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Grandma’s Old Fashioned Recipes

TEA AND HERBAL TEA

Who would ever think that making a cup of tea could be so confusing? You just take a tea bag pour some boiling water over it in a cup and voila…you have a cup of tea. Not so fast! Tea is an infusion that comes from the camellia senensis plant. Not to be confused with herbal teas that is infusion of any type of herb or plant or anything else.

All tea comes from the same plant, the differentiation of these depends on when the leaf is picked, how much oxidation occurs, the fermentation process and if it is pressed or not.

Here in America tea bags have been used for several generations. The earliest tea bags were made from silk muslin and were patented in 1903. Thomas Sullivan used these commercially and later William Hermanson made paper fiber ones and reportedly sold the patent to the salada tea company in 1930. The issue with tea bags is that according to Wikipedia Heat-sealed tea bag paper usually has a heat-sealable thermoplastic such as PVC or polypropylene, as a component fiber on inner side of the tea bag surface. Cause to wonder? Perhaps. Lately we have seen the resurgence of loose tea which is the rest of the world has been drinking since the beginning.

White tea

White tea is made from the young leaves of the camellia senensis plant and has undergone no oxidation. The buds are then covered to prevent any formation of chlorophyll. The tea is named such due to the silver fuzz that covers the buds that turns white when dried. There are different varieties of white tea which is dependent upon the proportions of buds to leaves. For instance white peony is 1 bud to 2 leaves and silver needles only buds picked in early spring.

White tea has surged in popularity due in part because it contains more polyphenols, than other teas. Polyphenols are the anti-oxidant that fights and kills cancer-causing cells. A 2004 study at Pace University concluded that white tea can help build your body’s immune system to fight off viruses and dangerous infection-causing bacteria. The same study concluded that fluoride-rich white tea aids in the prevention of the growth of dental plaque, the chief cause of tooth decay as well as cardiovascular disease.

Use Fresh Cold Water Don’t use stale water that has been sitting in the kettle. If at all possible use spring water. The ideal temperature for making white tea is 150-160 degrees. You might want to boil your water and then let it sit a minute until the ideal temperature is met. Use 2 teaspoons of the white tea per 8 oz.cup. You can use more or less but 2 teaspoons is a good starting point. Then let it steep for 5-8 minutes. Some tea aficionados recommend up to 15 minutes for silver needles.

Yellow tea

Yellow tea is produced mainly in china. It has a slower drying phase than green tea but it has the same nutritional benefits as far as the anti-oxidant content. It smells quite like black tea, tastes similar to green tea but without the grassy aftertaste.

Use Fresh Cold Water Don’t use stale water that has been sitting in the kettle. If at all possible use spring water. The ideal temperature for making yellow tea is 160-170 degrees.

You might want to boil your water and then let it sit a minute until the ideal temperature is met. Use 1 teaspoons of the yellow tea per 5 oz.cup. You can use more or less but 1 teaspoon is a good starting point. Then let it steep for 1-2 minutes.

Green tea

Green tea leaves are plucked and left to dry for 8-24 hours, thus the differentiation of green tea. Then they are pan fried or steamed. This action stops the oxidation process. Then the leaves are rolled and ready for shipping. Green tea contains anti-oxidants to fight free radicals which scientists believe causes cancer. Use Fresh Cold Water Don’t use stale water that has been sitting in the kettle. If at all possible use spring water. The ideal temperature for making green tea is 180-190 degrees. You might want to boil your water and then let it sit a minute until the ideal temperature is met. Use 1 teaspoons of the green tea per 5 oz.cup. You can use more or less but 1 teaspoon is a good starting point. Then let it steep for 1-2 minutes.

Oolong tea (pronounced wulong)

It is among the most popular types of teas served in typical Chinese restaurants. It is oxidized between 10 and 70%. It’s brewed very strong and the bitterness leaves a sweet after taste. The taste itself is more akin to green tea then black tea. It also lacks the grassy aftertaste of green tea as well as the sweet aroma of black tea. There is the semi-oxidized Oolong tea which is collectively grouped as qingcha.

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Oolong tea leaves are processed in two different ways. Some teas are rolled into long curly leaves, while some are pressed into a ball-like since it was dark, long and curly; it was called the Black Dragon tea.

Use Fresh Cold Water Don’t use stale water that has been sitting in the kettle. If at all possible use spring water. The ideal temperature for making Oolong tea is 180-190 degrees. You might want to boil your water and then let it sit a minute until the ideal temperature is met. Use 2 teaspoons of the Oolong tea per 5 oz.cup. You can use more or less but 2 teaspoons is a good starting point. Then let it steep for 1-2 minutes. High quality oolong can be brewed multiple times from the same leaves, and unlike other teas it improves with reuse. It is common to brew the same leaves three to five times, the third or fourth steeping usually being the best

Black tea

Black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than all the other varieties. All four varieties are made from leaves of Camellia senensis. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas. In Chinese and Chinese influenced languages, black tea is known as “crimson tea” an accurate description of the color of the liquid. The term black tea refers to the color of the oxidized leaves. While green tea usually loses its flavor within a year, black tea retains its flavor for several years. After the harvest, the leaves are first withered by blowing air on them.

Varieties of black tea

Generally, unblended black teas are named after the region in which they are produced. Often, different regions are known for producing teas with characteristic flavors. Black tea is often blended and mixed with various other plants in order to obtain a beverage.

Earl Grey: black tea with bergamot oil.

English breakfast: described as full-bodied, robust, and/or rich, and blended to go well with milk and sugar.

English Afternoon tea: is medium bodied, bright and refreshing. Assam and Kenyan (similar to Assam) teas are strong. Ceylon adds a light, brisk quality to the blend. Twinings English Afternoon tea is a blend of Keemun and Ceylon teas. Keemun and Ceylon is not a common blend, but it is offered under specialty blends on occasion.

Irish Breakfast: it is a blend of several black teas: most often Assam teas and, less often, other types of black tea.

In the United States, citrus fruits such as orange or lemon, or their respective rinds, are often used to create flavored black teas, sometimes in conjunction with spices (such as cinnamon). These products can be easily confused with citrus-based herbal teas, but the herbal products will generally be labeled as having no caffeine; whereas, the tea-based products do contain caffeine.

Use Fresh Cold Water Don’t use stale water that has been sitting in the kettle. If at all possible use spring water. The ideal temperature for making Black tea is 210 degrees. Use 1 teaspoon of the Black tea per 6 oz.cup. You can use more or less but 1 teaspoon is a good starting point. Then let it steep for 2-3 minutes.

Pu-erh tea

Pu-erh, Pu’er tea, Puer tea (pronounced POO-urr) or Bolay tea is a type of tea made from a “large leaf” variety of the tea plant Camellia senensis and named after Pu’er County near Simao, Yunnan, China. Classifying this tea is very complicated due to the many ways it could possibly be processed. Pu-erh teas are often now classified by year and region of production much like wine vintages. What set pu-erh tea apart are the bacterial and fungal agents used to ferment it. Multiple strains of aspergillium spp., penicillin spp and yeasts and a wide range of micro flora are used in this process. Also the pu-erh is pressed. It has the same anti-oxidants as other teas but it is way processed! Use Fresh Cold Water Don’t use stale water that has been sitting in the kettle. If at all possible use spring water. The ideal temperature for making Pu-her tea is 200 degrees. Use 1 teaspoon of the pu-her tea per 6 oz.cup. You can use more or less but 1 teaspoon is a good starting point. Then let it steep for as long as you want depending on the type of Pu-her you have it needs to be taste tested.

Tea

Type – Water Temp. – Steep Time

White Tea 150 °F (66 °C) – 160 °F (71 °C) 5-8 minutes

Yellow Tea 160 °F (71 °C) – 170 °F (77 °C) 1-2 minutes

Green Tea 170 °F (77 °C) – 180 °F (82 °C) 1-2 minutes

Oolong Tea 180 °F (82 °C) – 190 °F (88 °C) 2-3 minutes

Black Tea 210 °F (99 °C) 2-3 minutes

Pu-erh Tea 200 °F (93 °C) – 210 °F (99 °C) Limitless

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