quality-and-flavor

FRESHNESS

Freshness may matter more than you think. Studies suggest that tea (in fact, any fresh fruit or vegetable) may lose vitamins and antioxidants over time.

To keep tea fresh, we recommend:

  1. Always purchase tea from a trusted supplier to ensure you are getting the freshest crop possible.
  2. Avoid “fannings” or tea dust. Used in mass produced tea bags, fannings are the lowest grade of tea. Because it is in powdered form, the increased surface-to-air ratio in makes this grade of tea go stale much faster. Also, mass produced tea bags are almost always packaged in paper or plastic, which does little to preserve freshness.
  3. Store tea tightly sealed in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and strong odors. Do not refrigerate. Tea should never be stored in plastic, glass or paper. Although it is beautiful to look at, tea stored in glass containers will loose freshness and flavor within days. Also, tea easily absorbs scents around it. For this reason, we do not recommend storing tea in your spice cabinet.
  4. Whether you prefer hot or iced tea, always prepare it fresh. According to the USDA's report on the antioxidant content of fresh food, fresh iced tea may contain 20 times more atioxidants than bottled or canned iced teas.
  5. We typically recommend drinking tea within 1-2 years of purchase. Tea rarely goes bad, but it will loose freshness, flavor and contain less health benefits.

PROPER STORAGE
Teas, herbs and spices rarely go bad, however, as with any natural food product, it is possible. On very rare occasions, it is possible for tea (especially teas containing dried fruits or flowers) to spoil or attract mold or pests—especially if the tea is exposed to moisture or heat. For this reason, please do not refrigerate your tea—it will create condensation once returned to room temperature. Make sure there are no cracks in the seal or lid of tin containers. Also, avoid exposing tea to heat or sunlight.

At Octavia Tea, we pride ourselves on offering only the freshest, purest teas available. We blend our teas in small batches and our warehouse is equipped with the ideal temperature and moisture control systems to ensure you get the freshest tea possible.

Tea Garden in Sri Lanka (Ceylon)ceylon-tea-garden

Fresh tea has more antioxidants and a better flavor. To ensure you are getting the freshest tea possible, always buy from a trusted supplier, choose high-quality, whole-leaf teas (which stay fresh longer) and store tea properly.

Tea Garden in Darjeeling, Indiatea-plantation-asia

In order to mask changes in flavor for the lowest cost, large-scale tea companies typically combine teas from hundreds of gardens and regions. The downside is that blending tea on this scale destroys the unique characteristics of each different varietal.

ESTATE TEA

As an agricultural product, tea can vary slightly from year to year due to changes in climate, rainfall and other seasonal conditions. In order to mask changes in flavor for the lowest cost, large-scale tea companies typically combine teas from hundreds of gardens and regions. The downside is that blending tea on this scale destroys the unique characteristics of each different varietal, turning it into a single, monotonous beverage.

As a backlash to this practice, the new, vogue concept from continental Europe are Estate Teas, meaning that each tea that comes from a single garden or estate from a particular year. Both the individual tea gardens and their respective regions have recognizable styles and flavors, just as individual wineries differ both within, for example, Napa Valley and with other wine producing regions.

The traditional teas in the Octavia Tea line are considered Estate Teas because each is unique to a single garden that is famed for that specific type of tea.

BLENDED & SCENTED TEA

Any tea can be enhanced with herbs, spices, flowers, fruits, essential oils and flavors to create whimsical, imaginative blends. When done well, the addition of interesting, flavorful ingredients can bring out special characteristics unique to each tea.

The most well-known, classically flavored teas are: jasmine, chai and Earl Grey.

JASMINE TEA
Jasmine tea comes from tealeaves that are blended with fresh jasmine flowers in a traditional scenting process. The tea absorbs the natural essence of jasmine, even though the flowers are later removed. Jasmine tea originated in China and was popular as far back as the Song Dynasty (960-1270 AD). Traditional Chinese medicine recommends jasmine tea to decrease anxiety, increase circulation, aid digestion and break down saturated fat. With its intoxicating, floral aroma, jasmine tea is also considered a romance enhancer, helping all aspects of love.

A similar floral scenting process can be used with rose, lavender and osthmanthus (a delicate, Chinese flower with a lightly sweet fragrance also used in high-end perfumes).

CHAI (SPICED TEA)
Originating in India and recently gaining popular in the US, chai (which rhymes with “bye”) is a blend of rich black tea and aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, cardamon, clove, ginger and sometimes pepper.

Dried Herbs and Flowersdried-herbs-and-flowers
Any tea can be enhanced with herbs, spices, flowers, fruits, essential oils and flavors to create whimsical, imaginative blends. When done well, the addition of interesting, flavorful ingredients can bring out special characteristics unique to each tea.

Originally, poorer segments of society added spice to tea as a way to make their tea last longer. Today, drinking tea with added spice is considered trendy and quite gourmet! Spiced tea is so popular in India, the word "chai" actually means "tea" in Hindi, and is derived from the word “cha” which means tea in many eastern languages. Traditional chai is often served like a “latte”, simmered in water, milk and sugar.

EARL GREY
Earl Grey is a classic British tea and the most popular tea in the Western World. Earl Grey blends bold-flavored black tea with bergamot oil, which comes from a Mediterranean citrus fruit. Bergamot gives this rich, black tea a slightly flowery and sweet citrus aroma. Earl Grey dates back to the 19th Century Chinese-British trade of opium, silk, porcelain and tea.

gourmet-tea-in-dishes
Octavia Tea specializes in whimsical, imaginative blends made from only the best natural and organic ingredients.

NATURAL AND ORGANIC INGREDIENTS
Whenever considering blended, scented and aromatized teas, be sure that the essential oils and flavors used are natural … many companies use artificial flavors because they are cheaper.

At Octavia Tea, we specialize in offering an astounding selection of blended and aromatized teas made from only pure fruits, flowers, herbs, spices and 100% natural and organic essential oils and flavors.

For example, Jasmine Pearl is made by infusing hand-rolled tealeaves with fresh jasmine. It takes nearly 2,000 hand-plucked leaves to fill a single tin. After plucking, the leaves are layered with more than 10 times their weight in jasmine flowers, which bloom in the cool night air and leave behind their intoxicating fragrance. It takes more than 10 pounds of flowers to make 1 pound of jasmine tea. Although the jasmine flowers are removed from the final product, the sweet, soothing scent remains—absorbed in the leaves themselves. Jasmine Pearl is one of the world's finest delicacies and most prized teas.

Our twist on a traditional Chai tea, Harvest Orange Spice is made by balancing a brisk, rich broken-grade black tea (for added strength) with exotic spices—such as cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger. We then add pure essential oil of orange, which gives the final blend an added citrus note.

Explore more of our blended and scented teas by browsing in our online shop.


© 2014 Octavia Tea.