ALL About Our Teas
Tea lovers who don't like matcha?! What's happening!??
Well, we find its taste is TOO distinctive, and its price eye-watering. However, it wakes you up without the caffeine shakes from coffee and has loads of antioxidants. Which led us ask:
What alternatives are out there? Are there any options that comes close? YES, yes there are.
For the antioxidants: Matcha is primarily popular because it is a superfood, packed with antioxidants, and you consume the actual leaf so nothing is lost. That’s where Moringa comes in: it has MORE antioxidants than matcha (an ORAC score of ~1576 compared to matcha’s ~1384) and can also be consumed as a powder where you are drinking in the actual leaf just like matcha.
All of our teas (not just Moringa) are full of antioxidants, that’s why we’ve chosen them. Did you know milk may prevent the absorption of antioxidants? A number of studies have shown that milk reduces the absorption of polyphenols and blocked their antioxidant effects. Puts a different perspective on that matcha latte, right?! Knowing this, all our teas are chosen and of high enough quality that they don't require milk, they are delicious without! (The same can't be said for all teas and for most people neither for matcha.)
Here are the guideline ORAC levels for our teas (1g of dry tea brewed in 8oz of hot water)
- Red Rooibos: ~610
- Green Rooibos: ~1200
- Honeybush: ~2818
- Tulsi Holy Basil: ~610
- Chamomile: ~1000
- Yerba Mate: ~1704
- Moringa: ~1576
- Purple Tea: ~1384
For a caffeine boost specifically: Matcha is most commonly used as a coffee replacement, as it doesn't cause the shakes and spikes but does give a long-lasting energy boost. We offer three great alternatives for your morning pick-me-up:
- Yerba Mate, caffeine level: 85mg/8 fl oz (an 8oz cup of coffee has 95mg)
- Purple Tea, from Kenya, caffeine level: 55mg/8 fl oz
- Moringa, caffeine level: 0mg/8 fl oz...wait, what?! Yes, it has no caffeine, but still provides an energy boost that lasts through the day and also aids concentration. Ideal if you are avoiding caffeine but still feel tired!
For evening teas (caffeine-free): These are all beautiful, antioxidant-rich alternatives that are all commonly used to cause drowsiness and aid sleep.
- Rooibos (both green and red)
- Tulsi Holy Basil
BREWING OUR TEAS
The difference between a great cup of tea and something that is best for watering plants is down to three key factors: time, temperature and quantity. Always make sure your tea doesn't over- or under-brew, that your water is the right temperature (some teas taste best in boiling water, whereas others will burn), and that you have used enough tea (to your taste!).
Also, all of our teas are loose leaf. Loose leaf tastes much better (as it is higher quality than the dust packed into teabags) and is far safer than teabags. Teabags are often coated in nasty chemicals and the leaves themselves may have dust and residue on them. Loose leaf, unlike teabags, can be washed (quickly under the faucet will do it) just as you would with fruit and vegetables. Tastes better and safer? Yes please!
All of our tea types have slightly different requirements to creating the perfect brew. Here are the specifics:
How to Brew Rooibos and Honeybush: Steep 1tsp in 8oz of freshly boiled water (212F) for 5-7 minutes. If you want a stronger flavor, add another teaspoon of leaves and steep for 5 minutes. (Steeping longer won't make it bitter, but can result in a slightly metallic flavor.) For iced tea, follow the same steps per tea, however triple the quantity of tea used and double the water. Let it steep for at least twenty minutes, possibly overnight. Then put in the fridge, or pour directly over ice. Note that, as with all our teas, and antioxidants tend to disappear after 3-4 hours of brewing, so be careful!
How to Brew Tulsi Holy Basil: Steep 1tsp in 8oz of recently boiled water (200F) for 5-8 minutes (pouring boiling water will burn the leaves). If you want a stronger flavor, add another teaspoon of leaves and steep for 5-6 minutes. To get the full antioxidant hit, ensure it steeps for minimum 5 minutes. For iced tea, follow the same steps per tea, however triple the quantity of tea used and double the water. Let it steep for at least twenty minutes, possibly overnight. Then put in the fridge, or pour directly over ice. Note that, as with all our teas, and antioxidants tend to disappear after 3-4 hours of brewing, so be careful!
How to Brew Moringa: Stir or whisk 1tsp of powder into 8oz freshly boiled water (212F) and it's ready to drink! If you want a stronger flavor, add another half teaspoon of powder. It can also be added straight to your smoothies or water bottle. For iced tea, ollow the same steps as for hot moringa, however triple the quantity of tea used and double the water. Let it brew for at least twenty minutes before putting it in the fridge, or pouring directly over ice. Note that, as with all our teas, and antioxidants tend to disappear after 3-4 hours of brewing, so be careful!
How to Brew Chamomile: Steep 1tsp in 8oz of freshly boiled water (212F) for 5 minutes. If you want a stronger flavor, add another teaspoon of leaves and steep for 2-3 minutes. (Steeping longer, surprisingly, doesn't enhance the flavor and instead results in a slightly bitter brew.) For iced tea, follow the same steps, however triple the quantity of tea used and double the water. Let it steep for at least twenty minutes, possibly overnight. Then put in the fridge, or pour directly over ice. Note that, as with all our teas, and antioxidants tend to disappear after 3-4 hours of brewing, so be careful!
How to Brew Mate: Pour a small splash of cold water over 1-2tsp, just enough to completely wet the leaves. Then steep in 8oz of water that has just started simmering (100-170F, never use boiling water!) for 2-3 minutes. (Using boiling water will burn the fragile leaves, destroying their nutrients and giving them a bitter taste). Note that this is *not* the traditional way of preparing mate, but is far more practical. ;-) For iced mate, follow the same steps per tea, however triple the quantity of tea used and double the water. Let it steep for at least twenty minutes, possibly overnight. Then put in the fridge, or pour directly over ice. Note that, as with all our teas, and antioxidants tend to disappear after 3-4 hours of brewing, so be careful!
How to Brew Purple Tea: Rinse 1tsp of leaves with water that has just started simmering, discard the rinse water. This 'wakes up' the leaves and removes small particles that can make it bitter. Then pour over 8oz of 160F water and steep for 2-3 minutes. (Using boiling water will burn the delicate leaves and destroy their health benefits; brewing for too long will result in a very bitter drink. If you want a stronger flavor, use more leaves and steep for the same or slightly less time.) For iced tea, follow the same steps per tea, however triple the quantity of tea used and double the water. Let it steep for at least twenty minutes, possibly overnight. Then put in the fridge, or pour directly over ice. Note that, as with all our teas, and antioxidants tend to disappear after 3-4 hours of brewing, so be careful!
SOURCING OUR TEAS
Our teas are carefully sourced from responsible suppliers who are dedicated to providing a great product without harming the world in the process.Where possible we go organic, and the ingredients used in our blends are all-natural and free from artificial flavorings and colors.
Also, for the tea purists out there: speaking correctly, we sell ‘tisanes’, which is dried leaves steeped in hot water. To be a true ‘tea’, the leaves must be from the Camellia Sinensis plant.We are massive (pure) tea enthusiasts too, and travel with white teas, oolongs, yellow teas, black teas and pu’erhs (fewer green teas for our own tastes) as well as rooiboses, yerbas etc. like the ones you can see on this site. We do sell one true ‘tea’ however, our Purple Tea – read all about it below.
In the end, though, we are happy to lump all of our products into the ‘tea’ category – they still taste delicious whatever they are called!
Rooibos & Honeybush:
Rooibos production started around 1900, going commercial in the 1930s. Rooibos has a rich, distinctive taste, and is only grown in a 3000 square-mile area in the Cedarburg Mountains near Cape Town, South Africa.
Rooibos (Rooibush, African Red Tea, Red Bush or Red Tea) is not from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) but (unsurprisingly) is a bush, and so contains very few tannins, so no need to worry about bitterness from an extended steeping.
Post harvest, the green rooibos needles turn a deep red during the oxidation process, and brings another level of richness to a brew. For those interested in a different lighter flavor with double the amount of antioxidants, try our organic green rooibos (it is steamed immediately upon harvest, so doesn't oxidize at all during processing). The final process for both involves spreading the leaves out to be sun-dried.
Honeybush has a similar reddish appearance to red rooibos (albeit a little brighter), and is a botanical cousin of rooibos, similarly grown in South Africa. Its flavour is a beautiful honey-like rich sweetness.
If you haven’t tried honeybush, order a sample if not a whole bag! Rooibos, green rooibos and honeybush all contain a variety of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They contain no caffeine and are calorie free, so can be drunk all day long and into the evening when caffeinated teas and coffees are best left behind.
- Country of Origin: South Africa
- Grade: Choice Grade #1
- Altitude: 1500 - 2500 ft. above sea level
- Manufacture Type: Fermentation turns the leaves from green to deep red and gives a slightly sweet note
Tulsi Holy Basil:
Holy basil (tulsi, tulasi or tulsiis) is, shockingly, a type of basil, but when dried and brewed does not taste anything like the basil you are imagining. The flavour is rich, warm, herbaceous and with a light spice and sweetness. The powerful flavour has hallmarks of the menthol effect of a strong mint tea with notes of peppermint, clove, or lemon.
It is among our collection of teas due to its antioxidant content, and being caffeine free, is an option for those wanting a rich flavourful brew in the evening and night. Often alternatives to black tea and coffee are more gently flavored, so this is also a perfect alternative for that morning decaf wake-up you might be craving, for which it is most definitely a strong and powerful flavor.
The Tulsi used in our teas is a blend of Rama (or green) tulsi, and Krishna (or purple) tulsi. Tulsi has a long history in its native place of the Indian subcontinent, being considered a sacred plant by Hindus. It is often planted around Hindu shrines and around the home and is used extensively in Ayurvedic traditional medicine across hundreds of different remedies.
We discovered it ourselves during an extended visit to Kerala, India, where it is commonplace and drunk regularly at all times of the day.
Moringa is a rather large tree native to North India and is one of the most remarkable teas we have discovered: It is super rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and nutrients, and is our only tea sold in powdered form.
This means that you consume the ENTIRE leaf, not just an infusion from the leaves, so you get all the moringa goodness.
If has a vegetal, spinach-like flavor similar to matcha, but without matcha’s bitterness, and is caffeine-free. However, it gives a natural, all-day energy boost and is used to feel energetic and focused.
Chamomile’s sweet yellow flowers have been infused as a drink for millennia by those seeking its calming effects.Its name comes from the Greek word chamaimelon, meaning "ground apple", due to its sweet, gentle smell. There are several varieties and countries of origin of Chamomilla - sometimes referred to as bachelor buttons because of the shape of the flower heads - but the best quality comes from Egypt.
The sandy loam and nutrients from the Nile create perfect growing conditions. Chamomile flowers have a yellow center and white petals - they almost look like a daisy.
Chamomile can be made into a pleasant aromatic tea which is slightly bitter with a fruity flavor. It is often sipped for relief of health problems ranging from toothache to indigestion to nervousness.
Chamomile has also been noted as beneficial for soothing headaches and is a natural relaxing herb known to assist the restless and those suffering from insomnia. It is also popular as a sleep aid due to its natural properties, which promote restfulness and drowsiness.
Chamomile is not recommended for pregnant, possibly pregnant, and nursing mothers.
- Country of Origin: Egypt
- Grade: 1st Grade
- Altitude: 1 – 500 feet above sea level
- Manufacture Type: Field grown, sun dried
Mate is made from a cousin of the Holly tree (Ilex paraguariensis) and is native to the subtropical highlands of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. The majority of the world's Yerba Mate is consumed in these countries.
However, in recent years, the popularity of Yerba Mate has finally begun to take hold around the world as an alternative to tea and coffee.
It is known as a coffee replacement due to its high caffeine content, and is traditionally consumed via a bombilla (a hollowed-out gourd with a sieve-like straw). The drink is made by brewing the dry roasted leaves of the tree, which are processed somewhat like tea leaves.
The tips of the branches are cut just before the leaves reach full growth and the leaves are steamed and dried (in fired mate the leaves are dried over fires). The dried leaves are sifted and allowed to age in order to enhance the flavor of the mate.
Technically, ‘yerba mate’ is the tree and ‘mate’ is the drink, however we like including ‘yerba’ in the name so it is easier to find and recognise!
- Country of Origin: Brazil
- Grade: 1st Grade
- Altitude: 4800 - 7600 feet above sea level
- Manufacture Type: Traditional, Orthodox, CTC (Cut, Torn and Curled)
Purple tea is one of the big new players in the world of tea, due to its high antioxidant and caffeine levels, and its hefty dose of anthocyanins due to its purple hue. It is fruity with overtones of black plum and a mildly woody nose. The liquor exhibits a light amber-purple color. A unique tea!
Purple Tea is only grown in Kenya and is from a new type of tea, the Camellia Sinensis Assamica, var. TRFK 306/1. It is our only true ‘tea’ that we sell. Although technically classed as a green tea, its antioxidant levels are off the chart, with 1.5x more than green or black teas. The cultivar is amazing!
It is grown exclusively in Kenya, and our Purple Tea is grown by the wonderful people at Emrok in Nandi County in Kenya's Rift Valley. Emrok’s tea gardens cover 1,000 acres at an altitude of 2,000 meters. The cold climate and volcanic soil is favorable for tea growing and accounts for the excellent quality of this gorgeous tea.
Emrok's Purple tea was featured in Life Extension magazine in 2018. Check it out to learn a lot more!
Why the premium price? Well, apart from being a brand new tea varietal taking the world by storm, developed and grown uniquely in Kenya...: All Emrok Tea is 100% pesticide free, and they are Rainforest Alliance (SAN) certified, ISO 22000 certified, participants in the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), members of the Tea Board of Kenya, and Kenya Board of Standards (KEBS) approved. Additionally, our tea importer has exclusive access to provide this wonderful Purple tea from 'Emrok'.
- Country of Origin: Kenya
- Grade: 1st Grade
- Altitude: 6500 feet above sea level
- Manufacture Type: Traditional (Green Tea Method)