Where does tea come from?

Tea is made from the dried leaves of Camellia sinensis, the tea plant. Discovered in China thousands of years ago, it was recognized as having medicinal properties and since then has been consumed by the Chinese on a daily basis. Nowadays it is one of the world´s most famous beverages available in thousands of varieties and a wide range of amazing tastes and aromas.

 What teas can I buy in your store?

At Royal Tips Tea we offer a selection of high quality single origin and single estate teas from the most important tea growing regions. Processed in an artisan way and coming directly from small tea farms, our loose leaf teas will surprise you with their extraordinary and unique flavour characteristics. You can choose from our vibrant green teas, refreshing white teas, intense black teas, aromatic oolong teas, robust pu-erh teas and smooth yellow teas to make a perfect and cup of tea. At our tea shop you can also find premium tea blends and jasmine teas scented naturally with jasmine flowers.

What are single origin and single estate teas?

Single origin teas are teas that come from the same region or country, whereas singles estate teas are teas that have been grown on the same tea farm, or tea estate. These are the loose leaf teas in their purest form, unblended, totally natural and without any added aromas. We carefully select the highest quality single estate teas that will fill your cup with natural flavours developed during processing.

What are the 6 types of tea and the difference between them?

Although all tea comes from the same plant, it is categorised into 6 groups depending on the way it has been processed. Manufacturing steps and the order in which they are carried out will determine different levels of oxidation, according to which the teas will be classified into the following categories: white tea, green tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, black tea and dark teas (Pu-erh tea being the most famous of the dark teas).

What makes your tea special?

All our teas are evaluated and selected by qualified tea experts to ensure they deliver a truly unforgettable sensory experience to our customers. From each of the tea varieties we select the highest grade loose leaf teas that impress with their exceptional quality. Our teas come directly from small manufacturers and are packed into sealed bags to preserve their freshness and beneficial properties.

What are different grades of tea?

All teas are graded according to the leaf size (small particles, whole leaf, etc.), the plucking method (buds only, a bud and two leaves, etc.) and the type of manufacturing (machine or artisan), amongst others. The higher the grade, the more refined and fragrant will be the tea infusion and the more unique and complex its flavour profile.

Which tea tastes best?

From delicate and soft to robust and astringent - the world of tea is famous for its endless variety of aromas and tasting notes that are meant to provide a unique tea drinking experience. You can choose from different types of tea, origins and tea varieties to discover a perfect tea for any time of the day or a particular occasion. Finding the best tea for you is more a matter of taste and personal preference than anything else. But the quality of tea and the right way to brew the tea are essential to get the most flavour out of the tea leaves and to avoid bitterness and other undesirable tasting notes in the tea liquor.

How should I brew tea correctly?

Following the brewing guidelines for every tea is important to fully enjoy all the nuances of the tea’s flavour. You can only discover certain aromatic notes of the tea liquor when brewing the tea leaves at a correct temperature, for an indicated amount of time and using the correct amount of tea per cup. For more information please see our brewing instructions.

What determines the price of tea?

The price of tea can be influenced by multiple factors, such as the time of plucking, harvest type, kind of tea, elevation and origin, quality of processing, availability, etc. High quality loose leaf teas are not cheap as some of the plucking and processing is carried out manually using the highest grade tea leaves. Their special growing conditions allow them to build aromatic compounds that interact with each other during processing and create unique combinations of flavours. The more rare and hard to find the tea variety is, the more sought after it will be amongst tea enthusiasts, and this also increases the price of the tea. These compounds will be released during brewing, and the uniqueness and strength of the tea´s fragrance and taste will be predominant in assessing the tea´s quality and in determining its price.

Why does my tea taste bitter?

Some loose leaf tea varieties, such as premium green teas, are very delicate and should be brewed very carefully, otherwise they can become very astringent even if they are of high quality. When brewed correctly, they will deliver a sweet and pleasant infusion with bright green and nutty notes. Low quality green teas, however, tend to be very astringent and bitter with little taste complexity. When purchasing our loose leaf green teas you can be sure they are of high quality and will release their amazing flavours when infused according to our brewing guidelines.

Why does my tea taste plain?

Tea can taste plain and dull for the following reasons: - the leaves may not have been stored carefully and they may have lost their quality and freshness - the water used for brewing may have too much limescale, chlorine and other impurities and these may overwhelm the flavour and quality of the tea - too little tea has been used for brewing - the water used for brewing may have been too cool

How much caffeine is in tea?

Caffeine is a natural insecticide that is concentrated in the new leaves and leaf buds of the tea plant in order to protect them from insect attack. Certain factors affect the amount of caffeine in each plant (for example, the varietal of the plant, the altitude, whether or not the tea bushes have grown under shade, etc., etc.) but without testing every single tea we drink, it is impossible to know the exact level of caffeine in the dried leaves.

What does make a difference to the amount of caffeine in each cup of tea is the way in which the tea is brewed. The larger the amount of tea used, the hotter the water, and the longer the brew, the more caffeine will be drawn out of the leaf into the liquor. The smaller the amount of tea used, the cooler the water, and the shorter the brew, the less caffeine there will be in the liquor.

What are the benefits of drinking tea?

Drinking tea is not just a pleasant way to pass the time, but a good source of essential vitamins and minerals needed for our health. Tea has been used for medicinal purposes since the days of ancient China and today has been proved to help improve our immune system and help against a series of diseases due to its high content in polyphenols. Read more about the health properties of tea in our blog.

How much tea do I need per cup?

The general guideline for brewing tea is to use 2.5 - 3 grams to 200 ml of fresh, oxygenated water. This amount can be adjusted down for a lighter brew and up for a stronger brew.

How should I store tea?

Dried tea leaves are known to absorb off-flavours and moisture very quickly, so it is very important to store tea in an air-tight container to preserve its freshness and avoid any deterioration that can reduce its quality.

What are different methods of brewing tea?

There are currently two ways of brewing tea: a so called “western” method which involves brewing tea in a teapot from 1 to 4 minutes depending on the type of tea, and a Chinese “Gong Fu” style of tea brewing that allows multiple short tea infusions (up to 7 times), each one lasting for several seconds only. According to this way of brewing the tea it is possible to distinguish more nuances in the tea´s flavour profile and at the same time enjoy the brewing process that has evolved over the time to become an important part of a famous Gong Fu tea ceremony.

Which tea is the healthiest?

Green teas and white teas have a higher level of antioxidants which help to protect us against certain cancers. Oxidised teas appear to have a more powerful effect in helping our circulation and protecting us from heart disease, stroke, thrombosis, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). So the best advice is to drink a mixture of teas from all categories in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What is the difference between tea and infusion?

The word ‘tea’ should be used to mean an infusion made from the leaves and leaf buds of the tea plant, the Camellia sinensis. Although tea is brewed as an infusion in hot water, we call the liquor ‘tea’. The word ‘infusion’ or ‘tisane’ is used for any other brew made using the different parts of different plants - for example camomile flowers, mint leaves, fennel stems and seeds, rooibos leaves and stems, rosehips, hibiscus flowers, nettle leaves, lemon grass, berries, the skin or flesh of fruits, etc. These infusions are not made from the tea plant and so should not be called ‘tea’.

Can I add milk and sugar to my tea?

Stronger black teas are often drunk with milk, which softens the brisk, sometimes astringent and slightly bitter flavours of such teas. We recommend that you try each individual tea before adding milk or sugar or honey etc. These additional ingredients tend to drown the true flavour and aroma of the tea. And you may find that you enjoy the tea without any milk or sugar.