Archive for the 'Tea Preparation' Category

The 5 Personalities of Tea – Which Are You?

Here at Arbor Teas we have had a lot of time to observe the brewing techniques of our customers and ourselves.  In a fit of summertime fun and laughter, we created the top 5 Personalities of Tea.  Which are you?

We made a Facebook poll to keep track of which steeper is the most common! Let us know which Tea Personality YOU are by Monday, July 8, and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a free Arbor Teas T-shirt.  The winner will be announced on our Facebook page on Wednesday, July 10!

Super Steeper

The Super Steeper
Super Steepers pride themselves on getting the “most” out of their tea leaf. They purposefully steep their tea for long periods of time using boiling hot water. The resulting super brew is strong and caffeinated. Super Steepers re-steep habitually. Only in this way, can they extract all the “greatness” from the leaf.

Serious Steeper

The Serious Steeper
Serious Steepers are studious. They have researched the precise methods to brew each tea and implement them. Serious Steepers want to enjoy and document the unique characteristics of individual teas. Occasionally prone to carrying personal thermometers, they often “educate” bystanders on proper water temperature and steeping time.

Sidetracked Steeper

The Sidetracked Steeper
Sidetracked Steepers begin with the intent to brew tea using a specific method, but find themselves distracted by life. Inconsistency is the only thing constant. Sometimes the result is a fantastic cup of tea, sometimes not. Either way, it goes down the hatch while on-the-go.

Serene Steeper

The Serene Steeper
Serene Steepers prepare tea as a lifestyle. Although they are guided by best practices, Serene Steepers are not wed to the rules and are more likely to prepare tea according to their mood. Tea is usually enjoyed in tandem with another activity like reading a book, having a conversation, or enjoying the view.

Simple Steeper

The Simple Steeper
All teas are created equal in the Simple Steeper’s preparation of tea. Hot Water + Tea Leaves = Drink. Tea leaves are sometimes strained, sometimes not. Simple Steepers re-steep frequently and often do so by simply adding new leaves on top of the old leaves. Easy as that.

July 03 2013 | Tea Fun and Tea Preparation and Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Teapot

Ceramic Stump TeapotThe holiday season is fast approaching, and what better gift to give your favorite tea lover than a high-quality, well-selected teapot? You could just buy whatever’s on sale and call it a day, or you could do a little research and get just the right teapot for your tea enthusiast to make that perfect cup of tea. Kick-start your search right here with our teapot selection guide!

So Many Teapots, So Little Time

In your quest for the perfect teapot, you’re likely to encounter an incredible variety of styles and materials suited to different needs. While there are many compelling reasons to buy one teapot or another, we believe that the material the teapot is made from is among the most important.

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November 11 2010 | Tea Preparation and Teaware | 1 Comment »

Cold Brewing Tea: Why You Should, And How To Do It!

Cold-Brewed TeaTea is a relatively energy-efficient beverage. A cup of tea, made by boiling only the amount of water you need, produces only about a tenth of the carbon footprint generated by a large cup of cappuccino (Source: “The World’s Water, 2008-2009″ by Peter Gleick, et al, www.waterfootprint.org). To put this into perspective, if you drink four cups of black tea every day for a year, you would have only used up as much energy as a single 40-mile car ride.  On the other hand, the energy involved in a three-a-day latte habit is equivalent to flying halfway to Europe!

What Does Carbon Have To Do With Cold Brewing Tea?

Actually, there is even more you can do to reduce your CO2 emissions when it comes to tea-making. We covered a variety of “green brewing” techniques in a previous post.  These are certainly great ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but there is yet another easy and practical alternative to the regular brewing process: cold-brewing! As its name suggests, this technique involves making your favorite tea with cold water, slashing energy consumption by eliminating the water-heating process.

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November 06 2010 | Energy and Sustainability and Tea Preparation | 21 Comments »

Greening Your Tea Brewing in Five Easy Steps!

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re an environmentally-conscious tea drinker like us. While we’ve made big strides towards comprehensive sustainability (by sticking with organic tea, carbon-offsetting our business activities, using backyard-compostable packaging, etc.), buying your tea from an eco-friendly company such as ours is only part of the equation – the tea still needs to be brewed! Because we live in a world with limited freshwater resources and a dependence on fossil fuels for energy, we need to do all we can to minimize waste in our daily rituals – including tea drinking! With that in mind, we’d like to offer five quick (but hard-core) tips to help out:

  1. Measure Then Fill. Start the process by filling your kettle with the water you intend to use for brewing, pouring in only the amount of water required to fill your teapot. This way, you’re not wasting any water, and you’re not expending any more energy than necessary to bring the water to the right temperature. If you don’t think you’ll drink a whole pot, then fill the amount of cups you intend on drinking with water and pour those into your kettle instead.
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September 29 2010 | Sustainability and Tea Preparation | 6 Comments »

How is Tea Decaffeinated? Tea Term of the Month: “Decaffeinated”

Decaffeinated teaDecaffeinated tea is a great option for tea lovers who wish to avoid much of the caffeine naturally found in the tea leaf.  All forms of tea (black, oolong, green, white, and pu-erh) can be decaffeinated; but really only black and green tea are regularly decaffeinated.  It must be noted that decaffeinated tea is NOT caffeine free.  The decaffeination process leaves a minute amount of caffeine in the leaf.  By law, tea labeled as “decaffeinated” must have less than 2.5 percent of its original caffeine level.   Currently, there are four methods of decaffeination: methylene chloride; ethyl acetate; carbon dioxide; and water processing.

Methylene chloride decaffeination is a process by which the molecules of caffeine bond to molecules of methylene chloride.  Caffeine is removed either by 1) directly soaking the tea in methylene chloride or 2) indirectly soaking the water (used to remove the caffeine) in methylene chloride and then returning the water to the tea for reabsorption of flavors and oils.  Because methylene chloride is widely believed to be unhealthy for consumption, a legal limit of 5 parts per million is placed on residual traces in the tea and the US bans all imports using methylene chloride.

Tea processed using ethyl acetate is often referred to as “naturally decaffeinated” because ethyl acetate is a chemical found naturally in tea. Caffeine is extracted in the same way as with methylene chloride processing, but ethyl acetate is the solvent.  However, ethyl acetate is very difficult to remove after the decaffeination process, and is sometimes described as leaving a chemical taste.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) decaffeinated tea is essentially “pressure cooked” with this naturally occurring gas. At high pressures and high temperatures, carbon dioxide reaches a supercritical state. The CO2 becomes a solvent with its small, nonpolar molecules attracting the small caffeine molecules. Since flavor molecules are larger, they remain intact, which is why this process retains the flavor of the tea the best.

Caffeine extraction with water is used primarily for coffee decaffeination, however a small amount of tea products are decaffeinated using the water method. After the caffeine is removed from the tea by soaking the tea in hot water for a period of time, the solution is passed through a carbon filter for caffeine removal. The water is then returned to the tea for reabsorption of flavors and oils.  This process is often described as “watering down” the flavor of the tea.

Arbor Teas offers organic decaffeinated teas that exclusively use the carbon dioxide (CO2) method.  We feel that this is the safest form of decaffeination, while retaining the greatest flavor and health benefits.  Try some today!

February 03 2010 | Tea Preparation and Tea Terms | 11 Comments »

Recent Study Finds that Region Does Matter for Tea Quality

Japanese Tea Garden

The World Tea News recently reported (11/30/09) on a study that suggests that plants producing high-quality tea cannot simply be reproduced in other regions with the same outcome.  Researchers at the Kenyan institutions Maseno University, Egerton University and Moi University, conducted the study, which will appear in the April 2010 issue of the scientific journal Food Chemistry.  They started from the idea: “A superior quality genotype in one location is assumed to replicate the same attributes when planted in different regions, especially when climatic variations are minimal.” To test it, they cloned 20 plants that produced high-quality tea and planted them under identical circumstances, but in three different regions.  The results showed significant differences in the quality of the plain tea produced, based on certain parameters, among varying locations of production. A closer look further indicated that the changes in the tea were not systematic, because the same clone underwent different changes in different regions.  The study led the team to conclude: “A genotype selected in one site for high quality may not retain the relative quality over other genotypes in new areas. It is necessary to test genotypes in new areas of production to fully evaluate their relative quality potentials.”

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December 04 2009 | Miscellaneous and Tea Facts and Tea Preparation | No Comments »

How to Make Thai Tea (aka “Thai Iced Tea”): A Thai Tea Recipe from Arbor Teas

Thai Iced TeaThai Tea (also known as Thai Iced Tea) is a popular iced drink hailing from Thailand, commonly found in Thai restaurants across the US.  The deep amber color of the tea and its milk-tinted upper layer make this beverage really stand out on your table, and the combination of strongly-brewed tea, dairy and sugar make it a perfect complement to hot weather and spicy food.

Thai Tea is is made from strongly-brewed black tea, often spiced with ingredients such as star anise, crushed tamarind, cardamom, and occasionally others as well (often making this beverage a favorite among masala chai tea fans). This brew is then sweetened with sugar and condensed milk, and served over iced.  For the sake of flavor, consistency and visual appeal, glasses of Thai Tea are usually topped with additional dairy, such as evaporated milk, whole milk, half and half, or coconut milk (this last one, of course, is not actually dairy, but you get the picture).

buy thai iced tea blend

Organic Thai Iced Tea Blend
Want the best Thai Iced Tea around without the fuss of blending it yourself? Visit our website and buy our new Thai Iced Tea blend! It’s a wonderful combination of east Asian black tea, star anise, cardamom and vanilla bean that will not disappoint. Try some today!
Buy Now

Sound good?  Well, here’s a thai iced tea recipe to help you get started!

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June 30 2009 | Iced Tea and Tea Preparation | 89 Comments »

ICED TEA TIP: Alternatives to Plain Old Black Tea!

Iced tea is most commonly made with black tea, but there are all sorts of teas and tisanes that are excellent iced. Next time you making iced tea, mix it up and consider trying one of the following:

June 27 2009 | Iced Tea and Tea Preparation | 1 Comment »

How to Decaffeinate Your Tea at Home

We receive questions on a daily basis regarding the caffeine content of tea.  It’s probably one of the hottest topics we’re asked about.  Recently, a customer asked why we didn’t carry a decaffeinated Genmaicha Green Tea, to which I offered the following explanation:

Decaffeinating teas requires costly equipment and substantial amounts of energy, which typically make it cost-ineffective to decaffeinate small batches of specialty teas.  Only the most main-stream varieties are generally considered for decaffeination – usually versatile black and green teas that can be sold “as is” or blended in some fashion to create products like Decaf. English Breakfast, Decaf. Earl Grey, etc.  You’ll almost never see a decaffeinated version of a limited-production premium tea, like our Jade Oolong, Silver Needle White, or Gyokuro Green.  These products are already rather expensive and have a limited market demand, so creating a more expensive decaffeinated version to serve an even smaller group of customers doesn’t make sense for the tea manufacturer.

After offering this explanation, I was reminded of a way for caffeine-conscious tea lovers to sidestep the limited availability of premium decaffeinated teas.  If you just HAVE to have a particular variety of tea, and you’re not able to find a decaffeinated version, consider using our “easy at-home decaffeination method.” continue reading »

March 18 2009 | Tea and Health and Tea Facts and Tea Preparation | 13 Comments »

A Beginner’s Guide to Matcha

Matcha Green Tea

One of the many new and exciting products added to our catalog this fall is our organic Matcha Green Tea.  Matcha is a variety of Japanese green tea that is stone ground at the end of the manufacturing process, resulting an ultra-fine tea powder that is typically whisked in hot water until a frothy consistency is reached, as in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. The resulting brew has much more body and flavor than tea brewed in a conventional fashion, with a thick, rich green taste and slight bitterness. Drinking matcha has been found to be even healthier than normal green tea, because the entire tea leaf is consumed when matcha is drunk – not just the infusion as with normal teas.

To brew, measure approximately one teaspoon of matcha and place it in a pre-warmed bowl with approximately 1.5 oz. of water at 175°. This is roughly two almond-sized portions when using a traditional bamboo matcha scoop (or “chashaku”). Whisk vigorously in a back-and-forth motion using a traditional bamboo matcha whisk (or “chasen”) until frothy, making sure not to press the whisk down against the bottom of the bowl. After whisking, the matcha is ready to drunk directly from the bowl.

In addition to this traditional method of preparation, matcha is more and more frequently used as a cooking ingredient.  It’s often added to shakes, smoothies, and ice creams, lending a flavor that is at once sweet, bitter and savory.  But whether you’re brewing it or cooking with it, you should definitely try some today!

November 30 2008 | Products and Tea Preparation | 1 Comment »

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