Learn About Tea
John Harney’s Answers to Common Tea Questions
July 26, 2012
What is the best way to store loose leaf teas?
It is fresh air, oxygen to be specific, that robs the flavor from loose leaf teas. Store the teas in an air tight container away from moisture and direct sunlight. Don’t store teas in the refrigerator or freezer. The cooler temperatures are not helpful: there is moisture, and the delicate leaves will pick up strong odors.
Does your tea have an expiration date?
No, our tea does not have an expiration date. We do put lot numbers on our tea, which lets us know when it was produced. We recommend that the product be consumed within two years of that date, simply to ensure the best flavor. Of course, we guarantee all of our products, and if you are unhappy with a Harney & Sons product, please let us know.
How much caffeine is in green tea?
It is quite difficult to gauge how much caffeine is in a tea, because it depends on so many factors: the tea itself, how much is used in a cup and how long it is brewed. But the general rule is that a cup of green tea contains about 1/3 as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
What is a tea sachet?
Our tea sachets are pyramid-shaped silky nylon teabags that are filled with whole-leaf loose tea. The benefit of the pyramid shape is that it allows the tea leaves to expand fully, thus allowing the full tea taste to develop. The nylon is food safe and stable in boiling water.
Should tea be kept in the freezer?
No, tea should not be kept in the freezer. There are strong aromas and moisture in your freezer. Tea should be stored in a closed container, out of the light. Remember that tea is a blotter and will absorb strong smells!
Is Harney & Sons English Tea?
Well, if the question is, whether or not our tea is grown in England, the answer is no. Until recently there was no tea grown in England, due to the climate. Now, there is one small garden in Cornwall. However, we do have an English Breakfast Tea, which is 100% Keemun (which was the original English Breakfast blend). Also our teas are used in one of London’s finest hotels: The Dorchester.
What is the difference between herbal tea and decaffeinated tea?
Decaffeinated tea is tea from which the the caffeine has been removed, through one of two possible decaffeination processes. Herbal tea, on the other hand, is not really tea at all, but is herbs brewed in the same way that tea is brewed. Herbals are sometimes referred to as tisanes and never had any caffeine to begin with.
What is an Oolong?
Oolong tea is sometimes referred to as Brown Tea, because it is considered by some to be halfway between a black tea and a green tea. In many respects it is the most complicated tea to make, because the tea is only partially oxidized. That is like keeping a banana perfectly ripe (nature keeps it moving towards being overripe.) However the reward for all that hard work is tea with great body, and the most intense and varied aroma and flavors.
How about Green and Black teas?
All teas originate from the same species, the Camelia Sinensis. To make green tea , the fresh tea is briefly cooked using either steam or dry heat. This process “fixes” the green colors and fresh flavors. For black tea, the tea is left outside and becomes limp (withered), then put into machines that roll the leaves and damage them. The damaged leaves change color to brown, then black. This natural process is called oxidation and is similar to the ripening of a banana (from yellow to brown and finally becoming black.)After that all tea is dried, so that it can be shipped great distances. The oxidation process changes the flavor of the tea (now black) and gives it more body.