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Buy Tea

Updated on April 16, 2012

Buy Tea With Confidence

Buy Tea With Confidence
Buy Tea With Confidence | Source

Buy Tea Like an Expert

Interested in learning about the wonderful world of tea? The world's most fantastic beverage is yours every day if you wish, but it's important to get educated first. There are as many myths as there are truths about tea. If you want to reap the health benefits of tea, enjoy a delicious drink and encourage an inner sense of calm and peace, then learn how to buy tea the right way.

Make Sure You Buy Tea - Not Infusions!

Let's clarify something really quickly before you go buy tea online or at your local tea store. Unless the leaves are from the tea plant -- camelia sinensis -- then it's not tea! That's right -- chamomile tea is NOT TEA. It's a chamomile "infusion" or "tisane".

You see, most people don't know that tea is an actual species of plant. However, the word has instead been used to describe any leaf or herb that's infused in hot water. But if it's not from the actual tea plant, then don't be fooled into thinking you're getting the antioxidants, polyphenols and other health benefits associated with true tea. While you may indeed get some benefits from infusions -- calm tummy from ginger, soothing mood from chamomile -- just please understand it's not tea. Keep this bit of knowledge on hand when shopping for your favorite teas!

3 Forms of Tea: Loose Leaf, Powdered or Tea Bag

While there are a variety of teas around the world to choose from, there are also a variety of forms that tea comes in. The main 3 forms of tea are loose leaf, powdered and tea bag. Let's look at each one:

Loose Leaf Tea -- This is usually much fresher, tastier and healthier for you than tea than tea that comes in a bag. The simple reason is that in most cases, you're getting the whole leaf as opposed to crushed up leaf portions that fill up most tea bags. Using the whole leaf imparts all the goodness of the true tea. Also, since it's usually only the online tea shops that carry loose leaf tea, you're likely to get fresher tea because they aren't generally plagued with the same inventory and turnover issues that can affect brick and mortar stores.

All your favorite teas come in the loose leaf form: black, oolong, green and white. You'll even find pu erh teas and herbs and flowers for making your infusions.

Powdered Tea -- The only reason I even list powdered tea is because of one form and one form only: matcha tea. But matcha tea is so unique and wonderful that it merits its own entry. Matcha is the traditional Japanese green tea used in chado, the Japanese tea ceremony. Made of of ground up tea leaves into a powdered form, it is traditionally whisked up into a froth before serving. This will likely be the only tea you find in powdered form, but it's truly one you should try.

Tea Bag -- Ah, the ubiquitous tea bag. The most common form of tea, at least in the United States, the tea bag is the most convenient way of getting yourself some camelia sinensis. Unfortunately, most of the tea that makes its way into bag form is of lesser quality and because it's been that way for so long, the standard of tea has been set quite low.

However, that is changing as there are now higher quality teas in tea bag form on supermarket shelves. Some have even changed the type of bag material, from different paper types to mesh bags that the leaves expand as needed to impart their flavor.

No matter the form of tea you choose, just experiment until you find a type and flavor you enjoy. There's no wrong way to drink tea!

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