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TEA 101

What is tea?

All tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, an evergreen bush that thrives in subtropical climates. There are over 15,000 types of tea in the world. The largest growers are China and India, then Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Nepal, Australia, Argentina and Kenya.

All tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Any infusion not made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis is called a tisane or a herbal tea and isn’t classified as tea.

What is in tea?

The four primary components of brewed tea (also called the "liquor") are:
1. Polyphenols - these antioxidants provide the "briskness" or astringency in the mouth and are the components that also carry most of the health benefits of tea, such as protecting the body against cellular damage.
2. Essential Oils - these provide flavoured tea's delicious aromas and flavours
3. Caffeine - found naturally in coffee, chocolate, tea and Yerba Mate, caffeine provides tea's natural energy boost.
4. L-Theanine – these amino acids enhance calm while boosting memory and concentration.

Teas are divided into 6 main categories that are differentiated by how much the leaves are oxidised.

White tea is the rarest and least oxidised of all teas, traditionally harvested by hand only a few days each year and made from the tender, nutrient-rich bud from the tip of the plant. It brews a pale, yellow colour and has a sweet, gentle, honey or nectar-like flavour.

Green tea is made from unoxidised leaves that are heated after picking to destroy the enzymes that cause oxidation. In China the leaves are roasted or pan-fired; in Japan, the leaves are steamed at a high temperature. The Chinese style of processing brings out a smooth, mellow, aromatic flavourwhile the steaming yields a bold, deep vegetable or grassy green tea flavour common in Japanese teas.

Oolong tea is semi-oxidised and expresses characteristics in between green and black teas (semi-oxidised means that it is oxidised to a point between green and black). The tea leaves are usually brownish in colour, large in appearance and produce a very aromatic brew. Due to their smooth, complex flavours, oolong teas are often a connoisseur’s favourite.

Black tea leaves are withered, then rolled, broken or cut to provoke oxidation, causing the colour to change from green to brown. The flavour of black tea differs greatly, ranging from light and flowery, malty or spicy to nutty, depending on the origin and manufacturing process.

Yellow tea is a rare variety of Chinese tea and its processing is similar to that of green tea. The tea is made from covering lightly withered green tea leaves with mats to allow only a small amount of oxidation to occur. When brewed, the pale yellow-green tea has a delicate, honey-like sweetness with a fresh aftertaste.

Pu-erh tea belongs to the dark teas and is similar to black tea. Unlike other teas, Pu-erh improves with age like fine wine. The leaves are withered, pan-fired, rolled and kneaded, then sun-dried. After this, the leaves are steamed and compressed, and finally allowed to mature in a carefully controlled environment for a year or more depending on the vintage. Pu-erh tea develops a mature, complex, earthy flavour and aroma. As the tea ages, the sweeter and smoother it becomes. When brewed, this tea can be pale yellow, golden, red or dark brown.

Herbal Tisanes

All teas come from plant “Camellia Sinensis”. Any blend that is made up of ingredients from other plants are considered herbal infusions or “tisanes”.

Herbal blends are made from the dried leaves, stems, roots, seeds, flowers and barks of many different plants, each of which offers an individual benefit. For example, Chamomile flowers, Peppermint, Valerian Root, Rooibos and Yerba Maté are considered herbal infusions as they do not come from the actual tea plant.

The advantage of herbal infusions is that they are generally 100% caffeine free (except for Yerba Maté) making them an excellent evening choice or for people with caffeine-sensitivities.

Yerba Maté is deemed “The Drink of the Gods”, consumed widely in South America and has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy. Maté has a robust, earthy flavour that is slightly bitter due to the high tannin content of the leaves. Unlike other herbal infusions, Maté contains caffeine known as “matteine”. It is responsible for Yerba Maté’s uplifting energy and should not be consumed by those who avoid caffeine.

Rooibos is a South African bush plant consisting of tiny, flat needles that are harvested, wet, bruised, oxidised and dried in the sun. Rooibos has a naturally sweet, full-bodied flavour, deep aroma and malty taste. You can also get green rooibos, which is not as oxidised and has a lighter, fresher flavour. Try our Green Rooibos for a refreshing, caffeine free blend.

Matcha

Matcha is a green tea made from premium Gyokuro leaves that are ground into a fine powder.

Matcha is specially grown and processed in certain regions in Japan. The tea bushes grow shaded by bamboo leaves for 2-4 weeks before harvesting, increasing the level of chlorophyll in the leaves, making Matcha particularly high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Matcha has a strong, vegetal taste with a sweet aftertaste.

Drinking Matcha has multiple health benefits as it is known as an antioxidant powerhouse that may repair cellular damage and contains a high level of caffeine that provides a great energy boost. Matcha also contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that enhances calm while boosting memory and concentration.

There are three grades of Matcha, Ceremonial, Culinary and Sencha powder. Ceremonial grade Matcha is the highest quality grade available and is delicate and vibrant green. Culinary grade Matcha is designed to be mixed into other ingredients and made to be slightly bitter in taste to combine well with many food and drink recipes. Sencha powder is the lowest grade of Matcha as it’s made with older Sencha tea leaves, stems and veins and the tea leaves have been exposed to sunlight for more time than the fine leaves of high quality Matcha. Sencha powder has an astringent, nutty/fruity taste.

How To Make Pure Matcha

  • Use matcha from Japan labeled ‘Ceremonial’ as this is the highest grade of Matcha. Ensure the powder is a vibrant, bright green colour with a fresh, grassy smell.
  • The traditional ceramic bowl (Chawaan), bamboo ladle and bamboo whisk are essential elements in making the perfect Matcha the traditional way, but you can also use an Aerolatte whisk.
  • Prevent clumps of powder by pressing it into a sieve or tea strainer, ensuring your tea retains a smooth consistency.
  • Put 1.5 ladlefuls (or 1 teaspoon) of Matcha powder into the bowl, add a small amount of cold water and whisk into a smooth paste.
  • Add 60-70ml of hot water and whisk in a “W” shape (if using a bamboo whisk).
  • Serve immediately and drink straight from the bowl for a body and mind supercharge.

Tea Brewing Instructions & Caffeine Level Chart

Most important facts when brewing tea:

  • Weight of tea (small or large measure)
  • Water temperature
  • Brewing time

White, green, oolong and black tea contain caffeine. The caffeine content of tea leaves is affected by factors surrounding the growth and environment of the leaves.

TEA

BREWING TIME

MEASURE

WATER

CAFFEINE LEVEL

WHITE TEA

2-3 minutes

2 teaspoons

70'-85’C

1/10

GREEN TEA

2-3 minutes

1 teaspoon

70'-85’C

2/10

OOLONG TEA

3-4 minutes

1 teaspoon

90’-100'C

3/10

BLACK & PU-ERH TEA

3-4 minutes

1 teaspoon

90’-100'C

4/10

YERBA MATE

3-4 minutes

2 teaspoons

90’-100'C

5/10

ROOIBOS

3-4 minutes

2 teaspoons

90’-100'C

0/10

HERBAL

3-4 minutes

2 teaspoons

90’-100'C

0/10

KIDS

3-4 minutes

2 teaspoons

90’-100'C

0/10

BENEFICIAL

3-4 minutes

2 teaspoons

90’-100'C

0/10

MATCHA

30 seconds

1 teaspoon

70’C - 85’C

4/10

For serving suggestions, please refer to each tea individually on their product page.

Coffee has the caffeine content of 6/6 without the calming effect of L-Theanine and other beneficial antioxidants.

Decaffeinated Tea

Decaffeinating is the act of removing caffeine from coffee beans, cocoa, tea leaves and other caffeine-containing materials. Despite the removal of most caffeine, decaffeinated drinks still have around 1-2% of the original caffeine remaining in them, and research has found that certain decaffeinated coffee drinks contain around 20% of the original caffeine (statistics sourced from Kencaf here). Always choose herbal infusions when opting for a completely caffeine-free blend. However, note that Yerba Maté is the only herbal tea which contains caffeine.

How to make Amanzi Iced Tea

  • Add double the amount of loose-leaf tea to the Amanzi Tea Maker and boil the kettle (See above chart for brewing instructions). Add water to the Tea Maker, this will create a tea concentrate.
  • Fill a large cup with ice.
  • Pour the brewed tea over the ice, allowing it to melt and dilute the concentrate to a perfect, instantly chilled iced tea.

Health Benefits of Tea

Tea has been said to promote the following health benefits among others:

White Tea

White tea is considered the healthiest of all teas and contains more active antioxidants than green tea. Benefits may include:

  • anti-ageing, antibacterial and antiviral properties, may be effective in relieving stress

Green Tea

Drinking green tea has multiple health benefits. The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols which function as a powerful anti-oxidant that may repair cellular damage and lowers cholesterol. Benefits may include:

  • fat burning, boost in metabolic rate, high in antioxidants, catechins in green tea kill bacteria, may reduce blood sugar levels, may lower cholesterol

Oolong Tea

Drinking oolong tea has the combined health benefits of both green and black tea, some may include:

  • improving digestion, boosting the metabolic rate, may lower cholesterol, curbing cravings

Black Tea

Black tea has multiple health benefits and is rich in the antioxidant known as polyphenols, which may reduce inflammation. Benefits may include:

  • lowering blood pressure, reducing the clotting of arteries, repairing cellular damage

Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh tea has multiple health benefits, some may include:

  • fat burning, aiding digestion, easing stomach upsets, lowering cholesterol, reducing sugar levels

Yellow Tea

Yellow tea is high in antioxidants as a result of the light processing methods. It has similar health benefits of green tea but with a smoother palate, meaning it is easier on the stomach. Benefits may include:

  • fat burning, improving digestion, lowering cholesterol, may be beneficial for the kidney, lungs and heart

Herbal Tisane

The advantage of herbal infusions is that they are generally 100% caffeine free (except for Yerba Maté) making them an excellent evening choice or for people with caffeine-sensitivities. Most are drunk for their cleansing, calming and aromaticqualities. Benefits may include:

  • supporting hydration, may help relax and relieve stress, may assist in detoxification

Yerba Maté

Maté has gained popularity for its high antioxidant content, wide spectrum of healthy vitamins and minerals, and its natural ability to boost energy. Benefits may include:

  • fat burning, improving mood, may ease the mind and body

Rooibos Tisane

Rooibos is prized for its high antioxidant content, which is similar to green tea. It contains high levels of anti-ageing properties and may be recommended for allergies, headaches, anxiety and insomnia. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free. Benefits may include:

  • reducing heart disease, supporting the immune system, improving overall health

The Best Way to Store Tea & Make it Last Longer

To ensure you get the most out of every purchase of your delicate loose-leaf tea, store it in a cool and dark place, sealed in an airtight container, and consume within 1 year of purchase.

If the tea is not properly stored, the leaves will be affected by light and oxygen which will make them lose their flavour and aroma faster. They can also absorb strong odours surrounding them, effecting their taste.

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