The word Antiquity means the ancient past, especially the period before the middle ages. Tea dates back to ancient China, almost 5000 years ago, hence the name AntiquiTEAs. According to legend, Emperor Shen Nung discovered tea when leaves from a tree blew into his boiling pot of water. He was immediately intrigued by the pleasant scent of the brew and drank some.
Tea is the world’s second most popular drink, after water. We tend to call anything we infuse in hot water tea, but specifically it’s only tea if it’s made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, indigenous to China and India.
What determines whether the tea plant will become black, green, white, or oolong tea is oxidation. The oxidation period begins when the tealeaf is plucked from the plant and ends when it is heat-treated. Black tea is fully oxidized while white tea is the least bit oxidized.
Black teas are fully oxidized and range from 40-60 milligrams of caffeine per 8oz cup. The origin of black tea is China, India, and Sri Lanka, but is now also produced in Nepal, Turkey, Indonesia, Kenya, and Australia. After the leaves are plucked, they are given time to wither then rolled or crushed by hand or by machine. This activated the oxidation process and the leaves turn black, then they are fired in ovens to stop the oxidation process.
Green tea is heated immediately after plucking. This maintains the leaves colors, tannins, vitamin C, chlorophyll, and minerals. The heat stops the leaf from withering or oxidizing. The lack of oxidation is responsible for its low caffeine content. Chinese green teas contain about 30-35 milligrams of caffeine per 8oz cup, while Japanese green teas contain about 25-30 milligrams of caffeine per cup. Green tea is traditionally from China and Japan.
Traditionally from China, white tea is plucked when the tea buds are still young. It is the least processed tea, which is why it releases the least amount of caffeine in a brew. Ranging from 10-15 milligrams of caffeine per 8oz cup, it's the perfect light tea for morning, afternoon, and evening. White tea is the most delicate of teas, rolled instead of crushed during the process. Some benefits of white tea include protecting the teeth from bacteria, strengthening hair, and richness in antioxidants.
Oolong is a semi-oxidized tea. The caffeine content and antioxidant level is between green and black tea making it the healthiest tea to consume! The caffeine content decreases with each brew of oolong, starting at 30-50 milligrams in the first brew, 15-25 in the second brew, and 5-10 in the third brew. You can certainly steep the tea leaves more than once with oolong, you can also do so with black tea and green tea! Traditionally from Taiwan and Chain, oolong along with green tea is a well integrated part of their cultures. Some benefits include the antioxidant level, lowers type 2 diabetes, and lowers risk of heart disease and stroke. Don't wait too long to try oolong!
Indigenous to the Cederburg Mountains in South Africa, rooibos or red bush tea is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea. The leaves are plucked during the summer while still green and the oxidation process allows the leaves to turn red. Green rooibos is less oxidized than red rooibos and gives us an earthy floral flavor. Rooibos includes many replenishing minerals such as iron, potassium, copper, alpha-hydroxy, and zinc! This tea is great for relieving stress, boosting your immune system, and lowering blood pressure!
Tisane, or herbal tea, is a term for any non-caffeinated beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, fruit, nuts, or other plant material. These drinks are distinguished from caffeinated beverages like coffee, maté, kuding, and the true teas (black, green, white, oolong, yellow), or from a caffeinated tea in which the caffeine has been removed. In addition to serving as a beverage, many tisanes are also consumed due to perceived medical benefits.
Maté is a species of the holly plant. It is a stimulating drink, about 35 milligrams per 8oz cup. High in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, it can also be an appetite suppressant. It helps maintain alertness and focus without the negative affects of caffeine. Maté comes from South America, specifically the northern regions of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil. AntiquiTEAs sources maté from Argentina. After plucking, the leaves are dried and them chopped up.