How To Make Iced Tea from Loose Leaf Tea

What Is That Red Tea I Had On Vacation?

 

How To Make Iced Tea from Loose Leaf TeaWe often have customers asking for a “red tea they had on vacation.” Typically, these vacationers have been to the Caribbean, Jamaica, Mexico, Central, or South America, where they were served a deep red tart iced tea in copious quantities, and found themselves craving more. In the vast majority of cases, these vacationers have enjoyed hibiscus tea.

Hibiscus is an herbal tisane made from the roselle flower (hibiscus sabdariffa). It goes by many names, such as roselle, sorrel, and agua de Jamaica. The color is deep red with an unmistakably tart flavor. It is often sweetened to balance out the tart flavor and served iced. It is sometimes blended with ginger, cinnamon, or clove and a little rum.

The herbal tisane is high in vitamin C, and makes a great caffeine-free beverage, both hot and iced. Because of it’s strong flavor, it tastes best when blended with other ingredients. Here are some hibiscus blends for you to get your Caribbean red tea fix:

  • Organic Hibiscus Cooler: Sweet citrus notes of organic lemon verbena mingle with tart flavors of organic hibiscus.
  • Organic Cherry Hibiscus: A wonderfully tasty hibiscus tisane with flavors of cherry, and slight notes of orange and apple.
  • Organic Hibiscus Lime Cooler: A smooth and sweet organic rooibos blend with tart flavors of lime and hibiscus.
  • Organic Lemon Dandy: Tart and fruity hibiscus accentuated by citrus notes of lemon verbena and lemon myrtle, with the smallest hint of spice from purple tulsi.
  • Organic Cranberry Apple: Addictive tart fruity notes of cranberry and apple with piquant flavors of hibiscus.
  • Organic Cranberry Raspberry: Addictive tart fruity notes of cranberry and raspberry with piquant flavors of hibiscus.
  • Organic Raspberry Apple: A deliciously fruity and tart organic herbal infusion, with rich flavors of raspberry, apple, tart notes of hibiscus, and balanced with flavors of rose hips and blackberry leaf.

Need help making iced tea with loose leaf tea? Check out our iced tea guide!

Profile: Organic Oolong Tea

Oolong tea profile

Oolong tea is complex in both flavor and preparation. To make oolong tea, leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant undergo a 7 step process of withering, bruising, and partial oxidation. The end result is somewhere between a black and a green tea, with layers of flavor that an avid tea drinker can appreciate.

Oolong tea is well-known for its ability to hold its flavor after multiple infusions. Each steeping reveals a new flavor profile. It’s a great tea to have throughout the day.

There are two main types of oolong teas: jade oolongs and amber oolongs. Jade oolongs have a more floral, vegetal notes, while amber oolongs tend to be more robust, with toasty notes. Oolong teas come primarily from Taiwan and China.

In terms of health benefits, oolong tea is known for sharpening thinking skills and improving mental alertness. It also possesses heart health antioxidants.

Recommendations:

Organic Tae Guan Yin Oolong: Tightly curled jade leaves unfurl, revealing an orchid-like fragrance. The flavor is pleasantly complex, with a smooth vegetal body, sweet honey notes and floral undertones.

Organic Wu Yi Oolong: A classic, dark roasted organic oolong with a smooth, rich body and sweet finish. From the Wuyi Mountains in Southeastern China.

Organic High Mountain Oolong: Our most premium oolong, with a full, complex flavor, resilient to multiple infusions. The fragrance is rich and vegetal with delicate floral notes. Each infusion is different, revealing new layers of flavor. This is a rare organic jade oolong from Vietnam, a must-have for an oolong lover.

Instructions:

Steeping Time
Steep: 1-3 Minutes
Amount: 1 tsp. per 12 oz. Water
Steeping Temperature
Water Temp: 185°F

Profile: Organic Black Tea

Organic Black Tea Profile

When it comes to robust, full bodied flavor, black tea is the way to go. Black tea, like green, white, and oolong teas, come from the same plant: Camellia sinensis. What makes black tea different from the rest is the level of oxidation involved.

Oxidation is the same process that makes bananas and apples brown. While you might not like eating a brown banana, the browning of tea is desirable. As tea leaves brown, the become deeper, richer in flavor.

To speed up oxidation, tea leaves are bruised or crushed during processing. This releases the enzymes responsible for oxidation. The oxidation is halted at a specific time by heating up the leaves, deactivating the enzymes in the tea. The leaves are then dried and packaged.

Black tea comes from many parts of the world. The most common black teas come from India or China. Indian black teas tend to be maltier, deeper bodied, and more astringent than Chinese black teas. In contrast, Chinese black teas tend to have a more complex character with slight sweet notes. This is due to a number of reasons, one of which being that Indian and Chinese teas are often made from different varieties of the Camellia sinensis plant.

Black teas from the mountainous Darjeeling plantations in India are a bit different. They tend to have a crisper, cleaner taste than black teas from lower elevations in India.

Another popular category of black teas are breakfast teas. You might have heard of the ubiquitous English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast teas. Breakfast teas are a blend of different types of black teas. For example, a malty Assam is complimented by the slight citrus notes of a Ceylon (Sri Lanka) black tea.

As for health benefits, black tea is not as famous as green tea, but it still has a lot going for it. The most healthful antioxidant in green tea: epigallocatechin gallate is converted into thearubigin and theaflavins. These converted antioxidants have heart and circulatory health benefits.

Recommendations:

Organic English Breakfast: An exceptional medium-bodied blend of Organic Black Teas from India (Assam) and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). A great all-around breakfast tea.

Organic Earl Grey: Another popular black tea blend with a superior oil of bergamot on an organic full tea leaf from Nilgiri, India.

Organic Golden Needle Tea: One of our favorite Yunnan teas. Hand picked tea buds from Ancient tea trees in Yunnan Province make up this premium blend. The flavor is buttery smooth and full bodied with lingering chocolate and honey notes. The big, wiry leaves are soft with downy hairs and are a beautiful golden and black color. The leaves brew a deep caramel color, with a pleasantly complex scent. This is a tea to savor.

Organic/Biodynamic Darjeeling 2nd Flush: Grown in the foothills of the Himalayas, our Organic/Biodynamic Darjeeling 2nd flush is harvested in June and produces an amber, full bodied, muscatel-flavored cup. A great afternoon tea.

Organic Lapsang Souchong: Organic black tea from the Fujian province of China. A bold leaf with full bodied flavor, smoked over a pine fire to give a clean, slightly cool smokiness.

Steeping Instructions

Steeping Time
Steep: 3-5 Minutes
Amount: 1 tsp. per 1 cup Water
Steeping Temperature
Water Temp: 212°F

Profile: Organic White Tea

white tea information

White tea is closely related to green tea, but differs in subtle ways that result in a distinct flavor. In general, white teas have a very mild, smooth, and delicate flavor, with spring-like undertones.

Both green and white teas are a lighter colored tea because they are not allowed to oxidize as long as black tea. Soon after harvesting, the green and white teas are heated and dried to prevent oxidation. Green teas are either steamed or pan fired to deactivate the enzymes inside that result in darkening. The leaves are then allowed to dry for storage.

White teas, in contrast, are baked at a low temperature in a controlled environment, resulting in the least processing. Often, the baking and drying are a one-step process, using a similar concept to a home dehydrator.

White teas are also made from the young tea buds of the tea tree, and still have downy hairs on them. These young leaves have a very distinct, smooth flavor, and actually have a higher caffeine content than more developed leaves.

White tea can come from all over the world, but typically comes from China or India. Chinese white teas tend to more of a honey-dew sweetness, whereas Indian white teas tend to be more astringent.

White Tea Recommendations:

Jing Mai White Needle: A very distinct Jing Mai white tea. Slightly fruity, mildly sweet with a honey-like texture and smooth flavor. Resilient to multiple infusions! This mountain grown tea has a history spanning 800 years.

Pai Mu Tan: The unopened tea bud with the two newest leaves are hand plucked and sun withered to make this organic white tea. The flavor is clean, floral, with a rounded finish. From the Fujian province of China. Also known as White Peony Tea, or Bai Mudan.

Silver Tips White: Biodynamically farmed at the Makaibari Estate in India’s Darjeeling district. A rich and complex organic loose leaf white tea with an amber infusion. Full of antioxidants.

Steeping Instructions:

Steeping Time
Steep: 1-3 Minutes
Amount: 1 tsp. per 1 cup Water
Steeping Temperature
Water Temp: 185°F

Browse White Teas

Profile: Organic Green Tea

Organic green tea profile

Like all true teas, green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. What makes green tea different from other teas is the level of oxidation. Green tea is minimally oxidized, resulting in a grassier, more vegetal flavor than black tea.

Unlike black tea, green tea is panfired or steamed right after harvest. This stops the enzymes in the leaves from making the tea darker and more robust. The leaves are then dried for storage.

Green teas are generally more resilient to multiple infusions. In other words, the tea leaves can be resteeped in water to enjoy multiple cups of tea.

In terms of health benefits, green tea receives the most attention, due to its high concentrations of EGCG, an antioxidant in the tea that helps protect it from ultraviolet damage. Numerous studies point at green tea’s ability to help reduce the risk of major health issues. http://www.divinitea.com/organic-tea-blog/health-benefits-of-green-tea/

Recommendations:

Five Peaks Green Jade: This organic green tea is from the renowned Five Peaks Mountain in Shandong province. It has a very smooth character and low astringency. It makes a light-bodied brew with vegetal notes and a lingering sweetness.

Japanese Sencha: A delicately vegetal green tea with grassy notes. 100% Organic Japanese Sencha.

Jasmine Pearls: Premium hand rolled organic green tea unfurls, releasing a rich, smooth flavor with fragrant notes of Jasmine. Scented with Jasmine blossoms.

Steeping Instructions:

Steeping Time
Steep: 1-3 Minutes
Amount: 1 tsp. per 1 cup Water
Steeping Temperature
Water Temp: 185°F

Browse Green Teas