Green Tea vs. Black Tea: What’s the Difference?

Since you’re visiting this site, you’re probably well aware that tea is one of the world’s most popular beverages, and it comes in many different varieties. Two of the most well-known types are green tea and black tea. Both are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, but they differ in their processing methods, flavour, and health benefits. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between green tea and black tea and help you decide which one is right for you.

Processing Methods

Green tea and black tea are made from the same plant, but the difference lies in the processing methods. Green tea is made from un-oxidized leaves, while black tea is made from fully oxidized leaves.

Green tea leaves are picked, steamed or pan-fired, and then dried. This process preserves many of the natural antioxidants and polyphenols in the tea leaves, making green tea a fresh-tasting, healthy option.

Black tea leaves, on the other hand, undergo a series of processes that involve withering, rolling, oxidizing, and drying. This process gives black tea its characteristic flavour and aroma, but can also reduce the amount of antioxidants and polyphenols in the tea leaves.


Green tea and black tea have distinct flavours and aromas. Green tea tends to have a lighter, refreshing taste with a grassy or vegetal flavour. This can range from a delicate floral aroma, to heavy seaweed or dark green vegetable flavours, and it can also have hints of sweetness or nuttiness, depending on the variety. When steeping a green tea, remember that the leaves are more delicate than black teas — follow the time and temperature instructions to ensure that your tea doesn’t get bitter (unless, of course, you like a strong bitter green tea… in which case, go nuts!).

Black tea, on the other hand, tends to have a richer, deeper flavour and a darker red-brown colour in the cup. It can have notes of fruit, spice, or even chocolate, depending on the variety. Black tea is often served with lemon or with milk and/or sugar depending on personal — or cultural — preferences.

Health Benefits

Green tea and black tea both have health benefits, but they differ in their specific properties. Green tea is known for its high antioxidant content, which can help protect the body against free radicals and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Many of the health studies around tea are based on green tea, so there’s more research and data on the health benefits of green tea than black tea.

Black tea is rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can help improve heart health and reduce the risk of stroke.

Green and black teas are both a natural source of caffeine, which can help improve mental alertness. A typical cup of tea has about 1/3 the amount of caffeine that you would find in the same size cup of coffee – but of course this can vary depending on the growing conditions and specific variety of tea and/or coffee, as well as the brewing methods used. In addition to caffeine, tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that helps provide a calming and regulating effect. This combination of caffeine and L-theanine is one of the reasons that many people find that tea provides a sense of alert concentration, while coffee gives them caffeine jitters (myself very much included).

Choosing the Right Tea

So, which tea should you choose? It really depends on your personal taste and health goals.

If you’re looking for a refreshing beverage that’s packed with antioxidants, green tea is the way to go. Green tea is a great choice for those who want to improve their overall health and reduce their risk of chronic diseases.

If you’re looking for a bold, robust flavour that might have more of a kick, black tea is the way to go.

No matter which tea you choose, be sure to enjoy it in moderation as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Both green tea and black tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, with or without milk and sugar, and are a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day. So why not try both and see which one you prefer? Or, better yet, don’t choose one or the other: drink either one whenever you want to! (You can even mix them… check out this blog post to learn more about blending teas!)

Tea Blending: The Art and Science of Crafting the Perfect Cuppa

Tea blending is the process of combining different teas, herbs, and spices to create a unique blend with a specific taste and aroma. For tea lovers, blending tea is not just about mixing different ingredients together but rather an art form that requires skill, patience, and a deep understanding of the various flavors and characteristics of each tea.

At Proper Cuppa Tea, we believe that tea blending is an essential part of the tea experience. It allows tea drinkers to customize their tea to suit their taste preferences and mood. With our Tea Blending Kit, you can now explore the world of tea blending and create your own unique blends at home.

The Science of Tea Blending

Tea blending is both an art and a science. It requires a deep understanding of the various teas, herbs, and spices, their characteristics, and how they interact with each other. Tea blenders need to understand the different types of tea, including black, green, white, and oolong, and the various flavor profiles associated with each type.

They also need to know how to balance the flavors and aromas of different teas, herbs, and spices to create a blend that is not only delicious but also visually appealing. This is where the science of tea blending comes in.

Tea blending involves experimenting with different combinations of teas, herbs, and spices and adjusting the proportions to achieve the desired taste and aroma. Tea blenders need to have a keen sense of taste and smell and be able to discern subtle differences in flavor and aroma.

The Art of Tea Blending

Tea blending is not just a science but also an art form. It requires creativity, imagination, and a deep appreciation for the beauty and complexity of tea. A skilled tea blender can create a blend that is not only delicious but also tells a story, evokes an emotion, or transports the drinker to another time or place.

Tea blending is a highly personal and subjective art form, and no two tea blends are alike. It is a reflection of the tea blender’s personality, taste preferences, and creativity. A tea blend can be simple or complex, traditional or avant-garde, but it should always be a reflection of the tea blender’s vision and passion.

Create Your Own Tea Blend with Proper Cuppa Tea

At Proper Cuppa Tea, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to create their own unique tea blend. That’s why we created our Tea Blending Kit, which includes everything you need to get started on your tea blending journey.

Our kit includes a selection of 6 expertly-selected premium teas, lavender petals, as well as a guide that provides information on the various teas and how to create your own blend. With our Tea Blending Kit, you can experiment with different combinations of ingredients and create a blend that is tailored to your taste preferences.

How much caffeine is there in tea?

This is one of the most common and most hotly debated topics in the world of tea.

Unfortunately, the only answer that we can give here – as frustrating as it may be – is: it depends.

Predicting the exact amount of caffeine in a particular tea is very difficult – as it will vary from cup to cup. That’s because the amount of caffeine in tea depends on many factors, including:

  • Type of tea
  • Growing conditions of the tea plant
  • Tea to water ratio
  • Presence of other ingredients (in a tea blend)
  • Serving size
  • When and how the tea leaves were picked
  • How the tea leaves were processed

Because of these variables, the only way to tell exactly how much caffeine is in a given cup of tea is to perform a lab test on that exact cup.

That said, there are some rules of thumb that we can consider to determine the amount of caffeine in a tea or tea blend. Let’s take a look!


coffee vs tea - tic tac toe

Does tea have more caffeine than coffee?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: In the age-old debate of tea vs coffee, we know that tea has a lower caffeine content. But how much lower? According to the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada, a cup of tea typically has about 1/3 of the amount of caffeine found in a similar size cup of coffee.

However, there is more caffeine in a kilo of dry tea leaves than there is in a kilo of coffee beans. The difference – once you get to your final cup – is that you use about a teaspoon (2.5g) of tea per cup, whereas you use A LOT more coffee beans to make a cup of coffee. If you’re a coffee + tea household, think about how many bags of coffee you go through in a month vs how many equal weight bags of tea!


Green tea

Does green tea have caffeine? What about white tea?

Short answer: OMG YES.

Long answer: It is a common (and irritating… can you tell?) myth that green tea and white tea are caffeine-free or low in caffeine.

White and green tea (along with oolong) come from the same plant as black tea – Camellia sinensis – and they all contain caffeine. The difference that you see in the leaves in your tea cupboard comes from how they are processed:

  • White tea is simply picked and dried. Although it has a reputation for being lower in caffeine, some white teas, once brewed, actually have higher caffeine levels than other teas.
  • Green tea is preserved through a heat process such as steaming or pan firing (kind of like cooking broccoli). For a number of reasons, a cup of green tea will, on average, have slightly less caffeine than a cup of black tea, BUT it’s possible to find green teas with more caffeine than some black teas.
  • Black tea is fully oxidized: basically this means that the tea leaves are bumped and bruised and left to turn brown before it’s dried into tea – this allows a chemical process to take place inside the cell walls and also changes the way the tea is extracted from the leaves when brewed.

There are thousands of different white, green and black teas – not to mention oolong, yellow, puerh and even purple teas. They’re grown and harvested under different conditions around the world, so even grouping them by category is an oversimplification. Learn more about different kinds of tea in Sarah’s Tea 101 course on Udemy (some of the modules are free!).

Cup of chai


Does chai tea have caffeine?

Short answer: yes, and please just call it chai.

Long answer: Traditional chai (chai means tea, so if you say chai tea you’re saying tea tea) is made with hot milk, a sweetener, spices and black tea. Unless it is made specifically with decaffeinated black tea (which has gone through a chemical process to have the caffeine dissolved out of the tea leaf), there is caffeine in chai.

However: a teaspoon of chai is likely to contain less caffeine than a teaspoon of an unblended black tea, because a portion of the chai spoonful is made up of spices… leaving less room for tea. A good chai blend can be 50% (or more) spices! Depending on how you make your chai, this could reduce the amount of caffeine in your cuppa.

If you want to make caffeine-free chai, choose an option with a herbal base, such as rooibos: easy and delicious!


Herbal tea

Does herbal tea have caffeine?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: Tea people call anything that doesn’t come from the Camellia sinensis plant a herbal tea or tisane. Almost all herbal teas are caffeine-free. This includes common herbals such as:

  • Peppermint
  • Chamomile
  • Rooibos
  • Hibiscus blends
  • Fruit blends

There are some notable exceptions to the ‘caffeine free’ herbal rule. Three herbals that naturally contain caffeine (and sometimes a lot of it) are:

  • Yerba Mate – a staple beverage in South America
  • Yaupon, a plant native to the southern USA
  • Coffee leaf tea, which is literally made by brewing the leaves of the coffee plant

Why does tea have less of a jolt than coffee?

Short answer: L-theanine.

Long answer: You might call it a buzz (nice) or the jitters (not nice), depending on how you experience coffee! The fact is that most people react to coffee differently than they do to tea. Yes, this is partly due to the fact that there’s more caffeine in a cup coffee than in a cup of tea, but the other factor is L-theanine. In a cup of tea, the two components work together: caffeine is a stimulant, providing alertness and energy, while L-theanine helps you stay calm, cool and collected. Together, they provide a sustained alertness and focus that not everyone can attain after a cup of coffee. (Can you tell there’s personal experience talking here? Bzzzzz.)

A special example to raise when discussing the tea vs coffee jolt is matcha. Matcha is made from finely ground green tea leaves (yup – Camellia sinensis again) – so when you drink a cup of matcha you’re actually consuming the whole tea leaf. This means that a typical bowl of matcha (or matcha latte) will have nearly as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. However, the combined presence of caffeine and L-theanine is the reason that Buddhist monks have used matcha for centuries as part of their meditative practices: it provides calm, focused alertness.

Can I drink tea before bed?

Short answer: yeah! You do you.

Long answer: Everyone reacts differently to caffeine. Some people (and you can see trends of this in some tea-loving cultures) are able to enjoy a big mug of green tea or pot of Earl Grey black tea as a wind-down before they drift off to sleep… but for others, even a whisper of caffeine after 4pm spells disaster for their night time. If this is you – stick to caffeine-free herbals before bed – and don’t get sucked into the “white/green tea doesn’t really have caffeine” trap.

You know yourself best: if you find a cup of a certain tea to be more soothing and calming than the next – drink what works for you, when it works for you!

To sum it up…

While it’s frustratingly simplistic, the main messages here are:

  • Tea, if it comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, naturally contains caffeine
  • In general, a cup of steeped tea will contain about 1/3 of the caffeine found in coffee
  • Matcha is an exception, and contains almost as much caffeine as in coffee
  • Due to the balancing effect of L-theanine in tea (including matcha), tea provides a more calm alertness compared to coffee jitters
  • Everyone has a different personal preference, tolerance and reaction to caffeine – so find what works for you!

How To Make Loose Leaf Tea

Loose leaf tea brewing infographic

What is the difference between loose leaf tea and tea bags?

The main difference between loose leaf tea and tea bags, other than the fact that tea bags come inside a bag (duh!), is the size of tea that is used (also known as ‘grade’).

When loose leaf tea is being processed from a fresh leaf to dried tea, it is treated in a way that keeps the leaf whole as much as possible. When steeped, loose leaf tea (also called ‘whole leaf’ or ‘orthodox’) typically gives a nuanced, often lighter or more delicate cup of tea.

Tea bags are generally made from smaller pieces of tea – either the broken and crushed leaves from loose leaf tea (you might hear the term ‘fannings’ associated to these) or through a deliberate process called Cut, Tear and Curl or Crush, Tear and Curl (CTC). CTC is a process designed to basically chop tea leaves into very even small pieces, so that when it’s steeped, it brews faster and you can extract as much flavour as possible out of tea leaves. This gives you a strong cuppa in less time, but the tea can lose some of the nuanced flavour notes that you can find in loose leaf tea.

NOTE: You will often hear that the tea used in tea bags is called “low-grade”, which can be interpreted as bad or low quality. But in tea processing, low-grade simply refers to the size of the tea leaves! Everyone enjoys their cup of tea a little differently, so there’s no judgment whether you prefer a quick, strong cuppa from a tea bag, or the slower-brewing, refined flavour from loose leaf tea. Or if you switch between them throughout the day!

Ok, now that that’s out of the way let’s get back to our main question.

How to brew loose leaf tea: a step-by-step guide

What you’ll need:

  • Loose leaf tea: from herbal to oolong or anything in between.
  • Cup, mug, or teapot: you’ll need something to brew and enjoy your tea in.
  • Tea infuser or filter: your teapot might come with an infuser built in, or you can find paper tea filters or an infuser to keep those pesky leaves out of your final brew.
  • A kettle: to heat your water. If you don’t have a kettle, you can also heat up water in a pot on the stove.
  • Tea scoop, teaspoon or scale: using a consistent measure will help make your tea perfect (for your taste!) every time.

How to brew loose leaf tea

1. Heat the water

However you are heating your water, it’s always nice to start with cold, filtered water. But in practice, we all turn on the cold water on tap and fill our kettle, which is great too. Why make tea stressful?

The most important thing about heating the water is the temperature. Based on the kind of tea you are brewing, the ideal water temperature will change. Here’s a handy little water temperature guideline for different kinds of teas:

Tea typeVisual temperatureWater temperature (Celsius)Water temperature (Fahrenheit)Brewing time
Black teaFull bubbling boil100°C212°F3 to 5 mins
Green teaSteaming79 to 82°C175 to 180°F2 to 3 mins
White teaSteaming79 to 82°C175 to 180°F2 to 3 mins
OolongHeavy steam (almost bubbling)90°C195°F2 to 3 mins
Pu-erhFull bubbling boil100°C212°F4 to 5 mins
Herbal teaGentle bubbling88 to 100°C190 to 212°F4 to 5 mins
RooibosFull bubbling boil100°C212°F4 to 5 mins

If you brew something like black tea at a lower temperature, the flavours won’t extract well and you’ll end up with a weak (dishwater-y) cup. On the other hand, if you brew a green tea in water that’s too hot it will be easily over-extracted and taste harsh and bitter.

Of course not everyone has a fancy kettle and thermometer system. Don’t fret! People have literally been making tea for over 4500 years. Just watch your water as it is heating up inside the kettle or pot. Depending on the kind of tea you are brewing, the water might be ready when it starts to steam, bubbles gently or is madly bubbling and boiling.

2. Measure the tea leaves

The rule of thumb* when measuring your tea is 1 teaspoon (2g) of loose-leaf tea per 6 ounces of water – one smallish teacup. Having said that, this is not set in stone and you should definitely experiment with different amounts to achieve the strength you want. Using a larger mug? Make that teaspoon heaped or add an extra pinch. Remember that it is all about personal taste and there is more than one way to make a perfect cuppa.

Tea measurement guidelines

  • Black tea: 1 level tsp. (2g) per 6 oz.
  • Green tea: 1 level tsp. (2g) per 6 oz.
  • White tea: 1 heaping tsp. (2g) per 6 oz. *White tea is fluffy so you need a bit more!
  • Oolong: 1 level tsp. (2g) per 6 oz.
  • Pu-erh: 1 level tsp. (2g) per 6 oz.
  • Herbal tea: 1 heaping tsp. (2g) per 6 oz.
  • Rooibos: 1 level tsp. (2g) per 6 oz.

3. Infuse the tea

Once the water is at the desired temperature, it is time to infuse the tea leaves. Generally, it’s a better idea to pour the hot water over tea leaves instead of spooning tea leaves into hot water. This way you can be sure that the tea leaves are totally saturated to steep evenly and get the most flavour out of them.

If you’re choosing an infuser or tea filter, remember that loose leaf tea expands! The best infusers are the ones that allow the tea leaves to float around and for water to get all around them.

4. Wait for it…

Yes, wait! Don’t add your sugar or milk just yet – it will slow down or stop the steeping process! A perfect cuppa takes a little bit of patience.

The biggest question in this step is how long should you steep your tea?

Once again, the answer is “it depends”. The type of tea you are brewing will determine the amount of time you need to steep. Some teas require longer steep time to get the most out of the tea leaves while others can get bitter if left for too long. Refer to the table above for the ideal brewing time for each kind of tea. You can use this as a starting point and then find the right amount of brewing time for your own palate.

5. Remove the tea leaves

Once the tea has finished steeping, it is important that you remove the tea leaves from the pot or cup (yet another reason to use an infuser or tea filter!). Leaving the tea leaves in for too long can result in a bitter taste that may not be very pleasant.

6. Learn the rules, then break them

Making a perfect cuppa is as much art as it is science. Since everyone’s preferences are different — find out what works for you!

For example, I don’t like peppermint tea steeped for 4 minutes. I leave it for maybe 1 (and sometimes just do a cold brew directly from the tap). But I like to add milk to my black tea so I very often let it steep the full 4 minutes (or 5 or 6, or 15 if I forget and come racing back – can’t waste a cup of tea). Similar with rooibos: I find it can easily steep for 5-10 minutes and it never becomes bitter.

If you’re drinking a tea that is blended, you might also need to adjust the rules a little. For example, a tea that has green and black teas blended together might be trickier than something that is straight green or black. Try a time and temperature in between the two and then adjust based on what works. Or if you’re brewing a chai that has lots of spices, you might want to steep that tea for longer and at a hotter temperature (even simmer it on the stove) to really extract the flavour from the spices – especially if you’re planning to add some milk and sugar, which will offset any bitterness that might come out of the tea leaves.

*According to the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada

Easy Iced Tea + Iced Tea Latte Recipe

It’s summer, and it is HOT outside! Across Canada, there’s a heatwave that’s breaking all kinds of records this year. Drinking hot tea is a year-round habit in many hot countries (including Turkey)… but while I like my morning cuppa hot in all seasons, sometimes one just needs to chill. And iced tea is a great way to do it!

Water, of course, is necessary for hydration – especially when it gets hot outside. But luckily for us tea lovers, unsweetened tea is also recommended by Canada’s Food Guide as a healthy drink choice. Make that tea extra refreshing by putting it on ice.

Proper Cuppa Iced Tea Latte

How to brew iced tea

There are two main methods for brewing iced tea: cold infusion and hot steeping.

Cold infusion works best with more delicate teas like green tea or fruity herbal blends that contain ingredients like peppermint, lemongrass and hibiscus. And it’s super simple! In a pitcher, simply add a heaping teaspoon (about 2.5g) of loose leaf tea per serving, fill with cold water, and refrigerate for anywhere from 2-24 hours depending on the tea. This might take a little trial and error to perfect, but the benefit of cold brew is that it prevents tea from getting bitter, even if it’s a bit over-steeped. Once your cold tea is infused to perfection, simply pour and serve – garnishing as you wish with ice, mint or fruit.

Hot steeping is the best method for black teas – or when you want your iced tea RIGHT NOW. In this method, STEP 1 is to pour boiling water over your tea leaves and allow to steep for about 4 minutes as you normally would: but be sure to brew the tea double-strength (so either 2x the tea leaves or half the normal amount of water). This is so that in STEP 2, when you pour the hot, strong tea over ice, the melted ice dilutes the tea back to regular strength.

This past June, the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada celebrated Iced Tea Month with a live video series called Iced Tea’V’. The series featured all kinds of iced tea tips and recipes from tea experts from across the country. Proper Cuppa was asked to provide a segment for this series – so we developed and demonstrated a recipe for Extra Creamy Iced Lavender Earl Grey.

Proper Cuppa Lavender Earl Grey Vanilla Iced Tea Latte

Here’s the recipe* (makes 2 servings):

  • 4g Earl Grey
  • 6g Vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp Lavender Petals (to taste!)
  • Boiling hot water
  • Ice
  • Maple Syrup to taste
  • Milk or alternative (we used unsweetened vanilla oat milk)

In an iced tea latte, you’re not only diluting your hot brew tea over ice – you’re diluting it again by adding milk. So brew your Earl Grey + Vanilla + Lavender petals into a hot tea that is 4x the normal strength, allowing a 4-5 minute steep. Fill your serving glasses with ice and strain the steeped tea over the ice until the glasses are 2/3 to 3/4 full. Sweeten with maple syrup to taste (maple syrup is extra delicious with vanilla), and top with milk. Enjoy!

Proper Cuppa Lavender Earl Grey Vanilla Iced Tea Latte Recipe

Watch Sarah’s Iced Tea’V’ demo here!

In this recipe, the vanilla tea provides a creamy note that is turned up by the maple syrup, and then taken to another level with the vanilla oat milk. The Earl Grey and lavender provide a really soothing aroma. So the combination of everything together makes a delicious, cold treat.

Developing your own iced tea recipes? We’d love to hear from you! Tag @propercuppatea on Instagram.


*For this recipe we have used the teas from our Tea Blending Kit but you can use whatever you have available.

Why Is Tea Blended?

Blending tea is as much an art as it is a science. It can be a mystery at times that needs to be solved. But why do we blend tea to begin with? What is the purpose of mixing different teas and flavours together?

In a nutshell, the goal of blending tea is to create a well-balanced cup that brings out the best of different tea leaves and covers up any of their flaws.

When it comes to tea blending, people often think about teas blended with fruits or herbs to create infusions. In fact, since black teas are the most popular category of tea, the majority of tea blends are made using black teas. Large scale tea manufacturers have proprietary blends that they use (or adjust as needed) to deliver the exact same flavour in every single batch. There can be over 20 different kinds of teas in the average black tea bag you buy at the grocery store.

At its core, tea blending can be as simple as combining 2-3 single origin teas to create a blend. For example, Tea A might have a rich colour and soft mouthfeel, but a weak briskness. Tea B has a sharp briskness and strong finish, but too much bite. Combined in the right way, these two teas can create a blend that is robust but not overwhelming, with a well-rounded finish and beautiful colour. This is perfect for a breakfast blend, for example. Add spices or other botanicals and your blend can develop all kinds of additional flavour interactions.

The key to tea blending is balance.

Tea blending is not about taking the finest teas you can find and mixing them together to create a “super tea”. It is about finding flavours that go together to create a balanced and enjoyable end product. Layers of flavours that come through in a harmonious way. Tea blending should be imaginative and adventurous but restrained at the same time.

An important aspect of tea blending is understanding individual flavours. You can taste a vanilla bean or an orange slice on its own and think that it would be great in a tea that you are blending, and you might be right. But when you actually mix all these flavours, you notice different notes as they combine together. You also notice how some ingredients can overpower others if they are not added in the right quantities.

Teas on spoons

Let’s talk bling

When blending tea, we start with a base to build upon. Base teas usually refer to the origin of the tea in question. Teas from different regions are known for the different characteristics that they bring to the blend. For instance, in our original Tea Blending Kit, we have Assam, Keemun and Ceylon teas. They each come from a different region and have nuances that set the foundation for the blend.

Once the base tea is determined, we start building up layers of flavour from different origin teas, or add spices, fruits, flowers or herbs… the bling!

Spices – like cinnamon, cardamom, anise – contain natural oils. When steeped in hot water these oils are released into the tea, adding flavour (and more importantly – rich aroma) to the blend. They can be tricky to work with, as factors such as freshness and processing can have a major impact on the flavour of the end product. Spices can add depth to your blend in the right quantities, but they can also overpower other flavours if not blended right.

Fruits can also be deceiving. What you think of as the flavour of a certain fruit might taste different when dried and steeped in hot water. Think about how different a fresh plum is compared to a dried prune, and then imagine the resulting brew from steeping each of these in hot water. Other fruits like berries can actually add tartness to a blend even though they taste sweet when you eat them fresh.

Florals range widely in how they affect a blend. Some flowers, such as blue cornflower, contribute more visual appeal than flavour notes. Others, like rose or lavender, can overshadow the base tea. Therefore they need to be blended in the right quantities and with the right teas.

Finally, herbs such as lemongrass and mint add refreshing notes to a tea blend and can provide a great “oomph” or “finishing touch” to the end product. As with florals, be careful to understand the component you are working with, as each herb can bring a different level of intensity and require careful balance.

Proper Cuppa Original Tea Blending Kit

Are you excited to blend your own tea?

Tea blending is fun! It is creative. It helps you develop your palate and understand how different components interact in a blend. If you have ever tasted a tea and thought “this is delicious” or “this would be even better with more of X flavour in it”, then you are ready to blend your own teas!

Our original Tea Blending Kit allows you to create your own tea blends at home. You can get started easily with the recipes we provide and once you feel more comfortable and adventurous, you can start trying different combinations of your own.

Our teas are selected by Sarah, a Tea Sommelier certified with the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada, who has nearly 10 years of experience blending teas. The original Tea Blending Kit is a product of her knowledge and experience, but more importantly her love of tea!

Happy brewing!

Tea Tasting: Sniffing and Slurping

What does it mean to enjoy a cup of tea? For one thing there’s the moment of pause, the self-care, the ritual. A hot cup of tea can warm your hands and your insides; a glass of iced tea provides refreshment and hydration. Enjoying a cup of tea is so much more than the scientific perception of the sensory receptors inside your nose and mouth. But from a technical perspective what exactly are those receptors doing when we smell and taste a cup of tea?

We’ve all heard that taste is 90% smell. I could tell you how true this is, but I think it’s far more effective if you can experience it yourself: take 30 seconds and try The Jellybean Experiment (watch me walk you through it here). You won’t regret it!

Jelly Bean Experiment

The Jellybean Experiment

  1. Close your eyes and plug your nose. Don’t let go!
  2. Put a jellybean in your mouth. Chew and describe what you taste. Don’t swallow it.
  3. When you’re ready, release your nostrils, chew the jellybean again, describe what you perceive now. THAT’s what they mean when they say that taste is 90% smell!

Seriously, try it. Jellybeans work great for this demonstration because you are blind to which flavour you’re tasting when you put it in your mouth, but if you don’t have a jellybean try with a piece of fruit or chocolate.

The flood of sensation you get when you unplug your nose is from all of the nasal cavities filling up with aroma compounds. Your nose has the two nostrils out front, but there are also channels leading from the back of your throat into your nasal cavity. We smell our food (or tea) as it moves through the palate, not just when we’re sniffing before we take the first sip. Things we do to break down, warm up and aerate what’s in our mouth help to release more of those flavour molecules so that we can more fully experience what we are consuming.

If you’ve learned about wine tasting you’ve probably seen some entertaining swishing, bubbling, and so on. It’s the same idea – putting air into the wine so that those olfactory sensors in the back of your throat can pick up on them, and then spreading the liquid all over your tongue.

In tea we have the added aspect of heat. Tea is best tasted when it’s hot, because the heat releases more aroma compounds. However, if you’re not careful, you can burn your tongue. Therefore, in official tea tasting methodology we do “The Slurp”.

Slurping tea off a spoon has 3 goals:

  1. cooling the tea so you don’t burn your tongue
  2. adding air so more aroma compounds can be perceived through our olfactory system
  3. spraying the tea across the palate so that all of the tastebuds get activated.

As a Tea Sommelier certified by the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada, I learned to slurp at 125 miles (200km) per hour. It takes some practice! To see what spoon to use and watch a demonstration of me slurping tea check out this video.

Tea + Chocolate: 4 Proper Cuppa Pairings for Easter

Easter is just around the corner and the Easter Bunny is hard at work hiding chocolate treats in every corner. What better way to take care of all that chocolate than with the assistance of a good cuppa tea? This also means chocolate can be a part of your tea ritual at any time of day (wink wink!).

Here are four tasty tea and chocolate pairings to enjoy this Easter:

  1. Garden Party tea with candy-coated milk chocolate eggs

Garden Party + Milk Chocolate Eggs

Capture the essence of spring with pretty eggs and the aroma of April flowers. The jasmine and lavender notes in Garden Party tea evoke a sunny afternoon sharing the backyard with the bees, while the pretty pastels of the chocolate eggs capture the promise of a spring bird’s nest. After all, we eat with our eyes first!

  1. Earl’s Breakfast with dark chocolate

Earls Breakfast + Dark Chocolate

Rich black teas with a sparkle of bergamot are the perfect complement for an elegant dark chocolate, whether in bunny, egg, bark or bar form! Black teas and dark chocolate often have similar notes of dried fruits and spices: alternate sips of tea and nibbles of chocolate to see what flavours each brings out in the other.

  1. Jasmine Cream with white chocolate bunny

Jasmine Cream + White Chocolate

This pairing is creamy, dreamy and overall basically just heavenly. With jasmine and vanilla in the tea and rich notes of cocoa butter and cream in the white chocolate, each component takes a turn amplifying and enhancing the other. If you don’t love white chocolate, give it a try: this combination will bring a new appreciation for the category!

  1. Irish Breakfast with a Cadbury Creme Egg

Irish Breakfast + Cadbury Creme Egg

An indulgent sugar-bomb like Cadbury’s Creme Egg needs a robust tea to balance it out, hence the pairing of Irish Breakfast. With a strong base of malty Assam and a kick of Ceylon, Irish Breakfast is a great partner for this treat. With creaminess and sweetness provided by the Creme Egg, try this Irish Breakfast pairing without milk.

Pick your favourite pairing, or try them all! We’d love to hear what you think, or if you discover a delicious combination of your own. Share with us on Instagram @ProperCuppaTea!

What is a Proper Cuppa?

Tea: it’s the second most-consumed beverage in the world, after water.

There are thousands of different teas out there: black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong, herbal, puerh, purple tea and many many more. Tea is influenced by the terroir in which it is grown, how it is processed and how it’s served.

There are an almost infinite number of ways to prepare a cup of tea: blended, single origin, light, strong, spiced, herbal, decaf, sweet, milky or neat – just to name a few!

Your favourite tea might change from morning to evening, according to your mood, or from one day to the next. That’s one of the great things about tea. There’s a perfect option for every occasion – and you don’t have to limit yourself to just one style or category

The cup of tea that is exactly what you want at that moment: that’s what we call a Proper Cuppa.

As a certified tea sommelier and certifiable tea nerd, I’ve met a lot of inquisitive, open minded tea experts, and a few tea snobs. One of our commitments at Proper Cuppa is to take our tea seriously, not ourselves. We believe that learning more about tea should be fun and inspiring, not intimidating or snobbish. We encourage curiosity and exploration.

Want to learn more about tea origins, history, preparation and more? Sign up for the Introduction to Tea online course.

Assortment of Teas

Ready to dig in and start playing with blending your own cup of tea? Our Original Tea Blending Kit includes everything you need to start blending at home: a selection of teas and botanicals, step-by-step instructions and a variety of blending recipes to get you started. This kit is a great way to start learning more about individual teas, how they interact, and the combinations you might find in some of your current favourites, such as English or Irish Breakfast tea, Earl Grey and more.

What’s your Proper Cuppa (as of today, this moment)? Share how you like to take your tea – or the blends you create: find us on Instagram!