Fresh Tea: Your Guide to Different Types of Tea and Finding the Healthiest Tea
Author: Millennia TEA’s Official Science Steeper - Allison Tannis, MSc RHN
Become a tea aficionado with this guide to different types of tea, including fresh tea. There are important differences between fresh tea, dried leaf, and loose-leaf tea that have a major impact on your teacup. Your kettle will be boiling with excitement over your new-found tea confidence after reading this guide to different types of tea. Plus, discover where to find the healthiest tea. (Hint: think fresh tea!)
What is Fresh Tea?
Fresh tea is the least processed form of tea – it’s simply clean, raw, tea leaves. Fresh tea leaves that haven’t been dried, processed, or heated. (Talk about a fresh idea!) Refreshing and light, fresh tea leaves create a delicious cup of tea without the bitterness or astringency you get at the back of the mouth with dried green tea leaves. Plus, fresh tea is a raw plant – so, eat it! Eat fresh tea leaves as they contain up to 15x more antioxidants for your health than dried tea leaves.
Undried Fresh Tea vs Dried Tea
Undried tea is fresh tea leaves. Fresh tea leaves can be enjoyed without being dried by simply flash-freezing them. This allows all of the valued nutrients in the fresh leaf to be retained. Dried teas are essentially cooked tea leaves. Dried tea is how tea leaves have been sold on the market for a millennium. By varying the way, the tea leaves are dried and processed, tea producers have created a variety of tea types.
Your Guide to Different Types of Tea
All tea comes from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. How the leaves of the plant are processed after they are picked, changes what type of tea they become:
- Green Tea: Barely oxidized leaves create dried green tea leaves.
- Oolong: Slightly more oxidized dried tea leaves created oolong tea.
- Black Tea: More oxidizing turns the leaves a darker colour, creating black tea.
- Matcha: Created by steaming, drying, and in some cases roasting the tea leaves, then grounding them into a fine powder.
- Undried Fresh Tea: Fresh tea leaves are not dried or cooked, but flash frozen to remain raw.
Matcha vs Fresh Tea Leaves?
Matcha is created by drying and mildly processing whole tea leaves to create a fine powder. Matcha is famous for its health benefits because you are consuming the whole leaf. Consider the health benefits of eating a fresh whole leaf? Fresh tea leaves are the whole tea leaf in an undried, unprocessed form.
Is There Such a Thing as Raw Tea?
By definition, raw means uncooked. If you are lucky enough to have a beautiful Camellia sinensis plant nearby you can pick some leaves and enjoy your very own raw tea leaves. Since most tea plants grow in India, Asia, and Africa, that’s not likely. Looking for raw tea leaves? The only truly raw tea available are leaves that have been hand-picked, not dried, but quickly flash frozen.
Loose Leaf vs Fresh Tea Leaves
Loose Leaf tea describes tea leaves that have not been packaged into bags - commonly packaged in tins. To brew Loose Leaf tea, no bag is used, creating a slightly different flavour.
Fresh tea leaves are undried tea leaves that are not packaged in bags, thus called Loose Fresh Tea Leaves. As Fresh Tea leaves are also loose-leaf, in that they aren’t packaged in tea bags, you can brew them similar to dried Loose-Leaf tea. Better yet, for some additional nutritional benefits, you can eat your fresh tea leaves. You can find loose fresh tea leaves in the freezer section of your favourite store.
Are Fresh Tea Leaves Better?
Research shows that fresh tea leaves have 5x more antioxidants than dried tea leaves. Antioxidants are helpful compounds that promote health. Fresh tea contains EGCG a powerful ally in fighting free radical damage and protecting cells.
Can You Use Fresh Tea Leaves for Tea?
Absolutely, yes! Fresh tea leaves can be brewed in hot water to create a sensationally smooth and delicious cup of tea. And you can drink it all day! Fresh tea leaves don’t get bitter - just keep adding hot water to your raw fresh tea leaves throughout the day. No need to remove the leaves from your mug if you don’t want to. Plus, the antioxidants go up on the second infusion, so you want to re-infuse them multiple times.
How Do You Use Fresh Tea Leaves?
Similar to most leafy greens, you can use fresh tea leaves in many ways in the kitchen. There are lots of delicious recipes and how-to serve your fresh tea leaves to help you out, including:
- Brew a Cup of Tea – Steep in water that has slightly cooled since boiling to brew a delicious cup of tea. Keep adding boiling water and drink it all day – fresh tea leaves don’t go bitter.
- Add to Your Smoothie – You can use fresh tea leaves straight from the freezer in your blender, or the fresh tea leaves from the cup of tea you steeped.
- Make a Vinaigrette – A nutritious addition to your salad dressing, soups, or stews, sprinkle some fresh tea leaves into your next culinary creation and enjoy the health benefits.
A Canadian Fresh Tea Company
Millennia Tea is the innovative Canadian company that introduced the first-ever fresh tea leaves to the market, taking us back to the way tea was consumed a Millennia ago. Created by a passion to find the healthiest way to ingest the powerful antioxidant in green tea, EGCG, Tracy and Rory Bell, steeped their way around the world, through tea estates, laboratories, and research papers to be able to bring to your freezer, fresh tea leaves that offer 15x the antioxidant EGCG than dried tea.