At French Creek Tea Co. we believe in the story, culture, and history of tea. It's no secret that tea is one of the oldest beverages in the world. As such, we love the idea of maintaining and encouraging the tradition of tea in our lives today.
All true teas come from the plant Camellia sinensis. Black, green, oolong, white, and pu-ehr teas are all from this plant but differ in taste and color depending on the level of oxidation the leaves have been allowed, as well as the climate and altitude in which the plants are grown. Black teas are fully oxidized, green teas are unoxidized, and oolong teas are partially oxidized. White teas, like green, are unoxidized but the leaves are harvested from a young plant that hasn't opened its leaves yet. This creates a very delicate tea. Pu-ehr tea may go through a moderate oxidation process but its rich, earthy flavor comes from fermentation.
Another category of tea is herbal tea; however, herbal teas and tisanes are not true teas since they do not come from Camellia sinensis but from other herbs, flowers, and fruits. Similarly, red tea is not a true tea, rather it comes from the rooibos plant grown in South Africa. Since this "tea" is also herbal and naturally caffeine-free, it makes a wonderful choice for an evening cup.
With so many different teas, flavor profiles and even herbals, it may be helpful to know how best to prepare them! Black, oolong, and pu-ehr teas are best when steeped in boiling (or slightly below boiling) water for three minutes. Steeping these teas for too long can release a chemical in the tea which causes a bitter flavor. Green and white teas should be steeped below the boiling point for two or three minutes. These teas can be re-steeped several times before losing their flavor. Rooibos and herbals may be steeped in boiling water for five minutes, or to taste. We encourage you to experiment with your steeping times to find your favorite taste!
There is so much to learn about tea and its origins. French Creek Tea Co. has allowed our fascination with tea and the customs surrounding it to exist outside of our own kitchen teacups. We hope you love it as much as we do!