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Learn More About Tea

What does the "Best By" date mean?
We want you to enjoy the best tea possible. We put the "Best By" date on our site to be open and honest with customers. Tea does not go bad. If you store tea properly, it will last a long time. Tea producers must label products to comply with USA and European Union laws. The "Best By" date is usually on the bottom of the box. The "Best By" date is placed on the box during the production process. Tea can safely be consumed after the "Best By" date. The "Best By" date is totally different than the "Use By" date. The "Use By" date means foods should not be consumed after this date.

Should you have milk or lemon with your tea?

Black, milk or lemon? It is an argument tea drinkers have been having for centuries. According to the tea council, which represents tea producers, below are some guidelines. Still remember, use what you like.

Country of Origin: India
Brewing Time: 3 to 5 Minutes
Black or Milk
Characteristic: Delicate, slightly astringent flavor

Country of Origin: India
Brewing Time: 3 to 5 Minutes Black or Milk
Characteristic: Full-bodied with a rich, smooth, malty flavor

Ceylon Blend
Country of Origin: Sir Lanka
Brewing Time: 3 to 5 Minutes
Black or Milk
Characteristic: Brisk, full flavor with a bright color

Country of Origin: Kenya
Brewing Time: 2 to 4 Minutes
Black or Milk
Characteristic: A strong tea with a brisk flavor

Earl Grey
Country of Origin: China or China/Darjeeling
Brewing Time: 3 to 5 Minutes
Black or Lemon
Characteristic: Flavored with the natural oil of citrus bergamot fruit

Lapsang Souchong
Country of Origin: China
Brewing Time: 3 to 5 Minutes
Characteristic: Smoky aroma and flavor

Country of Origin: China
Brewing Time: 5 to 7 Minutes
Characteristic: Subtle, delicate, lightly flavoured tea.

What is the effect of milk in tea?
Most tea drinkers have a cup of black tea with milk. Recent research may show that milk in tea reduces the health benefits.

Several recent studies show tea aids in protecting against cardiovascular disease. However, a new study from Germany shows that tea's protection against cardiovascular disease is reduced when milk is added to tea.

Reported in the European Heart Journal, the German study tracked 16 women with an average age of 59. The group was given 2 cups of black tea without milk, 2 cups of black tea with milk or 2 cups of boiled water.

When participants drank 2 cups of black tea without milk, they experienced a 400% increase in flow-mediated dilation (FMV). FMV is the ability of the artery to relax and expand to accommodate increased blood flow. Thus, cardiovascular function increased.

When the group drank tea with milk, they had no more increase in FMV than if they consumed 2 cups of hot water.

Possible reasons for these findings are that several of the proteins in milk may join with flavonoids in tea to form complexes which nullify the cardiovascular benefits of tea.

“Milk may counteract the favorable health effects of tea on vascular function,” the authors said.

Please note that this is a small, preliminary study and findings must be confirmed by larger studies. Still, research has shown that tea has many positive health benefits.

I want to drink loose tea. Should I use a tea strainer or tea infuser?

Tea strainers and tea infusers serve different purposes. Tea strainers are best used with teapots. To use, first place loose tea directly in the teapot. Then, place strainer over teacup. After allowing tea to steep, pour tea into the teacup through the strainer. The tea strainer catches the tea leaves.

Most tea drinkers use tea infusers rather than tea strainers.
Tea infusers are used differently. When using infusers, make sure to fill the infuser less than half full, which allows the tea leaves to move around. Make sure your tea infuser is fine mesh to ensure most of the tea leaves are caught. Some accessories can be used as both strainers and infusers. The Paris tea cup strainer is really an infuser.

Additionally, for the ecologically aware, the use of tea infusers or tea strainers helps the environment. With infusers or strainers, loose tea is used, which eliminates paper used in tea bags.

What is white tea?

Although many people have heard of black and green tea, few know about white tea. Just as other teas, white tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant. Tea leaves are picked and harvested before they fully open when buds are covered by fine white hair, which gives the tea its name. White tea is the least processed of all teas. Although green tea may sometimes taste grassy, white tea tastes light and sweet. White tea is very low in caffeine and has high levels of antioxidants.

What is rooibos?

An herbal tea from South Africa is the latest tea to be popular with tea drinkers. Rooibos (pronounced roy-boss), also known as red tea, is an herb unique to South Africa's Cedarburg Mountains. Rooibos originates from the African slang of the Dutch word Red Bush. Rooibos brews red in color and has a unique, sweet nutty flavor. Rooibos is caffeine free and very low in tannin. Rooibos tea is known for calming nausea and is used by some cancer hospitals for patients undergoing treatment.

What is honeybush tea?

Honeybush tea is made from herbs found in Africa. Honeybush tea also has a small but dedicated following among tea drinkers. Delicate and fragrant, Honeybush tea (different than Rooibos) is an herb prepared from the flowers and leaves of the cyclopia species plants, which grows only in the mountain regions of South Africa. For centuries, native Africans harvested and drank Honeybush tea. Naturally caffeine-free and low in tannin, Honeybush tea is believed to have health benefits, relieving sleeplessness and indigestion. Honeybush tea also acts as an expectorant and an antioxidant, possesses antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, and heals minor skin ailments. More than 23 species of Honeybush exist. Honeybush dates back to Dutch and British tea trade in Africa in the 1700s. The plant was first noted by botanists in 1705.

Take the Tea Quiz:
Myths or facts? Answers Below.

Q: Tea has more caffeine than coffee.
Q: Tea is not a very popular beverage.
Q: The British consume more tea, per capita, than any other country.
Q: Black tea has more caffeine that green tea.
Q: The US does not have a commercial tea farm.

Q: The Dutch were the first to introduce tea to Europe and the USA.

Q: Tea has more caffeine than coffee.
Answer: Myth.
Actually, tea has 1/3 the caffeine of a cup of coffee. According to the US FDA,
a 5 oz cup of tea has less than 40 milligrams of caffeine.  A 5 oz cup coffee has 80 to 115 milligrams of caffeine.

Q: Tea is not a very popular beverage.
Answer Myth.
Next to water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world. In the US, tea is the 6th most popular beverage
behind water, soda, coffee, beer and milk.

Q: The British consume more tea, per capita, than any other country.
Answer: Myth.
The Irish lead the world in tea consumption per capita. The Irish consume 7.1 lbs per person, British

5.74 lbs and Americans .75 lbs.

Q: Black tea has more caffeine than green tea.
Answer: Myth.
Both contain the same amount of caffeine.

Q: The US does not have a commercial tea farm.
Answer: Myth.
The US has a tea farm in South Carolina. The Charles Tea Planters, Inc. traces its history to 1799.

Q: The Dutch were the first to introduce tea to Europe and the USA.
Answer: Fact.
Dutch traders were the first to bring tea to England, the rest of Europe and the USA.