Explore the Colorful World of Tea with Zojirushi: 8 Types of Lesser-Known Teas and Tisanes To Enjoy This Winter

At Zojirushi, we’re a little obsessed with tea. Not only does tea boost focus when you need a little pick-me-up, but it can also give you that quiet moment of rest and relaxation when you’re looking to unwind after a long day. Most people may be familiar with black, green, and oolong teas, but there are thousands of different teas out there that are just as delicious and unique in their own ways. Today, we’ll be diving into a few of our favorite lesser-known teas to help you discover new flavors to explore and enjoy. Let’s dive in!

If you’re new to the world of tea, we suggest starting out with our introductory guide to learn about the most popular types of tea first.

What’s the Difference Between Tea and Tisane?

Herbal teas, also known as herbal infusions or tisanes, are made from blends of herbs, spices, and sometimes flowers. Though they are commonly referred to as teas, it’s important to note that herbal teas or tisanes do not contain caffeine, and are not made from the camellia sinensis plant. Herbs like peppermint, chamomile, and ginger are popular ingredients for herbal tea recipes, and even contain medicinal properties that can help with things like upset stomachs or nausea.

Fresh Herb Tea

Consider chamomile tea, for example. Made from the dried leaves and flowers of the chamomile plant, this tisane has a beautiful floral scent with health benefits that range from lowering blood sugar, reducing inflammation, and even helping you fall asleep and relax. 

 

Hibiscus tea, made from the hibiscus plant, is another great example of a flower that can boast impressive health benefits. It was first popularized in Western Africa and South America and is known for its fruity flavor and bright red color. Hibiscus, like most teas, is full of antioxidants, which can promote weight loss, fight bacteria, and help prevent disease. 

Spiced Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea is another non-caffeinated tea that is also bright red in color but is not to be confused with hibiscus tea. Made from a South African Papilionace bush, rooibos tea is described as earthy, sweet, and full of flavor. Many people will enjoy rooibos tea with some milk, as it is naturally sweet and balances well with other flavors.

Honeybush tea is also made from a bush, that, as its name suggests, smells like honey. Processed in a similar way to rooibos, it is a rich and wonderful smelling beverage that has a lot of antioxidants, without caffeine.

Tea Varieties You Should Know

Now that we’ve gone through non-caffeinated herbal teas and tisanes, let’s talk about types of caffeinated teas that you may not be so familiar with, but should be!

Yerba Mate is native to South America and is a member of the holly family. Technically, it’s not a tea because it does not come from the camellia sinensis plant, but it is known for its tea-like features. Known for being a strong stimulant with caffeine levels similar to that of coffee, Yerba Mate brews up strong with an earthy flavor of straw and a touch of sweetness on the finish.

Matcha is a powdered green tea from Japan that is traditionally whisked in water before serving. This tea is made from plants that are grown in the shade, resulting in a deeper green color and more caffeine and l-theanine. Matcha tea is steamed immediately after harvest, preventing the oxidation process, and has an umami flavor that is great for lattes and baking.

Pu-erh tea is a very unique type of Chinese tea made from large, dark leaves that are semi-fermented, so it brews up an inky brown-black color. It has a distinct, full-bodied flavor with a wonderful earthiness, strong aroma, and thick mouthfeel due to the fermentation. It has a fairly high amount of caffeine, so enjoy it when you need a bit of extra energy!

Purple tea is a rare, wild tea produced from a special purple-leaved plant from the Assam region of India, though they are now grown in parts of Africa. You’ll be able to tell a purple tea from others due to its unique purple color, both from the bright dried purple leaves to the purple drink. This tea has less caffeine than others, and has been compared to green teas in flavor, with slightly less bitterness.

The Hot Tea All Winter Long

Stainless Tea Tumbler with Handle SE-KAE48

There’s nothing like warming up to a steaming cup of tea in the winter, whenever and wherever you want it. Our Stainless Tea Tumbler with Handle SE-KAE48, which was designed specifically for enjoying tea, lets you enjoy hot tea in seconds with its dual infuser and strainer for all types of teas. The handle on the infuser makes it easy to remove your steeped tea leaves, and our signature vacuum-insulation technology will keep your beverages hot for hours. Now that you’re a tea expert, what type of tea are you looking forward to brewing next?

Discover tea recipes to create for your Stainless Tea Tumbler with Handle on Zojirushi.com, from our Spiced Rooibos Tea, Fresh Herb Tea, and our Silky Milk Oolong Tea.

Did you discover a new type of tea that you’re looking forward to trying today? Do you already own a Stainless Tea Tumbler with Handle SE-KAE48? Make sure to share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

 

Explore the Colorful World of Tea with Zojirushi: A Guide to Tea Types

Did you know that tea is the second most consumed beverage on earth after water? Tea is a delicious, healthy beverage that comes in many varieties, colors, and forms, and is a delightful pick-me-up for when you need a boost of focus, or when you want to relax and unwind after a long day.

In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the most popular types of tea, how they’re processed, and how to prepare them for optimal flavor. We hope that by the end of this guide, you’ll gain a new appreciation for tea and love it just as much as we do.

What is Tea?

All tea is made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to countries across Asia. It’s been around for thousands of years, with deep roots in China and Japan, but is now grown and enjoyed all across the globe.

It has become a staple in many countries for its many health benefits, from helping prevent heart disease and cancer, aiding in weight loss, and lowering cholesterol levels. With hundreds of varieties and flavors, differences relate to how they are grown, processed, and prepared. Let’s walk through the main categories of tea and how they are processed next.

Different Types of Tea

Loose leaf tea: Loose leaf tea refers to tea leaves that have not been cut or crushed in processing. Because of this, loose leaf tea tends to have more flavor than bagged tea. More often than not, these types of loose leaf teas will also be more aromatic than their bagged counterparts.

White tea: White tea is a premium variety known for its high concentration of antioxidants that can help protect against cancer. White tea is the least processed of all teas, as it’s plucked early in the season from buds are covered with fine white hairs, and the leaves are not oxidized at all. Instead, they are steamed or air-dried immediately after harvest. Some tea producers even roll them into small pearls.

Green tea: Studies have shown that green tea can help boost metabolism, improve skin complexion, and even help improve sleep quality and reduce inflammation. They’re an effective source of theanine, a compound that can help calm your nerves and reduce the effects of stress on your body. Unlike black tea, which is fermented for at least 4 hours before drying, green tea is steamed and then dried very quickly to preserve its fresh, vegetal flavor.

Gyokuro tea: Gyokuro is a type of green tea that we felt deserved its own section due to its truly unique characteristics. It is a Japanese tea that is considered to be of the finest quality. Gyokuro is known as “jade dew,” because it’s made from young leaves plucked before they’ve fully opened. This makes them extremely delicate and flavorful, with high levels of natural caffeine content, and a crisp, refreshing flavor profile that pairs wonderfully with food.

Oolong tea: Oolong is a semi-oxidized tea that is usually processed within 48 hours of picking. Its flavor profile will vary depending on how the leaves are processed and where they were grown. For example, Taiwan tends to produce a smoother style of oolong whereas in China the leaves are rolled more tightly and have more of a bite to them. Oolong can have a range of flavors from floral, fruity, and earthy to flowery and grassy, usually with a thick mouthfeel. Though they are oxidized, they should still taste quite light.

Black tea: Black tea is the most highly processed and heavily oxidized of all teas. It goes through many steps: picking and sorting, withering, rolling, fermenting/oxidizing in a large container (the “wok”), and then drying. The length of time each step takes determines whether it’s a light-colored or dark-colored tea. Black teas are generally very strong in flavor because of their extended oxidation times. They will usually contain about 4% caffeine per cup, which is also higher than other types of teas.

How to prepare the perfect cup of tea

There are many variables to brewing tea correctly, but the most important factors to consider are temperature, type of water, and brew time. For example, using unfiltered water can affect the taste of your tea, while using too hot water can burn the leaves and leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Our Zojirushi water boilers come with four different temperature settings that are ideal for brewing tea. They are as follows:

  • 160°F, ideal for most green teas
  • 175°F, ideal for matcha tea
  • 195°F, ideal for white and oolong teas
  • 208°F, ideal for black teas

From green to black to white and everything in between, there’s a tea out there for everyone! Now that you know about different types of tea and how to prepare them, what are you looking forward to brewing next? Make sure to share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Green Tea with Zojirushi

If you’re a tea lover like us, you’ll know that brewing tea is a true art form. From white, green, black, herbal, and more, there are many different types of teas that have their own unique characteristics. Today, we’ll be diving into all the ways you can brew green tea, and yes there is more than one!

Green Tea 101

Green teas are by far one of the most popular types of tea that are consumed in Japan, and across the world. Originally from China, the main differentiator between green tea and others is that green tea is not oxidized (exposed to air). Tea leaves are either pan-fired or steamed to stop the oxidation process, resulting in either toasted and nutty notes, or clean, vegetal flavors. Because of this, green tea leaves are typically more delicate and require lower water temperatures to avoid burning the leaves.

Zojirushi water boilers are equipped to warm water to different temperatures, starting at 160°F, which is the recommended water temperature for green teas. The exception to this is matcha green tea, which is a powdered green tea that requires thorough whisking before consumption. We recommend preparing matcha with water that is around 175°F.

Water boilers like our Zojirushi VE Hybrid Water Boiler & Warmer CV-JAC40/50 have this temperature as a preset option, so you can easily swap between temperatures at the click of a button.

How to Prepare Different Types of Green Tea

Now, let’s talk about how to brew tea so that it comes out perfectly balanced. Brew for a moment too long, and you’ll end up with a drink that’s overly bitter. Use the wrong temperature, and your tea may taste “burnt”. Here are a couple of factors that will make a difference when brewing tea:

  • Water: Use clean, filtered water, or spring water if available and use the proper water temperature for the type of tea you are brewing. If you do not have a Zojirushi water boiler, boil your water in a separate vessel and wait a few minutes for it to cool. Never brew your tea with boiling water.
  • Timing: Gently, add your green tea sachet or loose leaf tea in a tea strainer to your water and let it steep the appropriate amount of time. Most green tea need about 1 to 2 minutes to develop the flavors. Remove tea completely and enjoy! If you want to enjoy your tea all day remember, use your Zojirushi insulated mugs to keep your beverages hot for hours.

Sencha: Is a Japanese green tea that is popular in Japan. The leaves are harvested only from the tops of the tea bushes which receive the most sunlight. Set your Zojirushi water boiler at 175°F  when brewing sencha and let it steep for 1-2 minutes. A cup of perfectly brewed sencha will be light yellowing green and will have a fresh herbal flavor.  

Gyokuro: This high-quality green tea is full bodied with a rich aroma and a touch of sweetness which is achieved by growing this tea under a shade about 3 weeks before harvesting. Brew at 160°F and let it steep for a 1-1/2 to 2 minutes to enjoy and don’t forget that the leaves can be used up to 3 times!

Matcha: The key to preparing the best cup of matcha is to use water at 175°F and to whisk it rapidly in a zig zag motion. Once you see a thick foam then it’s ready to be enjoyed! Visit our recipe page for more instructions on preparing this and other teas with your Zojirushi water boiler.

Make it Personal

Now that you know the basic guidelines on how to brew your tea, remember that tea is a very personal experience that you can and should change to your liking. Try different steeping times. Maybe you only need to steep for a minute, or maybe you like to let it steep longer. Try different types of tea and notice how they may have different aromas, flavor profiles, and textures.

Do you have your own special way of brewing tea? Let us know by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

Where Do Tea Leaves Come From? Learn How Tea Grows

Do you know what camellia sinensis is? You might have guessed, but it’s the species of evergreen shrub whose leaves and buds are used to produce the tea that we drink every day. You can distinguish the camellia sinensis bush through its small white flowers and bright yellow stamens in the center, which produce a hard green bud containing a single brown seed. Today, we’ll be learning about how these tea leaves are produced, where they come from, and how tea leaves are transformed into the loose-leaf or satchels that we instantly recognize at consumption. Let’s dive in.

Where Do Tea Leaves Come From?

The tea plant originally comes from East Asia, possibly originating from China or India, and much of the world’s tea still comes from those regions. Other countries that produce tea leaves include Kenya, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam, Japan, and Argentina. Origins date back many centuries to the Han dynasty in China, where it was possibly referenced in writing in 59 BC. If left alone, these tea bushes can grow up to a magnificent 30 feet tall, but they are pruned to small bushes so that they can continuously produce more leaves and be easily managed.

How are Tea Plants Harvested?

Today, most of the tea we drink is harvested on tea plantations or tea gardens. Tea bushes take about four years to mature and are then planted on sloping terrain to easily trap water and grow. After about five years, tea plants are finally ready to be harvested. Tea is a very labor-intensive product in which the tea plants are almost always handpicked with care.

How Tea Leaves are Processed

After the tea leaves are harvested, they undergo a drying process to remove all moisture. Then, depending on the type of tea, the dried tea leaves are rolled and fermented, which gives the tea its essential oils and distinctive aromas. The length of the fermentation also determines the type of tea that is produced: green, black, oolong, or others. Then, after being tested by tea tasters, they are blended into different varieties and packaged in bags or loose leaves.

How to Make a Perfect Brew

Now that you know how tea is harvested and processed, you might be wondering how to brew a perfect batch that will bring out the best characteristics of this wonderful beverage. First, make sure that you are sourcing high-quality tea. Good tea leaves should be smooth, light, and sturdy. They shouldn’t crumble in your hands. Another way to distinguish great tea is by taking in its aroma. One of the greatest parts of drinking tea is smelling its distinct aromas, and if you aren’t able to smell anything from it, that may indicate that the tea is old or stale.

Next, use the right temperature water to extract all of the character from your tea. Our water boilers come with different temperature settings to help you brew a wide range of teas. More delicate teas are best brewed at lower temperatures, while green tea is best brewed around 175°F. Herbal or oolong tea should be brewed at 195°F and at 208°. Be careful not to steep your tea for too long! This might make the tea overly bitter. Follow the recommendations that come with your tea.

Lastly, if you want to enjoy your hot tea for hours on end, store your tea in a Zojirushi stainless mug or tumbler to maintain its freshness and temperature.

Did you learn anything new about tea today? Let us know on social media by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

 

 

What is Tea? Everything You Need to Know

Tea may only be thought of as an alternative to coffee in America, but it is a huge part of day-to-day life for the many parts of the rest of the world. In fact, tea is the second-most consumed beverage on the planet, surpassed only by water! The tea world is vast with a storied history that goes back centuries. Let’s dive into what tea actually is, where it comes from, and how to properly enjoy the many benefits of the beverage.

Definition of Tea

Tea is a fragrant beverage extracted from the leaves of the shrub Camellia sinensis and no other beverage can be called “tea” if they aren’t. However, different types of tea leaves are produced by the Camellia sinensis, such as black, green, white, dark, and oolong after it is processed. Another key defining factor of tea is that it carries caffeine. All other “teas” that you might be thinking of that are caffeine-free such as herbal, lemon, mint, or rooibos are actually tisane. In our visual guide to tea leaves, you can see many different types enjoyed in Japan, from green tea, houjicha, matcha, oolong, and more.

Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant native to Asia and thrives in sub-tropical climates with high altitudes and loose soil. It’s found all over the wild and can grow in slopes, flat lands, and lower altitudes. Ancient tea farming methods include hand plucking tea leaves and buds and using bamboo trays to collect them before drying them out. It is said that tea was first discovered in China when the Chinese emperor Shen Nung happened to try an accidental infusion of leaves and boiling water that came from the Camellia sinesis.

Japanese Tea

Tea was first recorded in Japan in the 8th century after being first imported from China. While it was originally a drink for priests and monks only, tea drinking became more popularized in the 12th century after Japan started planting tea in Japan for widespread consumption. The Japanese tea ceremony was born shortly after that, around the 13th and 14th centuries, and in the 18th century, the famous Japanese green tea, sencha, was developed.

In our visual guide to tea leaves, you can see many different types enjoyed in Japan, from green tea, houjicha, matcha, oolong, and more. You will also notice that certain teas are best brewed at specific temperatures to extract the most flavor without becoming too bitter. This ranges from 160-208 °F, and steeping times will differ as well.

Tea in Japanese Culture      

Tea is a major part of Japanese culture, with tea rooms and tea ceremonies dating back to the 15th century. Tea ceremonies are still practiced today, using various utensils and tea wares to prepare and drink matcha in a traditional tearoom with a tatami floor. These ceremonies have varying degrees of formality and authenticity and are a time to provide guests hospitality in a peaceful space detached from everyday life.

Japanese tea gardens are also dedicated spaces for people to quietly reflect on the beauty of nature and the art of living in harmony and detach from the hustle and bustle of a busy world. These gardens are lined with stepping stones called roji, which gives the guest a sense of traveling deep into the mountains.

Tea at Zojirushi

At Zojirushi, tea is also a way of life that is reflected within our products. Our hot water boilers are equipped with four different temperature settings so that you can prepare your tea with precision to pull the perfect brew every time. All of our hot water boilers are designed to be easy to clean, easy to use, and always there for you when you need a cup of tea in hand.

Let us know if you have anything new about tea today by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!