A Short And Sweet Beginners Guide To Tea!
If your like me, having a beginners guide to tea would be very beneficial to you.
You may also want to visit our Tea Starter Set Review there is a great review of a beginners tea brewing set.
I'm one of those people that is very organized and likes to have things set up for them. It just makes like easier doesn't it?
I realize that learning about all the different aspects of this wonderful leaf can be a very daunting task, so I'm going to help you learn more efficiently! Follow this guide (maybe even print it out if you need) and within no time you'll have everything memorized and be an expert in the field!
A Little Background
If you don't know by now, tea only comes from one plant. It all comes from the camellia senensis, and the only difference between the main varieties(White, Green, Black, Oolong) is the way in which they are prepared. The only one which comes from a different plant is Rooibos, and also herbal & infused varieties.
If you see people trying to claim that their product is a "miracle" tea that will help you lose hundreds of pounds, please don't be fooled. It can do so-called "miraculous" things with your body, and it can rev up your metabolism a bit to help you burn fat, but you won't lose hundreds of pounds.
Realizing people have different tastes, obviously everybody won't like every flavor out there. If you are a coffee drinker presently and are looking for a healthier drink, I would recommend trying out some darker varieties, perhaps black or a dark oolong.
If you love dark tasting drinks like coffee, and suddenly switch to a lighter leaf like green or white, you may be in for a surprise. Some people like big changes like that, but I would say the majority like to make the switch in a subtle way. I would suggest gradually moving down the ladder to a lighter flavor.
Another benefit of darker, or more processed leaves, is that they aren't as delicate as lighter ones such as green or white and can therefore withstand higher water temperatures.
Also, if you don't enjoy the taste of some of the major kinds (black, green, white, Oolong) you can still look to herbals for drinking pleasure. It comes in all flavors and contain ingredients which help to cure all types of different things.
Herbals are a wonderful resource for tea-lovers, and even those who don't enjoy the taste of tea. There are dozens of different kinds, each with its own unique flavor and health benefit. Best of all, most of them contain little or no caffeine at all! Herbal infusions are great for relieving specific symptoms, such as headaches, upset stomach, tension, mental clarity, or fatigue. There is at least 1 type of herb for almost every ailment known to man! Of course, a lot of different kinds available also have "overall" healing effects as well.
When it comes to taste, brewing is probably the most important part. If you have poorly brewed your product, it WILL NOT taste like it's supposed to. Just remember - the darker the leaf, the hotter the water must be. Blacks should have boiling hot water, but when you get into greens or whites it should only be around 180 degrees.
You might think that it takes water a few minutes to get down to 180 degrees, but surprisingly it only takes about 30 seconds or so. This was my mistake when I first learned how to brew. The water was too cold and therefore didn't open up the leaves enough, leaving me with a weak flavor. However, I fixed that problem and now I can brew a wonderful cuppa!
Of course, everybody's taste is different and you'll have to experiment to see what you like best.
If you're drinking it merely for the a particular health benefit (or all of the dozens of them combined perhaps) I would suggest either green or white.
The reason I would suggest them is because since they are the purest type of tea available, undergoing almost no oxidation, the antioxidants and healthy nutrients found in them are able to stay in them better than the darker types. There isn't a HUGE difference per cup, but after years of drinking it the benefits start to add up.
Specific Health Problems
Although most people look to it for overall health benefits, there are still many who look to herbals for specific health problems. There are several dozen different health problems that certain herbs can benefit or sometimes even cure. They can cure or alleviate digestive problems, strengthen the heart, help allergy symptoms, relax you, energize you, and even help things such as nerve disorders. I can't be a doctor for you, but if your looking for an herb to help cure a certain problem you have, feel free to e-mail me and I'll help you find one. However, always check with your doctor before taking any type of herb.
Tea-Bags or Loose-leaf?
Although I myself prefer loose leaf better than bagged, I think I would suggest beginners try out some tea bags to start off. They will be better to assimilate the taste and find out if they like it or not. Also, since it's already bagged for you, the only thing a beginner would need is water. Just put a bag of it in water, pour water over it, and your good to go! Try out some different flavors of the bagged version first, then eventually move on to loose leaves.
Where Do You Buy It?
Buying tea has literally never been easier. You can get different varieties at the supermarket (which I don't recommend). If you insist on buying it locally, for whatever personal reasons, at least get yourself to a local herb shop or some kind of health-food store which have them as well. Regular supermarket stores usually carry only the mass produced stuff, and we all know thats NO GOOD!
The best option is to buy it online from well known companies, such as the ones I link to in this website.
A Great Package For Beginners!
If you want an "all-in-one package" look no further than the starting set from Adagio.com. For only $19 you can get a small book which talks about tea, a very unique pot to infuse your leaves in (and extremely easy to use!), and 4 different flavors of any one type (Black, Green, Oolong, White, Flavored, or Herbal) that come in 1 oz. containers! I don't know about you, but to me I think thats a great deal. This combo was my starting package, and I would recommend it to anybody!
Take a look at the most popular beginners tea set on the internet!