Beginners Guide to Tea
The A to Z Tea Guide
A = Assam. A tea growing region where strong robust breakfast teas come from. The warm weather and the heavy rainfall encourage fast growing leaves which make the best loved morning brews.
B = Biodynamics – The most self-sustaining method of farming using herbs and compost to the tune of nature
C = Camellia Sinensis. All real teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant, an evergreen, perennial that originated in China and got brought over to India, Africa, Sri Lanka and many other Tea growing countries.
D = Dust. The tiny particles of Tea best used as mulch, should never be put in teas we drink.
E = Eco-Villages. Self-sustainable homes where gas is provided by the cow manure, the vegetable patch feeds the family and the cow provides milk and income.
F = First Flush Tea. These are the initial young buds that burst forth in March/April making a light Tea that is different each year.
G = Green Tea. Tea leaves are picked and then gently steamed to make grassy green teas which are full of antioxidants.
H = Heat. The temperature of the water for brewing each Tea is different. A rolling boil for black teas, just below that for Green and for white Tea a temperature of around 80c.
I = Infusion. In Tea taster’s words, the infusion is the soggy bunch of leaves left over from a brew. Consumers call herbal Teas infusions too.
J = Jacaranda. The lovely blue flowers at the end of the summer that signal the onset of the rainy monsoon season.
K = Kettle. Invaluable for a Teaholic.
L = Liquor. We call the tea in your cup, tea liquor – always clear with no dust at the bottom of the cup means it is a great tea.
M = Mulch. A layer of leaves and grasses placed around the base of the Tea bushes to avoid erosion of the soil during the heavy rainfall.
N = Nettle. Nettles are used on organic tea estate to discourage insects from attacking the new leaves.
O = Oolong Tea. When Tea leaves are only left to partly ferment after they are picked, you get a tea that is between a green and black Tea. Known for its health giving properties and high polyphenols, Oolong teas produce a light golden Tea.
P = Pekoe. Is the name given to a handmade style of leaf Tea
Q = Quality. All Hampstead Teas go through many tests of quality. On the tea estate, the leaves are checked by the factory manager; after they are packed, they are tasted again. When samples arrive at our office, 3 of us taste these, and when the Teas are shipped, they are tasted yet again. If they are blended, then they get tasted one more time before they are packed.
R = Rolling. Once the leaves are fermented they are rolled to give them that furled look –watch them uncurl as they slip into the hot water
S = Steaming. Our Green Teas are steamed before being air dried. The steam locks in the antioxidants.
T = Tippy. Tea leaves are called Tippy when the tea contains loads of little flavourful unopened leaves or buds. We call them “tips”!
U = Umbrellas. Tea pickers wear large umbrella like hats while picking to protect them from the sun.
V = Valerian Root. A biodynamic preparation that is used just before the winter
W = White Tea. For white tea the leaves are hand-picked and then gently laid on muslin to dry in the sun. Nothing else ! So it is the purest form of Tea
X = Xcellent Teas. Ok we cheated on this one, but we believe everyone deserves an excellent tea. That's why we only use the finest and highest graded teas.
Y = Yarrow. A wild flower that is one of the biodynamic preparations that go into the composting on our biodynamic Tea estates.
Z = Zero waste. Our target.