Nutters Tea-riffic Tea Guide

As I stare out my window and take in all of the beautiful colours of Fall, I realize its officially sweater weather!  Which also means hot beverages on chilly, crisp days.  This month we take an in-depth look into one of my mug favourites – tea!  We’ll explore a bit of history, the oxidation process (fun fact: this is a key to the development of tea), the health benefits, and a few extra tidbits sprinkled in just for fun!

The History

Most know, tea has been around for centuries, but it extends well past the British’s popularization in the 1660s and the Boston Tea Party (1773).  There is evidence that shows tea was widespread in 202 BC – 220 AD by the Chinese Han Dynasty, but according to Teabox, tea has been part of the Chinese culture long before the Han Dynasty.  It’s believed that tea was initially discovered sometime between the 30th century BC and the 21st century BC, where tea was used for medicinal purposes.  By 722 BC to 221 BC, the Chinese began to brew the leaves and started to add additional ingredients (ex. ginger, orange peel, etc.), a by 202 BC, tea was a beverage enjoyed by lords and nobleman alike.

Types of Tea & Benefits

Walking down the tea aisle of any grocery store or specialty shop can seem overwhelming.  All of the different types and fragrances of teas, how can you possibly choose?!

Technically speaking, tea is derived from the same plant – Camellia sinensis, but what makes each “True-tea” unique is the growing and oxidization processes used.  And, you’ll be surprised to learn, herbal teas are not classified as a “True-tea,” but due to their health benefits and popularity, we made sure they were on the list:

Green Tea

As mentioned above, green tea comes from the leave and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant.  Green tea is known for its light, almost grassy flavour, and this is because the oxidization and withering processes are not used.

Out of all of the true teas, green tea is the least processed but offers some pretty fantastic health benefits, including:

  • Mental Alertness (due to its caffeine content)
  • Supports brain & heart health
  • Is an ideal tool to support fasting

BREW TIP: For the best, most flavourful green tea, it’s recommended the water temperature be around 150 to 160 F and should only steep for 2-4 minutes.

White Tea

Like green tea, white tea is crafted from the new buds and young leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and goes through minimal processing.  The leaves and buds are steamed right after harvesting (to stop the oxidization processes) and left to dry, leaving behind a light, delicate, fruity flavour.

White tea also has some fantastic health benefits:

  • Helps support the body’s response to inflammation
  • Supports dental health
  • Supports brain health

BREW TIP: For the best, full-bodied white tea, it’s recommended the water temperature be 180 F and should only steep for 4-6 minutes.

Oolong Tea

Oolong is another true tea from the Camellia sinensis plant, but the oxidization processes are a bit different from the ones we’ve already mentioned.  Oolong tea is semi-oxidized (ranging from 10 to 80 percent) and is always produced as a whole-leaf tea, giving Oolong its distinctive flavour, colour, and aroma.

Parallel to white and green tea, oolong tea has terrific health benefits, including:

  • Antioxidant properties
  • Promotes heart health
  • Supports brain health

BREW TIP: For the perfect cup of oolong tea, it’s recommended the water temperature be around 190 F and should only steep for 5-8 minutes.

Pu-erh (Fermented) Tea

Pu-erh tea is truly unique and special.  It’s the only tea on our list that is fermented, providing a deep, rich flavour that most other true-teas can’t offer.  The taste may vary, depending on how long the tea is aged for:

  • Young Raw – is typically aged for less than 2-3 years.
  • Ripe – upwards of 20 years.
  • Aged Raw – can be upwards of 50 years or more.

Just like the other teas on our list, pu-erh offers must-have health benefits:

  • Mental Alertness (due to its caffeine content)
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Supports heart health
  • Supports healthy skin

NOTE: Compared to the research conducted on other true-teas, more is needed on the health benefits of pu-erh tea.

BREW TIP: For the optimal cup of pu-erh tea, it’s recommended the water temperature be around 205 F and should only steep for 3-4 minutes.

Black Tea

Our final true-tea on the list is one of my personal favourites – black tea.  It, too, comes from the Camellia sinensis plant.  Black tea’s deep, dark colour and flavour comes from the longer oxidization and drying processes, which make it perfect for blending, which most are.

Regrettably, black teas have not been the main focus of researchers, therefore more is needed to identify all of the health benefits, but some of the preliminary research indicates black tea may support heart health.

BREW TIP: For an utterly delicious cup of black tea, it’s recommended the water temperature be around 205 F (except for Darjeeling tea, which should be about 185 F) and should steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on your strength preference. 

Herbal Tea

Also known as tisanes, our final tea on the list is not classified as a true tea, but we had to include it due to their benefits and popularity.  Herbal teas are a fusion of herbs, roots, flowers, spices, and other plants brewed the same way a true tea is.  Some of the most popular herbal teas are:

  • Ginger – which is great in assisting with an upset tummy, and helps with inflammation.
  • Chamomile – it a perfect choice to support calmness and healthy sleep habits, along with digestion.
  • Hibiscus – this summer-time refresher is high in antioxidants, plus supports a healthy liver.
  • Mint – another fantastic choice if you’re looking for digestion support.
  • Rooibos – is loaded with antioxidant compounds. It may also support heart and bone health.

BREW TIP: For the perfect cup of herbal tea, it’s recommended the water temperature be around 212 F and should be steep for at least 7-9 minutes. 

There you have it—our tea-riffic tea guide.  If you need more information about the teas we carry (or general information), stop into your local Nutters Everyday Naturals, and speak with an Associate.  They’d be happy to share more detail and maybe even their favourite tea!

Happy Brewing!



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