Teamaking 101

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

If you were to look, you’d find legends for nearly every variety of tea throughout the east. It’s been steamed and ground into powder, plucked and pan-fried, oxidized and aged deep inside caves. It was a beverage suitable for rulers and only after trade boomed did it start to spread far and wide until we come to where we are today.

Despite this vast history, tea is a relatively new fad this side of the world, and very few people know much about it. Studies are being done to show all the health benefits of green tea, pu-erh, and the like, but these are tidbits of knowledge that have many cultures smiling our way and saying, “we tried to tell you.”

There has been a small setback with this trend and that is, people want tea. You might be thinking, well that’s a good thing, isn’t it? I’d have to agree to an extent, but because the industry focuses so much on the benefits and so little on everything else, what can be an indulgent, potentially life-changing daily ritual, has many people pinching their noses and throwing it back like medicine.

Every type of tea has unique characteristics and qualities. The leaves can be picky, and to get it right there’s a bit of know-how that goes into it. I’m going to cover a few tricks to help make sure you can enjoy a near perfect pot of your favorite tea.

Green and White Tea

Specially selected early in the morning fresh white tea leaves spread curing in bamboo basket tray after harvest.Chinese silver needle white tea of premium quality. Tea orchard in the background.

Green tea tends to be the most notorious for being bad, bitter tea and that’s usually because it can be the most finicky when it comes to brewing it. Green tea can be popularly categorized in two. On the one hand, we have Chinese green tea which is harvested, pan-fried and quickly dried to prevent oxidation. Then, there’s Japanese green tea which is harvested, steamed and quickly dried. Chinese green teas are often a bit sweeter and more fragrant while Japanese green teas tend to be a deeper green color and have a grassy taste.

One of my favorite green teas is our Snow Jasmine. It’s a sweet green tea that’s very fragrant and easy to brew. But the Starfruit green is one of our most popular summer drinks. We blend some tropical fruit in with a delicate Chinese green tea. It makes a refreshing and tantalizing cup.

To make the best cup of green tea, you want to make sure to use hot water that’s at most 170. A good way to tell this without a thermometer is to keep an eye on the bubbles forming at the bottom of the pot. If they’re small and a few are starting to zig-zag to the surface, that’s perfect.

You also want to keep an eye on the time it steeps for. Green tea is great for many infusions, but you only want to steep it for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

White tea, on the other hand, is primarily a Chinese tea. It tends to be sweeter and much more delicate than green tea. That’s because white tea is made from the soft, new buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant – the tea plant. It’s quickly pan fried to prevent oxidation and then dried. Because the leaves are so young it tends to be delicate and boiled water will scorch the dried leaves. For this reason, like green tea, you want to use water at about 170. Unlike green teas, many white teas won’t get overly bitter if left to steep for long periods of time.

One of our most popular white teas is our Pink Cherry Cider. We blend our silver needle with a collection of fruits to make a pot that’s subtly sweet all on its own.

Oolong Tea

oolong green tea in olive bowl

Oolong tea tends to be the most complex flavor wise. It’s designed for multiple infusions, and for having a gradually maturing flavor as the infusions progress, and the leaves fully open. You can use fully-boiled water with this tea and steep it for about three minutes every time. Some have a tendency to get bitter, so keep an eye on it.

My favorite Oolong is our Buddha’s Favor, also known as Ti Kuan Yin. If you want to know the legend behind it, click the link here. But, by far the crowd favorite had been our Blackberry Oolong. We mix premium rolled oolong leaves with dried blackberries, elderberries and more to make a deep red elixir. It’s sweet and tangy and fantastic iced.

Black Tea


Black teas are typically very strong and dark teas. The leaves have been fully oxidized after harvesting which gives the leaves their dark color and flavor. You can use boiled water but only steep it for two minutes. Some black teas can get very bitter if over infused. Our Keemun is a traditional Chinese black tea. If you want to learn more about it, you can read a little here. It’s a robust black tea with some nutty, chocolate notes and pairs wonderfully with warm milk and honey.


Black pu-erh tea

Pu-erh tea is one I consider to be right up there with herbal teas in terms of how easy it is to brew, especially if you like your tea as strong as I do. This is a fermented tea that actually came about by happy accident.

You can use fully-boiled water. Pu-erh is a dark tea without much of the bitterness and astringency of a black tea. Some can get bitter if left in the water too long, but I find a good quality of pu-erh will often get deeper and darker the longer it steeps. If you want more infusions out of it (and this tea can go for a long time,) then steep it for about four minutes before removing the leaves.

I prefer classic pu-erh blocks myself. I can’t resist the deep woodsy notes and the full mouth flavor. Our Strawberry Slim comes in at a close second. The strawberries give you a slash of summer flavor that’s mellowed out by the lingering effect of pu-erh tea.

Herbal Tea

Cup of herbal tea

Most people think boiled water when it comes to Herbal teas, but did you know some are prone to burning the same way a white tea would? When you have an herbal tea with lots of flowers it’s best to use under boiled water like with white or green tea. The good thing is, it’s difficult to make a bad cup of herbal tea. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the flavor.

A few more tricks for the road

One of the biggest downsides to tea bags and tea balls if the lack of room the leaves have to move around. Tea likes to breathe and it likes movement. You’ll get the best flavor by steeping your tea in a pot where it can move, and to stir the leaves around while it’s steeping.

For Iced tea, the trick is to make a tea concentrate first. You add a heaping tablespoon of leaves to the pot and steep it in about half the amount of water you normally would use before pouring it over a cup full of it. That way, when the ice melts, it’ll dilute the concentrate and give you a fully flavorful cup of refreshing iced tea.

If you have any questions about tea leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer! We sell our teas online too, just click this link here to visit our website and check it out.

~Tea Barista

Tea Recipes

4TH of July Tea Cocktail: Berry Bliss

IMG_3115July is a wonderful time of year! We get to enjoy gorgeous weather, the outdoors, berry picking, cookouts with family & friends, and of course The Fourth of July!

We have a delicious & hydrating tea cocktail recipe to help you celebrate called, BERRY BLISS! It’s a blend of two popular summer teas Blueberry Silver, & Strawberry Slim Pu-erh. Whether you’re having a BBQ or heading to the beach, this drink is easy & simple to make.

It offers a rich berry flavor, plus health benefits like: antioxidants, vitamins, boosting metabolism, & detoxifying the body!

Making this recipe is EASY! The first step can be done the night before…

BSN picnic

Step One:

  • In a gallon sized iced tea pitcher add 7 TSP of both Blueberry Silver & Strawberry Slim
  • Fill pitcher half-way with room temperature water
  • Dissolve 3/4 cup of honey in 1 cup of boiling water & add to pitcher
  • Fill rest of pitcher with room temperature water
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight)



  • 6 oz. Berry Bliss Tea blend (see preparation above)
  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • Ice
  • Fresh lemon, mint or berries for garnish


  1. Fill 16 oz glass with ice.
  2. Add vodka, followed by tea and stir well.
  3. Garnish with a lemon wedge, fresh mint or berries
  4. ENJOY & please drink responsibly




Tea Recipes

Raspberry Truffle Late: A Valentine’s Day Treat

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Raspberry Truffle Latte

Green Teahouse favorite house blend, a mixture of Raspberry & Cocoa Pu-erh. It tastes just like a decadent truffle! Pu-erh tea is a great tea for boosting your metabolism, detoxifying, & lowering blood pressure. It is also low in caffeine, it has about 3-8% the caffeine of coffee, so it can be enjoyed throughout the day.

If you’re looking for any last minute Valentine’s Day gifts shop with us in-stores in Blue Back Square. We have a lovely gift box with an ounce of Raspberry & Cocoa Pu-erh, and a Raspberry Truffle recipe card too. It’s a perfect gift for the tea lover in your life! Enjoy the Raspberry Truffle recipe below.

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Raspberry Truffle Gift Box ($25)



  • 1 TBSP Raspberry Pu-erh
  • 1 TSP Cocoa Pu-erh
  • 2 TBSP milk


  1. Add tea mixture to 16 oz of hot water (8 oz for iced tea)
  2. Steep for 3 minutes
  3. Sweeten to taste (we recommend 1.5 TBSP)
  4. Froth milk & add to tea
  5. Enjoy!

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Infuse Your Life with Health

With the beginning of a new year many of us are looking for a fresh & healthy start. If your goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, drinking tea is great place to start.  There are many different types of loose leaf teas that can help with detoxing, weight-loss, boosting immune system & more. The guide below will help you choose which teas are right for you. Enjoy!

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“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward,” – Chinese Proverb


OOLONG TEA: (15-25% caffeine)

  • Boosts Metabolism – increases process of lipolysis which allows body to burn more fat
  • Lowers Cholesterol – contains properties that lower triglycerides
  • Combats free radicals – slows down aging process
  • Improves oral health – inhibits growth of bacteria & fights tooth decay
  • Detoxing/Improves digestion – rich in antioxidant polyphenol which lowers risk of diabetes, detoxifies, & aids digestion

GREEN TEA: (10-20% caffeine)

  • Improves exercise endurance – catechins in green tea make the body use carbohydrates at a slower rate allowing you to workout longer
  • Reduces fat – polyphenols help the body dissolve excess fat
  • Boosts metabolism – Epigallocatechin (potent antioxidant) stimulates metabolism & increases weight loss process
  • Reduces stress – amino acid theanine provides relaxing & tranquilizing effect on nerves
  • Regulates Insulin – inhibits the movement of glucose in fat cells & prevents sharp increase in insulin levels

PU-ERH TEA: (‘poo-air’) (3-8% caffeine)

  • Detoxing  – compounds produced from puerh tea’s fermentation process remove toxins from the bloodstream
  • Aids Digestion – increases healthy bacteria flora in the stomach & intestines *A great tea to have after heavy meals*
  • Aids Weight Loss  – suppresses fatty acid synthesis & blocks body from producing more fat
  • Cleansing – enhances level of hormone sensitive lipase (HSL) which is an enzyme that unlocks & empties fatty cells
  • Lowers Cholesterol – lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) & increases HDL (good cholesterol)

WHITE TEA: (1-5% caffeine)

  • Antioxidant Rich – white tea is dried naturally in sunlight which makes it rich in polyphenols
  •  Aids Weight Loss – simultaneously increases the breakdown of fat & blocks formation of fatty cells, & helps liver turn fat into energy
  • Boosts Immune System – contains anti-viral & anti-bacterial properties

BLACK TEA: (5-15% caffeine)

  • Improves Cardiovascular Health – the flavonoids prevent damage to blood stream, prevents blood clots, & lowers risk of heart disease
  • Stimulates Nervous System – its lower amount of caffeine promote blood flow to brain, improve mental awareness & concentration
  • Aids Digestion – the tannins in black tea combat gastric & intestinal illness, and reduce intestinal inflammation

ROOIBOS TEA: (caffeine free)

  • Relieves Stress & Tension – contains naturally soothing properties that promote relaxation, & improve quality of sleep
  • Nutrient Rich – rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, & iron
  • Anti-Inflammatory – rich in polyphenol antioxidants which fight free radicals, & have natural anti-inflammatory properties

If you are seeking to live a healthier lifestyle this year, incorporating tea into your daily routine is extremely beneficial. Tea has been used for centuries as a natural way to promote health & wellness. Infuse your life with the benefits of tea!





Nutrition Facts

All About Chai: The Herbal Delight That Warms You Up!

Whether you’re a tea novice or an herbal infusions connoisseur, most tea drinkers have at least heard the word chai. You can get a chai latté at the local coffeeshop, order a rooibos chai at a restaurant, and even buy chai incense. But what exactly is chai?

Caramel Cider Chai“Chai” is the word for “tea” is different languages across the globe: Russian, Slovak, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, and Hindi. When we talk about chai in the states, however, we’re referring to any of a variety of Indian spice mixtures. The most common chai spices are probably ginger and cardamom, both native to India, but many spices that have been naturalized in South Asia (i.e. cinnamon, fennel, anise, clove, and peppercorn) help to make up the mélange of flavors that creates chai tea.

Ginger, cardamom, and star anise have enjoyed a long history of use in traditional Asian medicine as cures for nausea, stomach pain, digestion issues, and gallstones. Cinnamon has been documented to have special antiviral properties (and it’s been suggested by nutritionists that regular cinnamon intake can curb the risk factors for people with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases), and clove is often used as a home remedy for numbing nerve pain.

As far as taste goes, cinnamon and ginger lay a spicy, autumnal foundation, while clove and star anise add sweet notes of licorice to the tea in which they’re brewed. When green cardamom pods sit in water, the seeds they expel give off a minty aroma, reminiscent of pine. Combining these spices will provide your drink with plenty of fall flavor!Golden Autumn Chai

The Green Teahouse carries several varieties of chai tea, ranging from spicy to sweet:
For a more traditional spicy beverage, this author recommends Masala Chai, a classic Indian black tea with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and black pepper. The smooth richness of the black tea makes for a perfect base on which the spices rest. Milk is sometimes added to give the tea more body. A similar (but perhaps more advanced) tea would be the Golden Autumn Chai, which contains the same masala spices, with the added ingredients of Taiwanese, honey-roasted black tea and vanilla extract. And if you need an energy boost, try Chocolate Chai, a South American maté (high-caffeine herbal tea) with organic black and pu-erh tea mixed in for smoothness. Vanilla bean, coconut flakes, and cocoa nibs are added to mask the astringency of the caffeine.

Sweet Apple Chai

If you like a sweeter tea, you can’t go wrong with Caramel Cider Chai, a black & rooibos blend with masala spices, orange peel, and caramel bits. The citrus peels ensure a deliciously fruity/spicy cup of tea. If you’re looking for more autumnal aromas, however, Sweet Apple Chai is your drink. It has more black tea than herbal rooibos per volume, so you’re getting a darker cup complimented with a heaping portion of apple bits to give you a real taste of fall in New England. If you want a completely caffeine-free chai, however, go with the Vanilla Cream Chai– it possesses the familiar ginger, cinnamon, clove, citrus pieces, and vanilla that are used in the other chais, without any black tea whatsoever.

Whether your tastes are subtle, spicy, or sweet, The Green Teahouse has a chai for you!