We Brits love our tea, and whether it’s stewed builder’s brew with 3 sugars, or you’re loading up on the antioxidants in green tea, after water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world.
Very little has changed in the experience of brewing tea over the centuries, and it doesn’t need to either. It can be a simple pleasure that is proven to reduce the stress response and aid in recovering from stressful experiences, even helping you get some rest and respite from COVID-19-related anxiety.
For tea aficionados, loose leaf tea is akin to creating a sea of calm in your mind, the daily ceremony part of your self-care and wellbeing.
The beauty of it can lie simply in the process of brewing it, it forces you to slow down, you can’t make tea in a hurry, even if you’re just using a boring standard tea bag. The ritual of drinking tea also helps give you a moment to stop, take a breather, and to drink in its warmth, and feel calm and be more mindful.
With loose leaf tea, the quality of the herbs used is much higher, less processed. You can see all the individual ingredients, which haven’t been processed into almost dust-like constituents.
The more the herbs are cut and processed, the more susceptible the herbs become to degradation and can lead to much shorter shelf life. You can see the whole flowers and spices in loose leaf tea, making it quite beautiful to watch swimming in the hot water as it brews, and it provides a much richer flavour and taste than a teabag.
A guide to some different tea varieties
All tea, no matter how you drink it, comes from the same plant, camellia sinesis, and the different types of tea are from the ways that it is harvested and crafted.
White tea is the lightest, most delicate of teas. It is just dried, and the least processed, meaning it retains the highest levels of antioxidants. It is sweet and grassy, and not at all bitter.
Fully oxidised black tea has the deepest of flavours. The most sought after, hand-crafted leaves are highly prized and have notes of chocolate, caramel, or very floral, but cheap versions can be bitter and lacking depth. Perfect with sweet dishes.
Shortly after being harvested, the tea leaves are steamed or fired at high temperatures, giving us green tea. The flavours are as varied as types of white wine, and the very best is gorgeously smooth and rich, with a £1,000 per kg price tag. Cheap green tea can be bitter.
Somewhere between green and black tea lies oolong. Lighter oolong is green and fruity, while darker variations are more nutty and roasted. Oolong is the most versatile to enjoy with any foods.
Scented or flavoured tea
Teas can be scented with flowery flavours such as jasmine or rose, or with citrusy bergamot oil, such as in Earl Grey. But most commercial tea and fruit teas use flavourings, rather than natural additives, and lack the health benefits.
You would be better off with organic tea blends from our store, to fully reap the stress-relieving benefits of tea.