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Tea 101

 

 So whats the big darn difference and hype about this Loose Leaf Tea?

 It looks good. It smells good. It even sounds healthy. But what is it?​

Nowadays everything steeped in water is referred to as tea. Herbal tea, iced teas, chamomile tea and the list goes on.  Due to this western world modernization of the name "tea" many people are very unaware of what tea actually is.
 
Tea is an aromatic beverage that is commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the tea plant, camellia sinensis. This means, anything that does not contain camellia sinensis is in no way, shape or form considered TEA. The camellia sinensis or "tea leaf" goes through a stage of processing which then allows producers and consumers to classify the leaves into 5 main categories.
 
These 5 categories are: White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea, Black Tea and Pu-Erh.
 
White tea undergoes the least amount of processing while Black tea and Pu-Erh undergo the most amount of processing. This "process" is called oxidation, which is the interaction between oxygen molecules and whatever substance it comes in contact with.  Speaking of science, in school Daniel was very well acquainted with the letter "F" on the periodic table... This stood for FAIL! Terrible in science, Daniel likes to make things very easy to understand.
 
Oxidation simplified.
Take a bite out of an apple and then leave it on the counter for a few hours...
After all the bugs have taken their share, what colour is the bitten part of the apple?
If the apple was a real apple then chances are it has turned brown. This is exactly how oxidation works with tea leaves.  To stop the oxidation process, heat is then applied and this is where we get our 5 different classes of tea!
 
What's the diffference between loose leaf tea and what you get in tea bags?
The same difference between a packaged chicken hot dog and a gourmet chicken breast.(with gravy....) (sorry, someone was hungry at the time of writing this.) Loose leaf tea is a much higher quality of the camellia sinensis leaf in comparison to the "fannings" or tea dust that you find in tea bags. Loose leaf tea allows you to capture and embrace the whole taste of the leaf and extract all the wonderful health benefits it has to offer.