Questions? We have answers!
With hundreds of different types of tea and many different perspectives; we at Sangha have curated a common list of questions to aid you in improving your overall understanding of tea.
So… what is tea?
Typically, those in the tea industry use two distinct categories: Tea, and Herbals. Though herbal tea is a commonly used term, this is a bit of a misnomer. The traditional definition of tea is any drink that uses Camellia Sinensis leaves as its main constituent.
Read more: Understanding Tea.
okay… so what is herbal tea?
This category is far larger than the traditional tea category. Instead of primarily using Camellia Sinensis leaves, herbals (or herbal teas) incorporate various herbs to produce a brew. To keep it simple: does it come from the tea plant or is the main ingredient the leaves from the tea plant? It is tea. Otherwise, we classify these teas as herbals.
Read more: Understanding Tea.
is tea safe for kids? (everyone?)
In general, most teas are safe for children. In regards to traditional tea (see question 1) this category is completely safe for kids, though they may bounce off the walls if given too much caffeine! In regards to herbal teas, nearly all teas are safe for consumption by children; however, some may want to consult physicians before giving children teas involving strong relaxants or sleep-aiding teas.
I have tea, but how do i brew it?
At Sangha, we believe that the best way to brew tea is in a way that allows you to enjoy it. While there are “official” parameters and methods to brew tea, the way to brew tea is the way that tastes best and fits best into your lifestyle.
For a more detailed look into brewing, search for your tea on the shop page.
can tea spoil?
In the traditional sense, tea can never spoil; however, tea can go stale. The best way to know if your tea has gone stale is to compare its flavor to how it tasted when you first received it. A stale tea will be less aromatic, less flavorful, and may even have a more pronounced bitter note.
what is the best way to store tea?
Tea has three rivals: moisture, sunlight, and heat. In order to combat this, we at Sangha recommend storing teas in airtight containers away from sunlight and any sources of heat (e.g., ovens or heaters). An important note is tea absorbs scents. Another reason for recommending airtight containers is to minimize spices or other aromatic items influencing the taste of your tea.
can the quality of water influence my cuppa?
Of course! Water greatly changes how the tea leaves infuse into your cup. Fresh, filtered cold water is the best starting point. It should be of note that water with heavy mineral deposits (e.g., well water) may also dull the flavor of tea if this is the case for you, we recommend spring water. Some people may recommend distilled water; however, the lack of essential minerals may also impact the flavor of your cuppa.
how much CAFFEINE does tea have?
A cup of steeped tea contains significantly less caffeine than a cup of coffee of the same size. Most studies show that tea has between 40 and 120mg caffeine per eight-ounce serving; whereas coffee has about 80-206mg caffeine per eight-ounce serving. So even at the highest caffeine levels, tea has only half the caffeine content of a cup of coffee.
Another fact to consider is that caffeine in tea is different from that found in coffee. Unlike coffee, tea leaves contain an amino acid called theanine, which works synergistically with caffeine to create a more balanced stimulative effect in the body. What this means is that rather than feeling a surge of energy then a sudden crash shortly after, as you sometimes do with coffee or other caffeinated beverages, you may feel a more gradual and revitalizing rise in energy that eventually balances itself out into a calmer, clearer and more focused state.
Reading flavor notes are confusing, what words can help me better understand a teas flavor?
In the tea communities, we have developed a list of terms to define a tea’s flavor profile, some of them are very rarely used outside of the tea community. Due to this, below is a compiled list of commonly used tea words:
Berry Like -fruity and tart tasting
Biscuity -sweet, malted flavor with a velvety body, reminiscent of baked bread; often a character in black teas
Bitter -intense and boldly appalling flavor; sometimes offensive
Citrusy -tangy, tart; citrus fruit flavors such as orange, lemon, grapefruit, or tangerine
Creamy -milky, vanilla-tasting
Earthy -woodsy, soil-tasting, nature-inspired taste and aroma
Grassy -vegetal, fresh cut lawn taste
Malty -biscuity with a velvety body, wheat, and barley-tasting; often used to describe Assam black teas
Meaty -hearty, heavy-tasting, full, thick texture, often describes high quality Indian black teas
Metallic -low, unpleasant quality and taste; often found in poor quality green and black teas
Nutty -toasted, malty flavors reminiscent of a nut such as almond, hazelnut or walnut
Plain -having very minimal flavor; mellow, dull, bland, simple
Salty -mineral-like, sour, peppery
Smoky -burnt-tasting, reminiscent of ash and fire
Vanilla -creamy, sweet, milky
Vegetal -often a great tea characteristic; grassy, vegetable-tasting; reminiscent of a freshly cut lawn
Winey -vinegary, grape-tasting, sour, astringent
Sour -tart, acidic, citrusy
Tart -sour, tangy, astringent Spicy -flavorful with a bite; fiery, peppery, tangy
Sweet-often fruity, sometimes creamy; having candy-like characteristics
Savory -pleasant, aromatic; bold yet balanced flavors
Acidic -sour, tart, vinegary
Astringent -bold, pungent sensation that lingers on the tongue and sides of the mouth caused by tannins
Balanced -well-rounded, tasting equal proportions of flavors
Body -texture of the tea on the palate during tasting, which is determined mainly by tannins and amino acids within the tea
Character -smell, taste, and presentation of the tea
Clean -crisp, fresh, pure flavor notes
Cloudy -result when the tea is prepared iced, also known as condensation. When the ice hits the hot tea, the ice or solid slowly turns into liquid and forms cloudiness in the tea
Complex -having multi-dimensional flavors that unfold layer by layer; complicated
Crisp -clean, fresh, sharp
Delicate -soft, subtle, lightly flavored
Dull -uninspiring, mellow, lack of character
Finish -lasting impression on your tongue after swallowing
Flat -plain, dull, mellow, without higher or lower notes in tastes
Hard -aggressive, bold, sharp, higher in mineral content
Intense -robust and bold concentration of flavor and aroma