the tea
  • Cover and let steep for times suggested above
  • Strain tea or remove the teabags. Enjoy!

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