Categorieën

  • GROENE THEE
  • GELE THEE
  • WITTE THEE
  • OOLONG THEE
  • RAUWE PU'ER THEE
  • ZWARTE THEE
  • RIJPE PU'ER THEE
  • THEEPAKKET
  • THEEPOTTEN
  • THEE KOPJES
  • THEE DIERTJES
  • THEE BEWAARPOT
  • KAMJOVE THEEPOTTEN
  • THEE ZETBORDEN
  • THEELADEN
  • THEE CEREMONIE
What is Tea?
 
Tea is an aromatic beverage. It is commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the tea plant - Camellia sinensis. Depending on how the plant material is handled, the flavor and color of the drink varies widely. After water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world.
 
Some people also refer to beverages made with other plants as teas. Technically that is incorrect. Unless the drink contains Camellia sinensis, it can not be named name. The term "drug tea /herbal tea" usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs. The name drug tea origins in ancient Chinese doctors’ mind: all plants can be used for medical functional. However today the colloquial English does not make a distinction between them.
Now, let’s find out “what is Camellia sinensis?” It's an evergreen plant growing mainly in tropical and subtropical climates. Some varieties can also tolerate marine climates and are cultivated as far north as Cornwall in the United Kingdom even Perthshire in Scotland etc.
Tea plants are propagated from seeds and cuttings. They need 4 to 12 years for bearing seeds. They need three years before they are ready for harvesting. In addition to a zone 8 climate or warmer, tea plants require at least 127cm of rainfall a year.They also prefer acidic soils. Many high-quality tea plants are cultivated at elevations above 1500 m sea level.  A high altitude makes the plants grow slower resulting in a better flavour.
Nowadays, three principal varieties are used: Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, Camellia sinensis var. assamica and Camellia sinensis var. pubilimba.
  • Camellia sinensis var. sinensis is used for most Chinese, Formosan and Japanese teas.
  • Camellia sinensis var. assamica used in Pu’er and most Indian teas (but not Darjeeling)
  • Camellia sinensis var. pubilimba”.
Within these botanical varieties, many strains and modern clonal varieties are known. Leaf size is the chief criterion for the classification of tea plants. We classify three primary groups: Assam type(big), Cambodian type(medium) and China type(small).
Origin of the Different Tea Names
 
The word tea comes from the Chinese language and in Mandarin it's called “Chá” (image on the left = Chinese character for “Chá”).There is a word for tea in most languages.
In 1610 black tea, was brought to Europe by Dutch traders for the first time. The Dutch traders discovered tea by contact with Chinese traders in Java. These chinese traders came from the southern port of Xia Men (in Fu Jian Province of China). In their dialect the word for Chá is Te (pronounced like tay/day). Most European countries, except Portugal and Poland, imported their first tea from the Dutch. together with the tea, they took over the name.
Therefore the word for tea is similar in most European languages.
Other parts of the world came in touch with tea through overland trade. Caravans brought their goods along the silk road. This road leads through Mongolia, the Slavic-Indian area and Arabia. In those countries the word for tea is very similar to the Chinese “Cha”.
Chinese Tea Categories
 
There are fifteen major tea-producing provinces in mainland China. Taiwan also produces tea. Chinese teas are generally divided into 6 major types, mainly according to the method of production. These types are: green tea, black tea, Oolong tea, white tea, yellow tea and dark tea.
These major categories can be completed by derivated category scented tea and drug tea(not made from camillia sinsensis).

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Green tea:  oldest type of tea in the world, fresh, not fermented
Check out our Bi Luo Chun, Xi Hu Long Jing


Yellow tea:  easy to be confused with green tea, slightly fermented
Check out our Jun Shan Yin Zhen, Huo Shan Huang Ya, Huo Shan wild yellow tea


White tea:  the most natural process - sun-dried, can be aged, mildly fermented
Check out our Fu Ding white tea




Oolong tea:  in between of green tea & black tea, semi-fermented
Check out our Tie Guan Yin, Da Hong Pao


Black tea:  origin of western tea, mellow, fully fermented
Check out our Jin Jun Mei, Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, Qi Hong, Dian Hong


Dark tea:  mostly developed in broader area, can be aged, post-fermented
Check out our Ripe Pu’er tea, Xiao Qing Gan

In the beginning of our research, we were really confused by the information available on the internet.
Lots of “experts” spread their fancy theories of Chinese teas on internet. We used our engineering background to build up a correct synthesis of the teaknowledge. This was only possible becease we could count on our network of teaspecialists and our knowledge of the Chinese language.
Guess what, we found quite a number of “bugs” in all those fancy theories.
  1. A lot of people consider “An Ji white tea” as a kind of white tea. That is very wrong! “An Ji white tea” is from a special varietal tea tree which is “low temperature sensitive” type. In spring, this kind of tea tree gives white buds because it’s lack of Chlorophyll at the time; after spring, the white buds grow back into green. So, Chinese people developed this green tea by harvesting new buds in its “albino” period, and named it “white” by its new leaves’ color.
  2. According to the first “bug”, a big misunderstanding seems easy to be solved now. In a few kinds of green tea’s process, there is a production step - “steaming” which is used less in China but commonly in Japan nowadays (it was the most ancient Chinese way of “kill out” - deactivation of enzymes , and the technique was brought to Japan 1300 years ago by the “Kentoshi” - ambassadors dispatched to China Tang). Many people mistakenly think white tea also needs this production step because of “An Ji white tea”. Now, we can confirm that also, it is wrong! White tea only uses the most natural production process - “sun dry”. We’ve never heard of “steaming” for making white tea!
  3. The classification basis of Chinese tea is more rational by using the oxidation degree of the polyphenol? Well, in every variety of teas they still have multiple different types which based on production process, it’s actually difficult to “define” Chinese tea. For example, Jun Shan Yin Zhen and Huang Da Cha (yellow big leaf) they are both yellow tea but one can be freshly green and the other one can be baked dark. How can you tell people that “huh, they are in the same category and we use the oxidation degree of the polyphenol to define it”? And even Chinese nowadays put raw Pu’er to a separate category because you can not simply say it is a “sun-dried” green tea.
On Wikipedia, we found one(picture below) of the many on the internet available "tea-categories-by-production-method" diagrams. The diagram comes originally from a chinese website. The website was made by an Yunnan tea and culture promoting organization. This is one of the very few correct diagrams, we can find on western websites.


If you ask us why there is so much wrong information on the internet. The answer is that we believe western people created wrong information for marketing purposes.

Chinese Tea History

The Origin of Chinese Tea
Since ancient times Tea plays a vital role in Chinese life. Chinese Tea has existed more than 5000 thousand years. It was said that tea was discovered by accident.
According to one of the legends in the early ancient time, an early emperor Shen Nong discovered tea. The emperor was convinced that drinking boiled water could prevent people from diseases. So servants boiled water for Shen Nong. One day his servants boiled water for a long journey to a distant region. Accidently a leave fell into the water. The emperor was quite interested in the resulting mixture. He drank it, tea was discovered!

 
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picture above: Shen Nong

However there was a record, dating back to Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC), about the usage of tea in a Chinese dictionary "The Erya". China was the first country in the world to discover the tea. From Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC) to Han Dynasty (206B.C.-220A.D), tea was only used as a medicine to stay awake.

 

Sui and Tang Dynasties
Tea was evolving into a normal beverage.
In Sui Dynasty tea drinking became known for more people. It also became one of the trade products with the neighboring Mongolian country.
Tang Dynasty (618-907A.D.) was a peak time for tea development. Tea became a standard beverage in people’s life. A lot of tea trees were planted and the tea culture developed fast.
In Cha Jing (an early book about tea) written by Lu Yu (a writer lived in Tang Dynasty), the tea plant and the process of tea were recorded in details. It is said that tea had widely spread and it had become one of the irreplaceable drinks in people’s life. The book also recorded the history of tea before Tang Dynasty and described the types of tea.
Brick tea was the main style of tea in Tang Dynasty. Tea leaves were made into cake forms. In order to make the hot drink, brick tea was put into boiling water. This was done in kettles to cook for some time.
 


Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty (690-1279 A.D.) is another important period for the development of tea. More tea species appeared. The requirement of tea was stricter and stricter at that time. Tea connoisseurs even held competitions to judge the quality of tea. This competition criteria were the tea leaves, water and the mixture. Books, poets and paintings about tea were popular in the whole country.  This promoted the tea trade between Central Plains (the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River) and the outside of the great wall. The country benefited a lot from the tea taxes (started in Tang Dynasty).
The number of social tea houses increased rapidly in Song Dynasty. Tea culture was formed day by day. People still made the tea leaves into the brick tea. It is said that the Japanese tea ceremony was originated from the tea ceremiony in Song Dynasty.
 


Ming and Qing Dynasties
Tea now also reached to the low level society. The government allowed people to plant tea trees freely. More categories of tea developed including green tea, flower tea, oolong tea and black tea. The making process of tea had been improved.
People also started to pay attention on the exquisite teapots. During this period Yixing Purple Clay Teapots were the most popular teapots. Tea houses were located everywhere in the street. The number of tea works, including books, poets, paintings of tea"topics", was the biggest of all the dynasties.
A large abundance of tea trades carried on bringing benefits for the government. The government made tea business with a lot of foreign countries. Thise countries were African, Asian  and European countries.



Present
Tea has become one of the most known Chinese drinks in the world. A large number of teas are exported to foreign countries. Tea shops and Tea houses in the street are easily found in China. Chinese tea culture and arts attracts a lot of people. It is irreplaceable in Chinese life and abroad.
 
Chinese Tea Culture
 
Tea as a beverage was first consumed in China and has played a significant role in Asian
Drinking some tea in former China could be considered as a self-consideration or an art. It is also a way to better appreciate life.
Chinese Tea is categorized into different types. It is based on the way of how the tea leaves are prepared and processed. It is interesting to note that all of “the main varieties” of tea actually come from the same species of plant - camellia sinensis.
According to one of Chinese legends, tea was discovered by ancient emperor Shen Nong who was also the first Chinese herbal doctor. He is also venerated as the Father of Chinese medicine. One of his contributions was tasting herbs so people could have medicine. His research of tea is “a healing plant to cure the diseases of the elderly”.
To drink some tea has been changed into an enjoyable delight experience after Shen Nong’s discovery. And it was developed several stages.
In ancient times, people cut the branches of wild tea plants, took the leaves and prepared them in boiling water.
The earliest credible record of tea drinking dates to the 3rd century AD in a medical text by Hua Tuo (famous Chinese doctor). He stated that “to drink bitter tea constantly makes one think better."
Under the Qin and Han Dynasties, people developed new methods: they cooked the tea leaves to make “small pancakes " and then compressed them into powdered forms. Afterwards they added mixed ginger, spring onion, and oranges.
The tea culture became very popular under the Tang Dynasty. Gradually, drinking tea became a pleasant enjoyment. The tea banquets turned out to be very appreciated in the Royal Palace, in temples and among the intellectuals.

 
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Picture above: Ancient tea banquet
 
A tea banquet is at the same time a solemn and elegant event, following the strict rules of the tradition. The tea has to be of very high quality, and the water has to result from much acknowledged sources. The tea utensils must be precious and of an outstanding quality.
According to the ritual, during a tea banquet, the person in charge of the ceremony has personally to mix the tea or oversee the blend in sign of respect to the guests. After this, the mixture ought to be seen by everyone and will be smelt for appreciation of its color before tasting.
After three turns, the dinner guests will judge the quality of the tea, will praise the high virtues of the host, take advantage of the landscape and the conversation or write poems.
Under the Ming Dynasty, the usual process grows to be simpler and thought in a more practical view.
Under the Tang dynasty, Lu Yu (733–804) was valued as the Sage of Tea for his contribution to Chinese tea culture. He is best known for his monumental book “The Classic of Tea” (
) Cha Jing, the first definitive work on cultivating, making and drinking tea. Cha Jing was the earliest treatise on tea in the world. For Lu Yu, tea symbolized the harmony and mysterious unity of the Universe.
The tea culture reflects the oriental traditional culture, combining the tea with Dao wisdom, pronounced in Chinese as “Dào”, which is an integral part of the Chinese culture.
The Dao of tea stresses the fact of being harmonious, quiet, optimistic and authentic. Peace of mind being the first step to get to tranquillity as a spiritual purpose in order to combine harmony and serenity. The idea is that as long as a person keeps quiet inside, he can always take advantage of the enjoyment of the conversation, of laughter, of the music and the opera (ancient Chinese entertainment).
Ones would say that the tea culture is a kind of intermediate culture which allows to pass on the spirit of the Chinese traditional culture to the future generations.
A famous tea drinker in China’s Tang Dynasty told tea has ten virtues: melting away depression, dissolving lethargy, encouraging liveliness, breaking up illness, bringing virtue and courtesy, expressing respect, making a distinction between different tastes, nurturing the body, practicing Dao, and improving one’s aspirations. “Tea brings Dao and elegance,” he was often heard saying
Chinese Tea Art
 
One of the ancient Chinese arts that has certainly not been forgotten or discarded is the art of making and serving tea.
This particular art is popularly practised among the common people, be they Buddhists, Daoists or Confucianists, because tea is taken not just as a means of quenching thirst and ridding the body of excessive oil, but also to nurture the spirit – yi qing yang xing (怡情养性, to move the feelings and nurture the spirit).
Contrary to preconceived ideas, the young Chinese develop a growing interest  for this traditional drink, not only elderly people.
The making of tea and the art of serving it have been written about by many scholars through the centuries.
During the Han dynasty (3rd century BC) Wang Bao and Tong Yue wrote the world’s oldest essays on tea drinking. In the Jin period (3rd century AD) Xie An, a calligrapher, wrote on the subject of tea.
By the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) many authors wrote on the tea ceremony and the art of making tea. Some of these authors were: Lu Tong, Jiao Ran and Lu Yu.
Song writers from the 10th to the 13th century included Tao Gu, Cai Xiang and Su Shi. De Hui, a Yuan dynasty writer, was well known amongst Buddhists for his tea ceremony. Noted Ming dynasty authors included Xu Ci Shu and Zhou Gao Qi.
By the Qing dynasty many writers, such as Wang Hao, Chen Meng Lei and Liu Yuan Chang, wrote on tea drinking as a form of art.
The habit of drinking tea in China started during Zhou dynasty (1066-256 BC).  The skill of making and serving tea was regarded as important as early as the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).
Zhu Xi, a South Song dynasty philosopher, started the practice of drinking tea in a certain ritual and his tea ceremony was handed down and further highlighted by such scholars such as the 8th century scholar, Lu Yu (Tang dynasty) and Huang Ru Ze (Song dynasty).
Today, the tea ceremony is being revived by overseas Chinese and it is a popular cultural activity.
Lu Yu wrote a book named Cha Jing in which the origin, the production, the utensils, the making and the drinking of tea were discussed. He also popularised the art of tea drinking as he travelled widely and associated with all kinds of people ranging from scholars to businessmen.

 
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Picture above: Lu Yu making tea
 
Lu Yu established many tea houses to facilitate tea drinking ceremonies. Through his works the names of tea leaves, the utensils used for making tea, the materials used for boiling water and the tea houses were known to a large following of tea drinkers.
Another promoter of the art of tea drinking and author of books on the tea ceremony was Su Shi, an expert tea maker of the Song dynasty. During that period tea makers improved the process of tea by laying down seven steps : the first, was to ensure the tea leaves were picked at the right time and with the nails of the workers rather than the fingers; the second, was to make sure the tea leaves were properly classified; the third, was to make certain that the tea leaves were appropriately steamed; the fourth to the seventh, were that the making of tea was done in the best way.
The skill of tea making and drinking is expressed in seven basic steps: the preparation of the tea leaves, the preparation of the water, the starting of the fire for boiling the tea, getting the right temperature of the water for the boiling of the leaves, putting in tea leaves, boiling the tea leaves and serving the tea.
The best type of water for high quality tea is water from the hills.
Tea drinking today is usually streamlined into a simpler ceremony. It may be carried out in one of three ways; “gai wan shi” - covering the cup style, “cha niang shi ” - tea and paternal style, and “gong fu shi ” - (skillful style).
Gai wan shi” is the simplest because only a tea cup with its cover are used to contain the tea and the tea drinker simply sips the tea and enjoys it. “Cha niang shi” is the most common and it is made in a teapot (symbolising the mother or parent) and served in cups (symbolising the children). “Gong fu shi” is the most authentic as it has its origin and tea ceremony from Lu Yu’s treatise.
The utensils used are: a heating stove, a teapot, a tea tray and some teacups, a fan, and a pair of chopsticks. Nowadays, simple set of “6 gentlemen” is easier to the tea ceremony.

Tea Quality vs Tea Pricing
Different criteria are determining the price for a certain quality of tea.
Herunder you can find an explination.


Tea Leaf Grading
We determine 7 LEVELS of tea leaf start material used for tea production.
It’s easy to understand that the more selective the startmaterial is chosen, the manual labourcost rises. If machines are used and not only leafs but also branches end up in the product, then we talk about industrial tea. The younger the leafs, the closer the selection comes to single leaf/sprouts, the better the quality gets. Even in china only a select audience can say they drink the best tea. This category of tea is realy considered as top level / high class product.

 
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The way the tealeaves are harvested can also lead also to another classification method.
 
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Traditional Tea versus Commodity Tea
Our tea is exceptional. We sell only traditionally-handmade teas crafted by experienced tea artisans. Not commodity tea grown by big business.

Traditional Tea
Traditional tea versus commodity tea. This is today’s choice for tea drinkers. For our customers who are particular about their tea, read on.
What is commodity tea? It is tea grown by large companies in newly-planted tea fields in areas of the world not usually associated with tea growing and that have very little tea making history. Conversely, traditionally-made tea uses well-established methodologies and techniques to do what tea workers and mother nature do best together – make distinctive tea. Traditional tea making utilizes the terroir of each place ( soil, geography, climate, weather, etc) and local tea bush cultivars to show a tea garden’s best flavor advantage.
The process of traditional tea making utilizes hundreds of years of knowledge and experience in the crafting of fine tea. No two tea producing countries produce tea the exact same way, and for that we are thankful. It is differences both great and small that give tea a national identity – and many regional differences, too.
Our teas come from China  where traditional tea is made by tea workers who are in harmony with the seasons of the year. They craft teas of exceptional beauty and elegant flavor. We select tea from small family tea farms, small village production, and tightly controlled tea co-operatives. In these gardens, the ability to make great tea is a point of pride for the tea makers, and generations of the same family carry on tea making traditions established by previous generations.
Traditional tea farmers/producers must be in tune with nature and understand the vagaries of weather, soil conditions, how to maintain healthy tea bushes, and how the keen senses of a skilled tea master (sight, smell, touch and hearing ) influence from start to finish the outcome of the finished tea. The livelihood of each family or tea village depends on knowledge of nature and the ability to wrangle with problems and situations that arise during the harvest times. For these people, tea is their life and their life is tea. This accounts for the care and respect they accord their tea.
Traditional tea production is sustainable on many levels.Traditional tea uses time-honored methods of pest control ( such as encouraging the presence of birds in the tea gardens and environs and the introduction of plants that discourage the presence of certain pests) and organic farming practices ( soil enrichment, worm production and natural fertilizers made from food sources and manure). A traditional tea garden does not make use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
A traditional tea garden is almost always small and is often broken up into patches of tea bushes located here and there. The elevation is high, away from the pests that plague low elevation tea gardens. The garden is comprised of mature tea bushes (which produce the best teas) that are well-adapted to their environment. In such tea gardens local varieties of tea bushes or tea trees will have been growing in that place for decades. This means that the roots of these tea bushes will be well dispersed under and throughout the soil, allowing healthy soil to nurture the bushes through the roots. Local tea bush cultivars add complexity and individuality to finished tea and keep the diversity of taste alive and well from region to region.

COMMODITY TEA
In comparison, commodity tea ( or industrial tea, agro business tea, etc ) is just that – intensively grown and frequently harvested leaf that is grown for high harvest yields, not for distinctive flavors or unique qualities. This tea is grown for wholesale packagers of commercial grade tea, flavored tea blends and bottled tea drinks. The goal for Industrial tea producers is low production cost and abundant yield, a combination that does not result in premium quality tea.
Commodity tea is grown in large industrial tea gardens in flat, low-lying agricultural areas in non-historic tea producing countries where tea growing is a relatively new industry. The techniques used are standardized and mechanized – typical of agribusiness agriculture.
Tea gardens such as these exist throughout most of Africa and parts of South America. Whereas most English and Irish tea companies once used China, India, and Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) teas in their blends, these tea sources have been replaced in the last 20 years by teas grown in newly-planted tea gardens in unusual places. Part of this switch is based on simple supply issues ( there is not enough traditional tea in the world for large companies to use even if they wanted to pay higher prices ) and price issues ( these new modern teas can be grown and harvested at far less cost than traditionally-made tea. Recent studies even show that all kinds of non Camilia Sinsensis plants end up in the industrial tea production. Resulting in negative healt effects. Because there is no rich soil for the plants to depend on, large amounts of pesticides and commercial fertilizers are required to maintain such tea bushes. Because of this artificial condition, the roots of these plants mass together in a ball just under the surface of the soil, which means that what is nourishing the plants is the applied chemicals, not the soil.
There is no sustainability in this scheme – without the continued heavy application of fertilizers there is no ability for the soil to sustain the tea plants. And, there  is no diversity among the tea bushes – all the plants are clones of one type and genetically the same. So, there is no effort made to ensure layers of flavor or subtle differences in these teas.
And lastly, commodity tea has no history, culture, inherited knowledge, high-elevation location, cooling clouds and mist, or moisture-laden weather, seasonal differences, or other historical or cultural elements that are part of traditional tea making culture. It is business-grown tea, pure and simple.
Commodity tea is not the type of tea that we want to drink or sell to our customers. But it is the reason that we are committed to selling traditional tea and supporting the efforts of artisan tea makers who produce delicious, awe-inspiring tea.
So, given the choice, which tea do you want in your teacup?

 
 

 

New Tea & Aged Tea
How long will my tea keep?
As with many of the particulars concerning the production of  traditional foods and beverages, the how’s and why’s of tea production, storage, and drinking are not universally black and white.
Formerly, it was believed that all tea should be drunk fresh and young or that tea ‘keeps indefinitely.’ In truth, each of these statements is appropriate for some tea and not for others.
So let’s explore some of the tea-keeping knowledge that we have learned from our tea masters  in China: Some teas are meant to be drunk right away when they are fresh and young; some teas are better aged; the most prized teas are those have been carefully stored and aged.
 
Understanding when a tea is best drunk will greatly enhance your tea drinking pleasure. Young tea kept too long will no longer be a ‘rose in bloom’ while an aged tea can introduce tea drinkers to new levels of flavor complexity, refinement and style.
It is important that tea enthusiasts think about tea in the same way that we think about the details of other beverages such as beer, wine, whiskies, brandies, etc. Serious tea enthusiasts ought to know when will the tea be best to drink?
What is new or young tea?
Tea that is manufactured in a new season of each year is ‘new’ tea for awhile. New tea from spring, such as most green tea yellow tea, are best drunk young and fresh. These teas are prized for their fresh, youthful vigor and sweetness or grassy, vegetal astringency.
In China, aged tea is relatively easy to find, albeit proportionate in cost to its age. There are no hard and fast rules as to how old tea must be to be considered ‘aged,’ but what we have seen for sale in China suggests that tea needs to be 5 years of age or older before it qualifies as ‘aged.’ Aged teas can be 20, 30, 40 and more years of age. These rare beauties must be stored under good preservation conditions so that the tea can rest, change, and become more complex and astonishing in flavor with time.
 
Do not confuse aged tea with really “old” tea. Old tea is just that – tea that is old, past-its-prime, lifeless, flavorless and not worth drinking. And Chinese people call aged tea “old tea” because in the language it  means “experienced” and “kind” (it’s like you call your friend “old pal”, not “aged pal”). Not every tea can age well: most teas, except green tea, assuming that they are good quality tea to begin with,  will age successfully, they require different storage conditions.

 
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Picture above: Tea aging pot

Tea for aging is chosen based on qualities that the tea possesses when it is young. Aging tea is about future potential, and the young tea must show signs that it is able to fulfill the promise that it will mature and develop into something even more wonderful. This is similar to the judgement that a wine aficionado makes when evaluating which young bottles of wine will age best after a decade or so of rest in a wine cellar. As with wine, tea that is of poor quality or that is disappointing in flavor when young will not improve with age.
 

 
Here are a few guidelines organized by class of tea:
  • Black tea – different black teas can be drunk young or aged. Black tea is able to retain its flavor and aroma for many years, particularly orthodox black tea, when kept in storage containers in cool environments. Some black teas, made from full, long leaves, can age and transform into a more flavorful and rich cup after being kept in good storage conditions. (This does not mean that a package of supermarket black tea that has been hiding in the back of your pantry for years will still be tasty! )
  • Oolong – In essence, different oolongs can be drunk young or aged. Aging is a tool that allows the tea to mature, mellow, and develop complexity and finesse in taste (similarly to aging fine wine). To be successfully aged the tea must be stored dry and sealed, away from humidity. Depending on the style of oolong ( semiball-rolled, leafy, or strip style ) some new teas are very ‘green’ in style and offer fresh, bright flavors and intense, sweet and floral aromatics. Other oolongs are more subdued, but reveal rich fruity flavors and aromas. The degree of roasting ( none, light, medium, or heavy) will vary with the style of oolong. Oolongs can age for 40 and more years under good storage and with proper periodic re-roasting to eliminate any moisture build-up in the leaf. Aged oolongs may lose some of their floral and fruity ‘high note’ aromas as they age, but the reward is an increase in flavor depth and complexity,  and a fine, smooth finish.
  • ’er (raw & ripe)
    Raw:  the aging and transformational changes of raw Pu’er tea are different from that of oolong tea, and the requirements of storage are different. Individual tea pancakes or tuos are purchased loosely wrapped in thin paper, which allows the tea pancakes to ‘breathe.’  Successful aging of raw Pu’er is the result of continued microbial activity in the presence of humidity in ambient temperature environments. The timeframe for maturing raw Pu’er is longer because it is a slow and steady process that requires years before the tea is ‘ready’ to drink. Raw Pu’er (naturally fermented) can be drunk either young or aged. When young, the tea is sweet, woodsy, and clean tasting, and filled with youthful vigor. When aged, raw Pu’er becomes rich, beefy, earthy and substantial, and then it truly expresses the wonderful and delicious nature of this naturally post-fermentated tea.
    Ripe: ripe Pu’er comes to the marketplace ready to drink and needs no further aging. But it can be successfully kept and aged – over time, ripe Pu’er will also become mature and mellow, but it will not undergo the tremendous internal changes like raw Pu'er.
  • Green tea (spring harvest) – spring green teas are considered premium green teas, and are made just once a each year. These teas are prized for their fresh, youthful vigor and sweetness, or in some cases, pleasant, vegetal astringency. Green teas are at their sweetest, most tender and tastiest when drunk under 18 months after they are manufactured. Storage is an important factor. Our green tea products are stored at temperatures just above 0°. We only break the cold chain during the transport. And therfore we only transport by airfright, for keeping this warmer period as short as possible. Depending on many factors, some spring green teas will lose their fresh taste before spring arrives the following year. Other spring green teas hold-up and drink well past the next spring season. But in general, these teas are ready to drink when released and there is no good reason to wait to drink most of them.
  • White tea – bud-style white tea such as Yin Zhen can be drunk new or can benefit from being aged. It is your choice as to how you prefer your white tea – fresh, new and bright or smooth, mouth-filling and softly mature.
  • Yellow tea – best drunk new, but a bud-only yellow tea such as Huang Ya (Meng Ding, Huo Shan). Some big leaf yellow tea can be aged like Pu’er for very long, it depends on the production process.
 
 

 

Experience of Tea Master
 

 

Tea vs Wine
 
Caffeine & Theophylline

Caffeine
Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant of the methylxanthine class. It is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug. Unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. There are several known mechanisms of action to explain the effects of caffeine. The most prominent is that it reversibly blocks the action of adenosine on its receptor and consequently prevents the onset of drowsiness induced by adenosine. Caffeine also stimulates certain portions of the autonomic nervous system.
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline purine, a methylxanthine alkaloid, and is chemically related to the adenine and guanine bases of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). It is found in the seeds, nuts, or leaves of a number of plants native to South America and East Asia and helps to protect them against predator insects and to prevent germination of nearby seeds. The most well known source of caffeine is the coffee bean, a misnomer for the seed of Coffea plants. Beverages containing caffeine are ingested to relieve or prevent drowsiness and to improve performance.

 
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Theophylline
 
Theophylline, also known as 1,3-dimethylxanthine, is a methylxanthine drug used in therapy for respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma under a variety of brand names. As a member of the xanthine family, it bears structural and pharmacological similarity to theobromine and caffeine, and is readily found in nature, and is present in tea (Camellia sinensis) and cocoa (Theobroma cacao). A small amount of theophylline is one of the products of caffeine metabolic processing in the liver

 
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Caffeine and Theophylline in Tea vs Caffeine only in Coffee
 
The presistence of caffeine in tea is precisely because antioxidants slow down the absorption of caffeine.
This means the tea leaves us gradually awake, then slowly declining caffeine levels.
The awakening effect of coffee is stagerring, occasionally accomanied by symptoms of rapid heartbeat.  (niet klaar)
 

 

Is it possible to give accurate caffeine / theophylline content information?
No, there are so many variables that affect the caffeine content of a particular tea that there is no one comprehensive or simple answer. Most of the information one reads online, in magazines and on websites suggests that one type of tea has more or less caffeine than another: ie. that green tea has less caffeine than white tea.Or is it the other way around? We have read both answers on the internet and are always dismayed at how misleading this kind of information must be.
These types of easily-dished-out inaccuracies suggests that each type of tea (green, white, yellow, oolong, black and dark tea including ripe Pu’er) has an empirical amount of caffeine that is somehow constant or that will fluctuate by only a small degree. Most of these statements about caffeine content are just repeated from one source to another without any basis in truth.
What is true is that the amount of caffeine in any particular tea depends on many variables and particulars, most of which are impossible to know when shopping for tea, and least of which is about the type of tea in question. On our tea sourcing trips to China, we have learned that the important variables are these:
  1. The choice of leaf that is plucked partially determines the caffeine content of that leaf. Buds and bud sets often have more caffeine than larger leaves located further down on the branches of the tea bushes. This means that early spring plucked teas will, in most cases, contain more caffeine than teas plucked later in the season or the year. So, a spring plucked tea can and probably will have more caffeine than a summer plucked black tea. However, a black tea made from two leaves and a bud in the spring will probably have more caffeine than a country green tea plucked in the late spring or early summer.
  2. The age of the plucked leaf has an influence on the amount of caffeine in the tea. Tea made from younger leaves generally contains slightly more caffeine than tea made from older leaves.
  3. Specific tea bush varietals and cultivars ( and there are hundreds of them ) have differing amounts of caffeine.
So, it is easy to see that the usual, definitive answers to this question are not good ones. Testing on tea can be done to determine caffeine content, but it is expensive and would need to be done to every new batch of any given tea as each new harvest brings change to the tea garden and the tea.
We tell our customers who ask that they should assume that all tea has roughly the same amount of caffeine. Those who believe that one type of tea “agrees” with them better than another type of tea should follow the instincts of their bodies and stay with that tea. Everyone responds differently to the foods and drinks that we consume, so experiment and see what is right for you. Most adults tolerate the caffeine in several cups of tea a day quite well and enjoy both the taste the alertness and sense of well-being that tea brings to them. Those who are really sensitive to caffeine and need to avoid it (but still hope to find lower-caffeine choices among traditional teas) will need to experiment periodically with many teas to see which they find most tolerable.
 

 

TOP10 Famous Chinese Teas
 
Since long-ago in a time when early forest-dwelling inhabitants of parts of Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces first experimented with cooking leaves and buds plucked from wild-growing tea trees, tea has developed over the centuries into a refined and elegant beverage and the drink of emperors, monks and every man.
China was the first country to understand the value and power of the leaves of indigenous Camellia sinensis and Camillia assamica tea bushes – first as a food source, then as a medicinal tonic and lastly as a refreshing beverage. As a result of centuries spent developing their tea industry, vast numbers of teas are produced in the many tea growing regions of China.
Centuries were spent cultivating vast numbers of teas in the mountainous regions of China, and in refining methods for preparing tea. Exquisite teawares were created to showcase this precious beverage, adding a tactile and visual element to social tea gatherings and tea drinking contests.
Imperial Tribute Tea / China’s Famous Tea
Fortunately for us today, many of these historic teas survive. Once known as Imperial Tribute Tea  (teas once favored by various ruling emperors) today these teas are known as Famous Chinese Teas.
Beginning in China’s Tang dynasty (618-907) and continuing into the Song dynasty (960-1279) certain teas became renowned for their elegance and refinement. Plucked in the cool, misty days of early spring from isolated tea gardens in lofty mountain regions, these teas were promoted as elixirs of the gods. Each tea was of such remarkable and ethereal quality that successive emperors claimed production of certain teas as his exclusive property.
Emperors took delivery of the tea as soon as it was available in the spring, which was recorded as fulfillment of “tax” owed to the government. Hence the name ‘tribute’. The fine reputation of these teas from revered mountains were also known to tea connoisseurs and the literati in the Song dynasty, who praised the sublime nature of these teas and sipped them from fine, delicate tea bowls (Gai Wan).
The Imperial Tribute Teas lost their emperors in 1911, but the teas became available to more tea drinkers in China. And their moniker changed to “Famous Chinese Teas”. The reputation of these teas has survived both the Cultural Revolution and modernization in Chinese drinking habits and they still remain famous and revered today.
Each Famous Chinese Tea is instantly recognizable by its characteristic leaf shape and size, appearance and taste. These are “named” teas, that is teas that are named for their respective mountain source or place of origin. Their pedigree comes not only from their past imperial association but also from each tea’s unique environment – terroir – and the specific cultivation and steps of leaf manufacture that creates its distinguished character.
 
It is easy to understand why these teas gained imperial favor – each is an example of a regional specialty tea, unlike no other and made no where else in China. And made just once-a-year for a short one, two or three weeks each spring. While China hand crafts thousands of stunning teas, this small group of teas receives much of the attention every spring.
Many of these teas are classified as pre-Qing Ming teas, which means that they are made from the first budding tea bushes of spring (from mid-March to April 5th). Accordingly, pre-Qing Ming teas are more costly than tea that is plucked a few weeks later. These teas are in limited supply because the number of pluckable buds on newly sprouting tea bushes is very small.
Tea enthusiasts in China have published various lists of the Top 10 or Top 15 Famous Chinese Teas.
China's top ten most famous teas are mostly green teas, including: Xi Hu Long Jing, Dong Ting Bi Luo Chun, Huang Shan Mao Feng, Liu An Gua Pian, Xin Yang Mao Jian and Du Yun Mao Jian, which are all very delicious green teas. The rest of the list includes An Xi Tie Guan Yin and Wu Yi Rock tea, which belong to Oolong Tea; Qi Men tea, which is a strong black tea and Jun Shan Yin Zhen, which is actually a yellow tea.

 
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Xi Hu Long Jing
Is more commonly known as Dragon well green tea. This is a smooth and mellow luxury green tea grown in the mountainous areas beside the Xi Hu Lake (West Lake) of Hangzhou in Zhe Jiang Province of China. Long Jing green tea is historically considered to be one of the very first teas in China, giving it the nickname “China Famous Tea”. The color is light yellowish green, and most generally speaking, the lighter the color of the Long Jing presents, the higher the quality will be. It has a lovely strong sweet aroma with a mellow vegetative flavor. Dry leaves are in beautiful flat long shape. It also held the honor of being chosen as tribute to the Qing Dynasty by Emperor Qian Long.

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Huang Shan Mao Feng

This is a luxury green tea grown in the beautiful Huang Shan Mountains (Yellow Mountain) in Anhui Province of China, which originated from Guang Xu during the Qing Dynasty.
 
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Dong Ting Bi Luo Chun

This is another type of green tea from Dong Ting mountains (in the mountains, there is a large Dong Ting Lake also) in the Jiangsu Province of China. The leaves have a distinct spiral shape. Historically, Bi Luo Chun was actually called “Xiasha Renxiang” (means the aroma is “shocking”). This name was given by Emperor Kang Xi during the Qing Dynasty. It has the distinct honor of winning the 1915 Panama World Exposition's Golden Medal Award.

 

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Xin Yang Mao Jian

This another particularly famous and delicious green tea from China which is from Xin Yang in He Nan province of China. Like many other famous Chinese green teas, Xin Yang Mao Jian gained its fame during Qing Dynasty. It also has the distinct honor of winning the 1915 Panama World Exposition's Golden Medal Award.

 
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Liu An Gua Pian

Although it is not as famous as Long Jing tea, Liu An Gua Pian is a very special and famous green tea from Liu An in Anhui province of China. This type of green tea originated in 1905, and is very unique because it is produced by using only the leaves of the tea tree while removing the buds and stalks of the plant.

 
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Jun Shan Yin Zhen

This is a kind of “Yellow Tea”. It is actually very rare and exotic for it is only produced in small amounts. Jun Shan Yin Zhen yellow tea is from Jun Shan Island in Yue Yang city of Hu Nan Province. The particular Jun Shan Yin Zhen is an outstanding example of a rare and exquisite yellow tea.

 

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An Xi Tie Guan Yin

This a very well known and extremely delicious and mellow Oolong tea hailing from An Xi in the famous Fujian province of China. Anxi Tie Guan Yin originated from Yong Zhen during 1725-1735 in the Qing Dynasty and has a long and rich history. Considered as the best Oolong tea by most people, Tie Guan Yin is known as “The King of Tea”, and has a strong mellow, smooth and earthy flavor which remains delicious and aromatic even after re-brewing the Tie Guan Yin leaves up to six or seven times!

 

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Wu Yi Rock Tea

This another famous and most enticing Oolong tea from China, which is grown on Wu Yi Mountain in Fujian Province of China. This area of the Fujian Province has a long rich history of producing famous and exquisite tasting teas including Imperial Red (Da Hong Pao) Oolong tea, Bag Ji Guan Oolong Tea (White Rooster), Tie Luo Han Oolong Tea (Iron Arhat), and Shui Jin Gui Oolong Tea (Golden Turtle). However the most famous and delicious Oolong tea from this region is the Wu Yi Rock Tea which was introduced to Europe during the 18th century, from then on it was well-received and gained a lot of popularity both in home and abroad.

 

Da Hong Pao - Wu Yi rots thee 50g

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Qi Men Black Tea

If you have not tasted a fine Qi Men black tea (referred to as “Qi Hong”), then you are missing out on one of the most famous and delicious tasting black teas of China. Qi Hong is a very bold, strong and malty flavor with a hint of smoky fragrance in the background, and it hails from Qi Men County in the An Hui province of China. Qi Hong is said to originate from Guang Xu, during 1875 in the Qing Dynasty. It has a reputation for being one of the finest black teas on Earth, and the British Royal Family as well as the Queen of Great Britain herself is rumored to enjoy drinking Qi Hong immensely. It also has the honor of winning the golden medal at the 1915 Panama World Exposition, making it the most famous black tea in China.

 

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