Why should I drink loose leaf tea instead of bagged tea?

Although bagged teas have come a long way in the last few years, loose leaf tea still offers superior flavor and incomparable freshness. Bagged teas, particularly those found in most grocery stores, often contain the lowest grade of tea available on the market. Most bagged teas are made using “dust” or “fannings,” smaller particles of tea that is machine processed using a CTC (Cut, Tear, Curl) method. These smaller particles often yield a harsher, more astringent brew lacking the more subtle nuances that make loose leaf tea so special.

Loose leaf tea is often hand-picked and painstakingly processed to preserve, and even enhance, the tea’s natural flavor. The process is far more labor intensive and results in a more complex flavor profile that is simply unparalleled by conventional bagged teas. Evidence also suggests that loose leaf tea has a higher antioxidant level than the tea found in tea bags, thus maximizing the drink’s potential health benefits.

Does it matter how long I steep my tea?

Definitely. Certain types of tea, in particular green tea and white tea, can be very delicate and oversteeping them often results in a bitter flavor. Each of our teas comes with specific instructions for brewing the perfect cup of tea, including the optimal steeping time and water temperature. We realize that tea preferences are subjective, so feel free to tweak our recommendations to suit your taste.

When in doubt, follow these general guidelines:

Do green teas offer greater health benefits than white teas?

Not necessarily. Green tea tends to get the most publicity regarding its potential health benefits due to the fact that it has been studied on a far greater scale than any other type of tea. All teas contain polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that may help to neutralize cell damaging free radicals found in the body. Oxidized teas (such as black teas and oolong teas) contain different types of antioxidants, yet they are also thought to be able to reduce the effects of dangerous free radicals. In terms of quantity, researchers now believe that white teas contain the highest number of antioxidants.

Scientists are still exploring antioxidants and their potential benefits as well as the overall affects of tea on various diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, not enough research has been conducted yet to make any sweeping statements confirming that drinking tea will help prevent cancer, trigger weight loss or cure cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, the evidence is highly suggestive that, at the very least, tea is conducive to an overall healthy lifestyle.

Various studies have attributed different health benefits to different tea families. Below is a list of the different tea families and the health properties that researchers believe may be linked to them.

White Tea: cancer prevention and treatment, anti-aging, stress management, detoxification

Green Tea: cancer prevention and treatment, weight loss, increased lifespan, treatment of depression, lower blood pressure levels, cavity prevention, blood sugar regulation, treatment of type II diabetes

Oolong Tea: weight loss, lower cholesterol levels

Black Tea: cardiovascular health, improved muscle recovery after exercise

How many cups of tea do I need to drink a day to make sure that I am benefitting from the potential health benefits of tea?

Some researchers believe that the positive effects of tea can be seen when consuming as few as 2-4 cups a day. Keep in mind that tea is best consumed in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

How do I know if I can use the same tea leaves for multiple infusions?

Certain teas retain their flavor through multiple infusions. Premium oolongs, in particular, can often be infused three to five times, as can Silver Needle white tea, without losing even a hint of their original flavor. Herbal, Rooibos, and Mate blends can be used for a second infusion; however, the flavor is less pronounced the second time around. If you aren’t sure whether or not your favorite tea will stand up to a second infusion, there is only one way to find out. Give it a try! What do you have to lose?

How do I use my favorite TeBella tea to make iced tea?

You will need the tea to be extra strong so that the flavor is not diluted by the addition of ice. Simply double the amount of loose leaf tea that you normally use without changing the steeping time or temperature and then pour the tea directly over ice. Alternatively, you could use the same amount of water as you would use for a hot serving, but use half the amount of water. You simply want to create a concentrated brew so that the tea will not be watered down when you pour it over ice. Remember, increasing the steeping time or temperature could cause the tea to taste bitter. We use cocktail shakers to chill the tea before pouring it over ice so that it is extra cold when our customers take their first sip.

Why does TeBella not carry any decaffeinated teas?

If you are looking for something caffeine-free, we have lots to choose from! All of our Herbal Infusions and Rooibos blends are naturally caffeine-free since neither contains any form of the tea plant. True tea, however, has caffeine unless it is removed through a decaffeination process. The tea plant produces caffeine as a defense mechanism against its predators. The interaction between caffeine and polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) present in the leaf help supply the tea’s flavor. Removing the caffeine affects the flavor of the tea in subtle, yet discernible ways, making it taste somewhat dull or even flat. Research suggests that the decaffeination process may also reduce the tea’s antioxidant content by as much as 25%.

How much caffeine is in each type of tea?

Most teas have considerably less caffeine than coffee. On average, tea contains only 30%-50% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee. Here is a general guideline:

It is also important to note that the caffeine in tea is absorbed differently by our bodies than the caffeine in coffee. The presence of certain polyphenols in tea act to slow the caffeine’s release over time, causing it to enter the bloodstream more gradually, a steady of amount of caffeine is released over a longer period of time; this differs from how caffeine from coffee is processed in the body, in which all of the caffeine is released at once. For this reason, many believe that tea is a more effective stimulant than coffee, causing less jitters, no crash, and more mindfulness.

For those of you who may be monitoring your caffeine intake, we recommend that you try any one of our flavorful caffeine-free infusions. If you choose one of our delicious Rooibos blends, you won’t even have to sacrifice those antioxidants you crave. Rich in antioxidants, Rooibos is also a powerful source of vitamins and minerals, and thought to have immune-boosting properties (it is a good source of Vitamin C).

Why is there a great deal of conflicting information on the internet regarding the amount of caffeine in tea?

It used to be commonly accepted that the caffeine content of tea was directly related to the amount that the leaf was allowed to oxidize during its production. It was thought that the more oxidized the leaf, the greater the caffeine content. Therefore, this theory held that black teas had the most caffeine, followed by oolong teas. Since green teas and white teas do not undergo oxidation, they were thought to have relatively no caffeine.

More recent studies have begun to emerge suggesting that the production method is not the only factor that contributes to caffeine content. It is now thought that other factors, such as: the varietal of the tea plant used, the position of the leaf on the plant, weather conditions, picking season and the type of fertilizer used, can all influence the amount of caffeine present. These variables make it very difficult to assign a level of caffeine based on tea family alone. There are simply too many variables for it to be that cut and dry

The tea plant produces caffeine to protect itself from both insects and herbivores. Studies now suggest that the greatest concentration of caffeine is present in the bud of the plant and that caffeine levels decrease as you descend further down the plant. In other words, the younger the leaf, the greater the caffeine content. Since certain white teas, such as Silver Needle, contain only the youngest buds, they in fact, may have some of the highest caffeine levels.

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