Good vs Bad | Varieties of Tea | Caffeine | Preparation Info | Iced Tea | Food Pairing
Good vs Bad
Dragonfly Tea Zone desire to introduce customers to an array of gourmet hand picked, whole leaf teas and herbals sourced directly from growers around the world. When we started, many tea drinkers were accustomed to having low quality bags filled with tea dust as their only option. It has been our mission to bring tea lovers in all corners of the United States fresh seasonal teas with abundant flavor and intoxicating aromas that will delight them daily. Whether you enjoy whimsical blended teas or serious single origin varietals, you will always have many choices at Tea Zone. Our simple, elegant, durable teaware perfectly compliments our whole leaf teas to assist you in making delicious tea anywhere.
We invite you to peruse the chapters of our info section a your leisure to learn more about the varieties and origins of tea, steeping suggestions, health benefits, and more.
Varieties of Tea
All teas come from the same plant. The differences stem from how they are processed.
How the leaves are processed will determine their final classification as black, green, and oolong teas. The main difference between the many tea varieties is how much oxygen the leaves are allowed to absorb during processing. Much oxygen produces dark-colored black teas. Little oxygen results in green tea. Unprocessed leaves are called white tea.
undergoes a full fermentation process composed of four basic steps - withering, rolling, fermenting, and firing (or drying). First, the plucked leaves are spread out to wither. The withered leaves are then rolled, in order to release the chemicals within the leaf that are essential to its final color and flavor. The rolled leaves are spread out once more to absorb oxygen (oxidize), causing the leaves to turn from green to coppery red. Finally, the oxidized leaves are fired in order to arrest fermentation, turning the leaf black and giving it the recognizable tea scent. We invite you to view photos and descriptions of individual black teas.
is often referred to as "unfermented" tea. The freshly picked leaves are allowed to dry, then are heat-treated to stop any fermentation (also referred to as oxidation). In China, traditional hand-making methods are still employed in many places, particularly in the manufacture of the finest green teas you'll find offered here. We invite you to view photos and descriptions of individual green teas.
is generally referred to as "semi-fermented" tea and is principally manufactured in China and Taiwan (often called Formosa, its old Dutch name). For the manufacture of oolongs, the leaves are wilted in direct sunlight, then shaken in bamboo baskets to lightly bruise the edges. Next, the leaves are spread out to dry until the surface of the leaf turns slightly yellow. Oolongs are always whole leaf teas, never broken by rolling. The least fermented of oolong teas, almost green in appearance, is called Pouchong. We invite you to view photos and descriptions of individual oolong teas.
is produced on a very limited scale in China and India. It is the least processed of its many varieties. The new tea buds are plucked before they open and simply allowed to dry. The curled-up buds have a silvery appearance and produce a pale and very delicate cup of tea. We invite you to view photos and descriptions of individual white teas.
is created when the additional flavorings are mixed with the leaf as a final stage before the tea is packed. For Jasmine tea, whole jasmine blossoms are added to green or oolong tea. Fruit-flavored teas are generally made by combining a fruit's essential oils with black tea from China or Sri Lanka. We invite you to view photos and descriptions of individual flavored teas.
Lower in Caffeine than Coffee or Cola
|Caffeine levels of various beverages:|
|Black Tea||40 mg|
|Flavored Tea||40 mg|
|Oolong Tea||30 mg|
|Green Tea||20 mg|
|White Tea||15 mg|
|Decaf Tea||5-10 mg|
|Herbal Tea||0 mg|
|To eliminate caffeine intake completely, please consider switching to herbal tea, because even decaffeinated tea contains a trace (between 5 and 10 milligrams) of caffeine.|
Two Factors: Time and Temperature
Suggested ratio is one teaspoon of leaves per cup of water. However, the light and voluminous teas will taste best with twice that. To steep, please use boiling water (212F) when preparing black, dark oolong and herbal teas. And it's important to use cooler (180F) water when steeping green, light oolong and white teas. And remember to not over-steep, or your tea will taste bitter. Rule of thumb is 5 min. for most black, 7 min. for dark oolong and white, and only 3 min. for light oolong and green teas.
Assuring the proper temperature for green tea is easy with our variable-temperature kettle and electric tea maker. Both permit you to set the goal of 180F to assure a perfect cup of green or white tea.
Easier Than You Think
Iced tea made from real leaves tastes great. And is very easy to make. Simply double the amount of tea leaves (making it two teaspoons per cup of water), and steep as usual (five minutes in most cases). Once tea is ready, dilute with an equal amount of cold water or ice. Garnish with mint or lemon, and enjoy its great taste.
Matching Tea with Food
Exploring the world of connoisseur-level teas is as intoxicating as that other beverage: Wine. For wine lovers, the current fashion is not to insist that whites pair up with poultry nor drink only reds with meat. This has led to many adventuresome pairings and new taste sensations.
Fortunately, teas pairings are also open to exploration. Anyone who says blacks are only for entrees or that greens must stand alone, haven't had the pleasure (or perhaps the opportunity) to pair a wide variety of teas with every part of a menu.
Greens like Dragonwell or Sencha are wonderful with seafood or fish fillets, salads, or chicken. Blacks like Ceylon or Assam from India are soft accompaniments to beef or steak dishes or spicy foods from Mexican, Italian, or Indian cuisine. Although it is traditional to have Oolongs with Chinese dishes, one may argue that rich black Yunnan or Keemun teas offer more complexity and layers to the experience of tea pairings.
Formosa Oolong and Pouchong teas seem to demand solo drinking, quiet, and something restful to look upon. However, oolongs are delicious in many foods. Try them to flavor liquids used for cooking rice or grains. They add a wonderful punch, and like all tea, no calories, sodium, or sugar!
For desserts, seek out the chocolatey essence of a Golden Monkey. This exquisite Chinese tea is hearty, rich, and tastes perfect when infused into baked custards, chocolate cakes, or drunk as a beverage with a rich dense strawberry shortcake. Assam is another rich black tea that complements chocolate desserts yet is a surprising foil against lemony or custard dishes.
As a digestive, nothing is better, more satisfying or more calming than an aged Chinese Pu-erh, the darker, the stronger, the better. The only intentionally aged tea, it is particularly good after a multiple-course feast like a Thanksgiving or similar heavy holiday meal. If you're a milk-and-cookies snacker before bedtime, try a Mango Melange herbal infusion instead. You'll sleep better, and will wake up feeling great.