At Saratoga Tea & Honey Co., we take great pride in sourcing and curating a wide variety of fine loose leaf teas from all over the world. As you explore our online tea selections, it's helpful to understand that all tea belongs to the same genus of evergreen, camellia, but of different species, variety and cultivar. It is in the magic of plant variety characteristics, climates, and processing techniques that create the sublime flavor and expressive terroir of the tea leaves you sip. All plants that are not camellia, are considered 'herbal' or 'tisanes'.
Matcha is a shade-grown Japanese green tea powder brimming with antioxidants and other health benefits. Matcha powder is whisked with water and served "thin" or "thick", hot or iced, with milk or without milk - depending on your taste preferences and the grade of the matcha powder.
Over the past few years, matcha has seen a surge in popularity due to its high caffeine levels and extraordinary health benefits. But not all matcha is created equal! Our matcha powder is stone-ground freshly for us just before shipping and stored in airtight containers to maintain freshness. When buying matcha powder, be sure to look for a bright green powder that is pure, ground green tea.
Our Matcha Wako and Matcha Unkaku are ceremonial grade matcha powders. There are a couple differences between our Matcha Wakatake and the ceremonial-grade matcha. The first difference is where and how the tea is grown. The second is the resulting flavor profile, which calls for a ceremonial preparation. We recommend ceremonial-grade matcha to experienced matcha drinkers who prefer their matcha with less water and no honey or milk.
Since matcha is a powdered green tea, you will need a matcha whisk (traditionally called a matcha chasen) and a matcha bowl to make hot matcha at home. For iced matcha, you can use cold water to whisk the matcha in the traditional way with the matcha chasen and bowl, or you can swap out the traditional for a cocktail shaker. We recommend using a traditional matcha bamboo scoop to measure your matcha. Learn more about how to make matcha at home on our blog!
Our current list of green tea, or unoxidized tea leaves, come from China, Vietnam, and Japan. Tea leaves are plucked, withered gently, and then immediately heated with wet or dry heat to prevent oxidation, resulting in a leaf that is very representative of the original plant's flavor notes and with a healthy concentration of chlorophyll, polyphenols, and antioxidants.
Oolong is a semi-oxidized tea family that falls between Green Tea and Black Tea in oxidation, and is an absolute favorite among the staff here at Saratoga Tea & Honey - not least because it holds up well to multiple steeps during shifts at the bar! You may notice that one Oolong might have lower oxidation and be light and floral like a Green Tea while another might have a deeper, more honeyed character, leaning towards Black Tea.
Our fine loose-leaf Black Teas (or more correctly called Red Teas, as per the countries of origin) come from India, China, Sri Lanka, Rwanda and Kenya and represent fully oxidized camellia sinensis leaves that have been carefully processed by a dance of withering, rolling, oxidizing and drying.
Our current selection of aged teas hail from China, the origin domain of all Pu Erh teas (sometimes spelled, pu'er). We feature both styles of Pu Erh in our collection, sheng and shou, in addition to hei cha (a precursor to shou-style fermentation). Like a finely aged wine or whiskey, you can taste the time in a perfectly fermented tea cake, with notes of chocolate, tobacco, and richly moist soil. Pu Erh is commonly sipped in China after meals and acts as a digestive aid. Ever-increasing in popularity among tea and coffee drinkers in the West, we recommend giving Pu Erh tea a try if you like dark chocolate, coffee, and getting multiple steeps out of your leaves (sometimes up to 10 steeps!).
In the shortest of possible explanations, sheng (raw, green) Pu Erh is allowed to develop and age naturally while shou (ripe, black) Pu Erh is exposed to an accelerated fermentation process. This is why you will often notice a price difference between the two styles of Pu Erh tea, but does not necessarily mean that one is "better" than the other - both are excellent examples of an ancient style of tea with different production lengths. Which style of Pu Erh you prefer will probably depend on your taste buds (and even the tea itself)!
Our scented White, Green, and Black Teas contain caffeine as they all have the tea leaf, camellia sinensis, present. From robust Chai to delicate rose-infused white teas like the Yaddo Rose Garden, we have delicious infusions that will tempt your senses, delight your palate and pair extremely well with honey!
We’re just going to come right out and say it: Herbal Tea is not tea, but it is delicious and healthful and caffeine-free! Call them herbals, infusions or tisanes, because they do not contain any of the tea plant (camellia sinensis), but do contain everything else: herbs, spices, fruit, and flowers.