Today we are excited to join CEO and founder of "Florida Herb House" Stephen Sharp for some helpful tips and advice on choosing the right tea for your budget and health needs. Now lets hand it over to Stephen!
It's a pleasure to be here and thanks for having me! At Florida Herb House loose leaf tea is our best seller and it pays to do your research before shelling out $20 for some tea. Any tea in loose leaf form is in it's earliest stage of its life cycle. This means you are getting the best tea your dollar can buy. Supermarket and shelf stock tea just has too much age to compare to loose leaf teas. It can take several months for a pre-packaged tea to make it into your tea cup compared to a few weeks in many cases for tea to be harvested and then delivered in bulk form to our store. White, Green, Oolong, and Black tea taste from a tea bag will always be inferior compared to the taste from whole loose leaves. So when you steep your tea, please make sure it is from whole freshly dried leaves. We guarantee satisfaction at Florida Herb House as quality high grade tea is our trademark.
White, Green, Oolong and Black tea all are produced from the "Camellia sinensis" plant. "Camellia sinensis" is native to China and Asia and grown in many tropical regions throughout the world today. WikiPedia states, "It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is usually trimmed to below two meters (six feet) when cultivated for its leaves. It has a strong taproot. The flowers are yellow-white, 2.5–4 cm in diameter, with 7 to 8 petals."
The main difference in each one of these teas is when and how they are processed. "Processed" means picked, fermented (or oxidized), dried, etc. etc. Optimal time to pick the tea leaves is April-May with some variations expected. It can take several years for these plants to produce a plentiful harvest. Green and White tea is considered the least processed with the most antioxidants and the least amounts of caffeine. Green tea will have a pleasant grassy taste while White tea will boast a more floral flavor. White tea is actually produced using the plant's flower buds. The buds are picked before they bloom and then baked or steamed to halt any oxidation process. This preserves the high anti-oxidant properties of the tea. Green tea is made in a similar fashion but with the leaves of the plant. The highest quality green tea will contain only leaves while some lesser quality varieties will be leaves and twigs combined.
Next in line is oolong tea. Oolong teas are said to be the hardest of the four to create. Oolong tea is somewhere in between green and black tea. This is because they are only partially fermented "oxidized" during the processing cycle. Oolong tea has less antioxidants than green and white tea but more than black tea. Caffeine levels are in the middle.
Finally the most processed of the teas are black tea. Black tea leaves are picked the same way green and oolong tea leaves are picked but these leaves are fermented "oxidized" the longest. The term oxidized refers to how long the leaves are exposed to a set air temperature and humidity. You can compare this to an oak tree leaf falling on the ground and beginning to turn brown. The longer the tea leaf is oxidized the more it is considered "processed". The tea leaves that are most processed have a unique taste that is loved by many but lack the high levels of antioxidants that the green and white teas contain. Black tea contains the highest levels of caffeine also and have a full bodied taste.
Basically there are 3 main things to consider when choosing your tea. You have flavor, nutritional benefits, and price.
White tea is has a light, delicate, flavor with a touch of sweetness. Green tea can have a range of flavors depending on many factors but most all will have a fresh green grassy taste. You will either love or hate green tea but it is a must try. Oolong tea will produce a woody, earthy taste with slight flowery taste and last of all black tea can be compared to your morning cup of coffee. It gives a bold, deep, earthy flavor.
The nutritional benefits of tea are vast and deep. Several studies have revealed the anti-cancer properties of antioxidant poly-phenols found in tea. From cancer fighting properties to health skin support it has been proven that 2-6 cups of tea per day is healthy addition to any diet. Some teas have higher antioxidant levels than others. To reap the amazing anti-oxidant properties choose either white or green tea. These are the least processed and have the highest levels of poly phenols (antioxidants) per ounce as well as the lowest levels of caffeine.
As far as cost goes, well we would have to give white tea the highest prices. A high quality Darjeeling White Tea can cost upwards of $150/lb.! Green and black tea have the most appealing prices as these are the teas which are produced the most. Supply and demand tend to dictate the cost of tea just as with anything else. Oolong teas are second in price after white tea. So in conclusion the cost from high to low is white, oolong, green, and black tea. Sampling different teas is not only fun and relaxing but healthy for you too! May the tea be with you always!
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