Understanding Tea


  • Q: What is Tea?
  • A: All teas are harvested from the same species bush Camellia Sinensis. Camellia Sinensis is a flowering evergreen shrub native to southern China. "Tea" is what we call the processed dry leaves of this shrub and the infused beverage produced by soaking these leaves in hot water. The different tea varieties, such as white tea, green tea, oolong tea, and black tea are all derived from the same plant, and its 2 sub-variations, Camellia Assamica,(Assam bush) and Camellia Sinensis Cambodi (Java Bush) 

  • Q: How is tea made?
  • A: The variations in processing the tea leaves is what gives tea it flavor, and unique qualities. All tea leaves need to be wither and dried. Some teas get more sun, some get more air to oxidize, and some get very little of air or sunlight while processing. Here is a simple way to consider teas.
  •  White tea is simply picked and dried,and in the case of Bai Mu Dan, a small percentage is allowed to oxidize during the no- sun withering, and air drying. This slight oxidization gives it a flavor reminiscent of oolong tea. 
  • Green tea is made in so many unique ways it is almost impossible to pin it down to one feature. But if one feature needs to be appreciated of green tea it is that to have its characterisitic green color it must be prevented from oxidation to preserve its appealing green color and also quick fired to retain its juices.  
  • Oolong and Black tea undergo additional processing (such as shaking, tumbling or crushing) which bruises or breaks open the surface of the leaf in order to encourage oxidation. During oxidation enzymes exposed to the air cause the leaf to darken, thus developing the tea's color, aroma, and flavor. Upon achieving the desired level of oxidation, the process is halted by heating and drying. 

  • Q: Loose leaf tea vs. tea bags part 1(leaf)
  • A: Loose tea is generally whole leaf, or large broken pieces.  Bagged tea is usually small bits of fanning’s, and dust. Mechanized crushing of the leaves creates the broken grades. Broken, torn, and shredded pieces of tea leaves brew more quickly, which is desirable in a tea bag. But because of their exposed surface area, shredded leaves also become stale more quickly. Processed tea is sieved to insure that leaves of uniform size are packaged together. Fanning’s and dust are bits and pieces of tea-leaves left over from the sieving that separate out whole leaves and large pieces of leaf for loose leaf teas. Fanning’s are slightly larger than dust.

  • Q: Tea bags vs. loose leaf tea part 2 (Flavor)
  • A: The fuller the leaf the more pronounced the flavor. Whole leaf is superior in flavor, quality, appearance, and one might argue its virtues as an over all value of the tea.  The special processing involved in plucking, sorting, and delicate handling is of course more labor intensive but the final product of fresh premium quality tea is one of life’s fine enjoyments. Often an inspired distinctive tea begins in the hands of an experienced tea picker. Loose-Leaf tea also provides for a wide range of tea varieties and blends, which are not typically offered in tea bags.

  • Q: Is Organic Better? Is the taste better?
  • A: Fortunately there are many fine and well established tea estates world wide which take seriously the customers need for organic tea which is grown without the use of chemicals.  As far as taste goes, we think it to be a matter of preference, for customers who want flavor there is no difference in quality of flavor, except the peace of mind that comes from devouring your favorite cup, free of chemicals, with only the natural nutrients that are healthful to you.

  • Q: What is organic tea, and how can I be sure?
  • A: Da Cha Teas organic teas are all USDA certified organic. What this means is that the USDA, an independent organization which is accountable to NOP (National Organic Program) USA verify that this tea comes from tea farms and estates which comply with USA standards of organic tea practices. In essence, organic certification is a simple concept. A third party—an organic certifying agent—evaluates producers, processors, and handlers to determine whether they conform to an established set of operating guidelines called organic standards. Those who conform are certified by the agent and allowed to use a logo, product statement, or certificate to document their product as certified organic. In other words, the certifier vouches for the producer and assures buyers of the organic product's integrity.

  • Q: What is Fair Trade?
  • A: Fair Trade USA empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. To be exact, you are helping to encourage the following principles, such as healthy working conditions, fair wages, no child labor, with financial support for schools and hospitals. For more details visit; http://www.transfairusa.org/content/about/overview.php

  • Q: Why is tea drinking so full of health benefits? 
  • A: Tea is loaded with antioxidants that cleanse the body of free radicals, which damage good cells and cause cancer. Studies show drinking 2-5 cups of tea daily can reduce cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels that can lead to diabetes, can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke as well as reduce the risk of colon and other cancers linked to our digestive system. In addition, fresh brewed tea contains fluoride for strong bones, vitamin B and has less than 1 calorie per serving.

  • Q: Is green tea healthier than black tea? 
  • A: All tea, White, Green, Oolong, and Black are healthy. Green tea was the first tea studied because scientists wondered why there was 0-rate of esophagus and stomach cancers in Shizuoka, Japan. They discovered residents of Shizuoka drank more green tea compared to other Japanese citizens because Shizuoka is where most Japanese tea is grown. US and UK researchers conclude black tea is also a potent anti-cancer fighter.
  • Q: What Is Herbal Tea?
  • A: Herbal tea is not derived from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant and so is not technically a tea.  Herbal Teas are blends made with herbs, flowers, roots, spices or other parts of some plants. The proper term for this type of beverage is "tisane."

  • Q: What is Rooibos, a tea or a tisane?
  • A: Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the Aspalathus Linearis (or "red bush") plant, which grows only in the small Cederberg region of South Africa. Because it does not derive from the Camillia Sinensis plant (like Black, White, Green or Oolong teas), Rooibos tea is considered more of an herbal drink or tisane than a "true" tea. It has no caffeine. However, ever since its first discovery several centuries ago, Rooibos tea drinkers knew that this herbal drink had medicinal powers. As researchers demystify Rooibos tea, subjecting it to studies to determine exactly what health benefits it provides, they too are continually astounded by the wide range of health benefits associated with drinking Rooibos tea.

  • Q: Does tea have more caffeine than coffee?
  • A: A cup of Black tea has about one-half the caffeine of an equal portion of Coffee. Green tea, processed less than Black tea, has even less caffeine. Caffeine occurs naturally in the leaves of the tea plant, camellia sinensis.  The amount of caffeine that is transferred from a leaf into your cup depends on many things: varietal, age of leaf, method of manufacture, production techniques, steeping time, and the water temperature used during steeping.  Despite the many variables that determine caffeine content, there are some simple rules of thumb when it comes to determining how much caffeine is in a single cup.

  • Tea and Caffeine: All tea even decaffeinated teas have a small amount of caffeine. When brewed at the recommended serving size, any variety of tea, black, green, oolong, and white tea will have significantly less caffeine than coffee. Green tea brewed at 180-degree water has less caffeine than black, oolong, and white tea. Because a lower water temperature is used during steeping, less caffeine will be extracted from the tea leaf. Gen Mai Cha green tea is also considered to have little caffeine when compared to the other green teas.
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