We recently joined the gals from AVANTCHA™ Tea for an evening of tea and coffee cupping. We already knew there were many comparisons between our two worlds and personally were hugely relieved that we could finally “come out of the closet” and admit that we enjoyed a good cup of tea too.
Did you know that all tea (green, white or black) are from the same plant varietal? Mind blown! The farmers can manipulate the flavors by using different harvesting and processing methods. Many famous tea growing countries have developed their own unique methods for enjoying their national tea consumption, and like coffee, this is all down to the processing methods. Like some other yummy beverages, there are some countries that have patented their tea growing regions to ensure their tea remains unique (for example, Darjeeling).
Similar to coffee, Specialty tea is typically thought of as “loose-leaf” tea, grown in small estates and harvested by hand, produced by skilled artisanal tea makers. However, unlike coffee, each country has its own tea grading system and as such, there is no universal definition of ‘Specialty Tea’.
Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world second only to water, with 25,000 cups of tea are drunk around the world every second – that’s 2.16 billion cups per day! China consumes the most tea each year, but it is Turkey that consumes the most per person, by a long way (7lbs of tea per year person)! Followed by Ireland and the UK. Here in the UAE, we consume 7 million kilograms of tea per year and more than 19,000kg daily.
Much like coffee and wine, the flavour of the tea is affected by agronomy factors; the temperature, climate and soil conditions. Tea grows best in rich, slightly acidic soil with good irrigation. Which is why the best tea is almost always found growing in the mountains, where there is an ideal temperature between 21-29C and an annual rainfall of 150cm-200cm.
The health benefits from drinking tea are numerous, tea significantly aids digestion and is known to boost the metabolism, white tea is packed with antioxidants, which make it great for the skin, hair and to fight the effects of pollution. Green tea contains high levels of polyphenols which reduce inflammation and increase fat burning, that’s right, burn baby burn! The tannins in tea are also thought to act as an anti-inflammatory, helping to soothe the stomach and reduce feelings of nausea and stomach cramps.
Tea contains caffeine which increases energy levels and leads to increased productivity. The caffeine levels in tea are lower than in coffee but tea contains a certain amino acid called L-theanine which slows the absorption of caffeine. This helps to increase focus while offering calming and relaxing effects.
The exact same details we focus on when brewing the perfect cup of coffee are used for tea:
- Quality of the tea leaves
- Quality of the water
- The temperature of the water
- Exactly following the recipe of grams of leaves to MLS of water
- Time the tea leaves and water are brewed
Here Avantcha has suggested some general ratios to follow in order to brew and enjoy a perfect cup:
- White Tea: 2g tea > 200ml water > 80-85 degree > 3-4 min brewing time
- Green Tea: 2g tea > 200ml water > 75-80 degree > 2-3 min brewing time
- Oolong Tea: 2g > 200ml water > 85 degree > 3-4min brewing time
- Black Tea: 2g > 200ml water > 100 degree > 3 min brewing time
- Pu Erh Tea: 2g > 200ml water > 100 degree > 3 min brewing time
- Herbal/Fruit Infusions: 3/4g > 200ml water > 100 degree water > 5-8 min brewing time