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Frequently Asked Questions -FAQ

What are all the different types of Tea?

Does steeping time really matter?

YES!! Over steeping your tea will create a bitter brew... "for the perfect cup of tea" (SM) look here

Does tea contain caffeine?

Yes, tea contains caffeine, but even though a pound of tea contains the same amount of caffeine as a pound of coffee, less tea is needed to brew a cup of tea and therefore the caffeine content per cup is considerably lower than that of coffee. According to a Canadian Health report, a 6 oz cup of regular coffee contains approximately 100mg of caffeine while a 6 oz of tea contains only about 24 mg of caffeine.

What is a Tisane?

Tisanes are infusions that don’t contain true tea leaves (Camellia Sinensis). They are made from flowers, berries, peels, seeds, leaves and roots of other plants. Rooibos, herbal infusions and fruit blends are examples of tisanes.

How is tea affecting my health?

Tea contains flavinoids, which are naturally occurring compounds that are believed to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, therefore protecting the body from damage to genetic material.

Why is loose leaf tea better than tea bags?

To best illustrate how loose leaf teas differ from tea bags, take a cup of Folgers coffee and compare it to a cup of Starbucks. While Folgers may be fine for some, Starbucks has certainly taken the coffee experience up a notch. The same holds true for tea. The varieties offered in supermarkets are of a much lower quality; in fact what ends up in a tea bag is the “dust”, the tiny tea leaf particles that break off during processing. Not only is the aroma and the flavor of tea brewed with loose leaf teas much better, but it contains higher amounts of flavinoids.

How long can I store my tea?

Tea does have a shelf life, however, properly stored; It will keep for up to one Year. Since humidity, air and light affect the quality of the tea, tins with tight fitting lids are best for storage. Be extra careful with flavored teas since the flavoring can easily spill over to teas stored close by.

How do I brew the perfect cup of tea?

The first important ingredients are water since its quality can affect the final flavor, the clarity and the color of the liquor. Water should be filtered fresh for each cup/pot of tea... If you use bottled water, spring water is the best.

  • First, preheat your tea pot or tea cup (fill with very hot water and let it stand for a moment).
  • Bring water to a rolling boil for black, oolong and tisanes. Don't let it boil too long, as it will boil away the flavor releasing oxygen and result in a flat tasting cup of tea. Pour boiling water over the tea leaves.
  • Brew 3 to 5 minutes for black teas. For green teas, the water should be cooler (160-180 F) and the steeping time should be between one and three minutes. An easy rule of thumb is, for teas requiring boiling water, bring the cup to the kettle; for teas requiring cooler water, bring the kettle to the cup.

How do I brew the perfect cup of iced tea?

Many of Souvia's teas make excellent iced tea. The best iced teas are made from the flavored black teas or the Rooibos. Souvia recommends the following basic steps to make iced tea:

  • Use cool water
  • Allow 1 teaspoons of tea or Rooibos for every 6 ounces of water
  • Let the tea and water "steep" for 4-6 hour or overnight
  • Pour the tea through a strainer to remove the leaves
  • Enjoy your tea!

For more details and specific instructions for each kind of tea, look here.

Is there really gunpowder in Gunpowder tea?

No. Gunpowder tea is named for the way the rolled green tea leaves look. Many believe it looks like pellets of gunpowder.

I love drinking Iced Tea in the Summer and I recently purchased an Iced Tea Maker. Is it OK to use loose tea in a brewer?

Souvia has tested an Iced Tea Maker and found that it does work just fine with the loose tea. Some things to keep in mind:

  • The temperature coming out of most Makers is about 185-190 degrees
  • Black Teas, Rooibos, and Herbals should brew up just fine
  • Flavored Green Teas should be OK as well
  • Using the Iced Tea Maker for Straight Green, White and Some oolongs is not recommended due
  • to the temperature and steeping time
  • Use 10 Teaspoons for a 2 Quart Machine and 15 for a 3 Quart

Bottom line these devices are convenient and produce nice tasting Iced Tea.

What are some alternatives if I am trying to cut down on caffeine?

Since all teas, Green, White, black and Oolong all have some caffeine your best option is to try a Decaf tea or an herbal. Rooibos and fruit blends make great alternatives to tea and a great iced or hot. Of course, the more traditional herbals make a pleasant drink as well. Consider blending to reduce caffeine, mixing lavender and mint or Chrysanthemum with Oolong

I heard that cold steeping tea does not provide the amount of antioxidants as hot steeping. True?

This is somewhat of an urban legend and is not true. Prevention Magazine recently even published a study the measured the levels on antioxidants in hot- steeped vs. cold-steeped and found no significant difference. So, cold steep your teas without fear!

Can I blend two teas or herbals together?

Absolutely! Many of our customers create combinations of their own. The best thing to do is to prepare the combination and allow it so sit for at least 24 hours before brewing... As the saying goes "teas get married overnight."

What is White Tea?

White Tea is the least processed of teas. After plucking, the leaves are dried. In some processing the leaves are hand rolled. The tea produced from these leaves is pale in color and mild in taste. Originally, White Tea came only from the Fujian Province in China but now white teas can be from almost any tea growing region. The quality and cost of White Tea varies depending on the age of the leaves, growing region and other factors

How is tea decaffeinated?

All decaffeination processes use a solvent to dissolve the caffeine and then remove the solvent from the tea. All methods leave some small amount of caffeine behind

Two different methods are commonly used decaffeinate tea:

  • Chemical (Methylene chloride or Ethyl acetate )
  • Super Critical Carbon Dioxide (CO2 method)

Many commonly available teas are decaffeinated with chemical methods. These methods involve extracting the caffeine directly or indirectly with methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. In both cases, the tea leaves are moistened to allow the caffeine to be removed and then the non-caffeinated water is added back to the leaves. Methylene chloride is reported to be the most effective but in very high doses studies have shown it to be a carcinogen.

Ethyl acetate is another compound used to extract caffeine from tea. Ethyl acetate occurs naturally in tea leaves, coffee, bananas, and other types of produce. For the purposes of the decaffeination process the Ethyl acetate is synthetically produced. While ethyl acetate effectively removes caffeine from tea leaves, it can also extract other chemical components as well. Studies on green tea decaffeinated with ethyl acetate have shown the potential for up to 30% of epigallocathechin gallate (EGCG-considered to be the primary beneficial component in green tea) and other beneficial antioxidant compounds to be extracted along with the caffeine.

Highlights of the Chemical Methods

  • methylene chloride is very effective at removing caffeine
  • At very high does it is a carcinogen (no carcinogenic effect at low doses)
  • Tea leaves are moistened to remove the caffeine
  • According to studies, Ethyl Acetate removes up to 30% of the antioxidants in green tea

CO2 Method

Uses highly pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) —the gas that adds bubbles to mineral water—to dissolve caffeine from tea leaves. At high pressures CO2 makes an effective solvent. In its pressurized state, CO2 is pumped into a sealed chamber containing tea, where it is allowed to circulate to remove the caffeine. From there, it is pumped into a washer vessel where water or activated charcoal is used to separate the caffeine from the CO2. The purified CO2 is recirculated into the pressurized chamber. This process is repeated until the appropriate amount of caffeine has been removed.

Highlights of the CO2 method

  • does not leave a chemical residue
  • has a minimal effect on the flavor and beneficial compounds in tea. (For example, CO2 leaves
  • intact approximately 95% of the original EGCG content of green tea)
  • Generally costs more than the Chemical methods

Our Souvia Label decaffeinated teas use the CO2 method. We believe this to be the best method for you and for the tea. We also offer non- caffeinated alternatives like Rooibos.

What country drinks the most tea?

The Irish average more than 6 pounds of tea per person each year!

I have an old tea ball, is that ok to use for loose teas?

Souvia does not recommend most tea balls due to their small size does not tend to give a good infusion. If after using yours, the tea is all compressed into a clump, the tea ball is too small to give a good infusion.

How much tea should I used for my cup/tea maker/pitch/vat?

The rule of thumb is a level teaspoon for each 6 ounces of water. Measure your container in ounces and divide by 6. Adjust according to your taste.

I heard that putting milk in tea eliminates any benefits. True?

A recent German study did find that adding milk to black tea eliminated the cardivascular benefits of drinking black tea. However, there are other benefits that are not affected. Read More on the BBC here

Are the health properties of tea affected by the decaffeination process?

Our research and training indicates that, in general, about 80% of the "good stuff" in tea remains even after decaffeination. Unfortunately, most of the research is done on regular teas.

I like my tea strong. Can a tea be oversteeped?

YES!!! Steeping teas for longer than the recommended times can lead to a bitter brew that will need lots of milk and sugar to be palatable. If you want a stronger cup, add a little more tea but keep the steeping tie the same.

How much loose tea do I need for my teapot?

We recommend starting with 1 measuring teaspoon for every 6 ounces of water. Aren't sure how much water your heirloom teapot holds? Fill it with water and empty into a measuring cup. Check the ounces and divide by 6! Use heaping teaspoons for large leaf teas like White Silver Needle.

Is High Tea the same as Afternoon Tea?

No! The Afternoon Tea Tradition started in the 1800's when Lady Bedford had an Afternoon snack prepared to tide her over until dinner. High Tea was so-called due to the high tables it was often served on. It was a full meal and not like anything served at a typical Tearoom. Many people use these terms interchangeably but they are very different things.

What is Chai?

Chai is actually a Southern Asian word for Tea not unlike the word Cha in China and Japan. In practice, Chai is a blend of tea and spices as unique to a household as your Uncle's secret Chili recipe. In some cultures, Chai implies tea steeped in milk with added herbs and spices. So, Chai defines a class of tea blends but each is unique!

If you would like to find the answer to a question we have not addressed here, please write us: