Tea 101


We’re tea people through and through and believe that a life fully lived begins with a steaming cup of delicious Choice Organics tea.

It all starts with our ingredients, sourced exclusively from organic and non-GMO growers around the world. From bloom to cup, it is an art and science to craft the unique teas we offer. We invite you to explore and learn about our tea varieties and how to brew a full flavored cup every time.

What is Tea (Camellia Sinensis)?

All true tea comes from a single plant, Camellia sinensis. The leaves and buds of this evergreen shrub create a spectrum of teas including the organic green tea, organic oolong tea and organic black tea varieties that we offer within our tea collection. Farming practices, landscape, surrounding vegetation and weather can all influence the unique flavor notes within the leaf. Through variations and special crafting techniques to the leaves, a range of teas are created from bright greens to full-bodied blacks.

What is Herbal Tea?

Herbal teas, often referred to as herbal tisanes, are crafted using plant parts from edible dried flowers, fruits, leaves, seeds or roots and are naturally free of caffeine. They are not true teas as they are not crafted using the Camellia sinensis plant. Our collection includes three single ingredient organic herbal teas – Organic Chamomile tea, Organic Peppermint tea and Organic Rooibos tea.

Organic Black Tea

Growing Region and Harvesting

Our classic organic black teas have origins in India, Africa and Sri Lanka, from Fair Trade Certified tea estates and major tea producing regions in the world.

Our Organic English Breakfast Rukeri tea leaves are grown and harvested on the Sorwathe tea estate in Rwanda, which is renowned for its temperate climate, abundant rainfall, fertile soil, and high altitude of lush green rolling hills, ideal for tea-growing year round. Our tea leaves are harvested when the climate conditions are best to yield a tea with complexity in aroma, flavor and character.

Our Organic Darjeeling tea leaves are grown and harvested on the Pussimbing tea estate, located in the hills of Darjeeling. This area is known for producing some of the most sought after and highly valued teas in the world. Nestled among the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, this high altitude tea estate lies over 7,000 feet above sea level and has a myriad of sparkling fresh water streams that flow down the hilly slopes. Our tea leaves are harvested and processed during the high quality second flush season that runs from May to early July.

Our Organic Earl Grey tea combines quality black tea leaves from India, Sri Lanka and Rwanda that are infused with citrusy bergamot oil we source directly from Italy to create our signature blend.

We are committed to building long-term partnerships and currently have direct relationships with our Sorwathe and Pussimbing tea estates, importing direct from the gardens. Our tea sourcing experts personally visit these estates to maintain long-standing, mutually beneficial relationships. This allows us the ability to offer a collection of premium teas along with full traceability and transparency back to the source.

Processing

Upon harvest, the leaves of the tea plant go through a withering stage where initial surface level moisture is removed. The leaves are then rolled, breaking the cell walls and releasing the juices, enzymes and essential oils, ultimately enhancing the flavor notes in the leaf and starting the oxidation process. Black teas are fully oxidized and can range from light-bodied to full-bodied with brisk flavor profiles. The leaves are then exposed to high heat to dry by firing. This stage reduces the moisture content to 3% and preserves the distinctive flavor notes and quality. The tea leaves in our Organic Earl Grey tea are infused with citrusy bergamot oil to give this tea its distinctive flavor. The tea leaves are now ready for blending or packaging.

Caffeine Range

Black tea can range from a perfect pick-me-up to an invigorating boost with a caffeine range of 40-50 mg per cup, compared to 90 mg in 8 oz of coffee. Caffeine amounts vary by each tea, so be sure to explore our individual teas for more detail.

Ideal Brewing Temperature

We recommend always using pure, filtered or fresh spring water. For a perfectly balanced cup, allow your black tea to brew at a temperature range of 200-212°F. Use an electric kettle with a temperature setting, a simple kitchen thermometer or bring water to boiling. For black teas, add your tea bag to your cup first and then pour water directly over it. Follow the recommended steep time on our packaging for the best cup.

Cup Color

Black tea is fully oxidized, bold with deep complexity. When brewed it often produces a range of colors from amber to red to dark brown.

Flavor Notes

Black tea has a bold taste and brisk flavor profile. Often milk and sugar is added. Common flavor notes of black tea include, malty, rich, robust, biscuity, floral and citrusy. Tea varieties like Darjeeling can have a balance of lightly roasted and subtle floral notes. Explore our organic black teas to find the perfect one for you.

Decaffeination Method

We offer two classic black teas in decaffeinated versions, Organic Decaffeinated Earl Grey tea and Organic Decaffeinated English Breakfast tea. We use the only approved method for certified organic teas, an all-natural process that removes a majority of the caffeine by pressurized CO2. This preserves the botanical compounds and unique flavor notes of the tea leaves.

Explore Our Organic Black Teas

Organic Green Tea

Growing Region and Harvesting

Our organic green teas have origins in China and Japan.

Our Organic Jasmine Green tea leaves are from Fair Trade Certified tea gardens in the Zhejiang province of China, well-known for its rich history in tea cultivation that goes back thousands of years. The tea gardens are located at over 2,500 feet in elevation on sloped terroirs with fertile soil in the pristine Jiulong mountain range. The fresh young buds are harvested when they are light and flavorful from May to early August, coinciding with the blooming of jasmine flowers in the Hengxian County that is known for its high quality, fragrant blossoms.

Our Organic Japanese Green tea and Organic Genmaicha tea are sourced from their origin in Japan. These traditional teas are rooted in Japanese history and are crafted using traditional production methods. Our delicate green tea leaves are harvested when climate conditions are most favorable to yield a tea with complexity in aroma, flavor and character.

Processing

Upon harvest, the fresh young buds and leaves of the tea plant go through a withering stage where initial surface level moisture is removed. The green tea leaves are rolled and then immediately get exposed to high heat to dry, which prevents any oxidation from taking place. Drying can be done through a variety of methods including pan firing and baking, as used for our Organic Jasmine Green tea, or steaming. This stage reduces the moisture content to 3% and preserves the distinctive flavor notes and quality. Our Organic Jasmine Green tea leaves are then scented with the essence of fresh, elegant jasmine blossoms. Our Organic Genmaicha tea is blended with roasted rice to create the distinctive toasty and hearty notes this tea is known for. The tea leaves are now ready for packaging.

Caffeine Range

Green tea is not too strong, not too light – just right, with a caffeine range of 20-30 mg per cup, compared to 90 mg in 8 oz of coffee. Caffeine amounts vary by each tea, so be sure to explore our individual teas for more detail.

Ideal Brewing Temperature

We recommend always using pure, filtered or fresh spring water. For a perfectly balanced cup, allow your green tea to brew at a temperature range of 160°-180°F. Use an electric kettle with a temperature setting, a simple kitchen thermometer, or bring water to boiling and let cool for about 2 minutes. For green teas, pour water into your cup first then add your tea bag for a more balanced flavor. Follow the recommended steep time on our packaging for the best cup.

Cup Color

Green tea is moderately clear when brewed and often produces a greenish-yellow, greenish-golden or brownish-yellow color.

Flavor Notes

Green tea is fresh and mild. Common flavor notes of green tea include herbaceous, vegetal, grassy, floral, fruity and roasty. Explore our organic green teas to find the perfect one for you.

Explore Our Organic Green Teas

Organic Oolong Tea

Growing Region and Harvesting

Our Organic Oolong tea has origins in China, from Fair Trade Certified tea estates in the Fujian and Hunan provinces. The Fujian province is recognized as one of the most famous tea growing regions in the world, the birthplace of oolong tea, and offers the most diverse array of oolong varieties. Along the southeastern coast of China, the subtropical climates and mountainous terrain are ideal growing conditions. The Hunan province is located in the south of China, with subtropical climates, and an abundance of rainfall. Our tea leaves are grown at elevations over 3,000 feet. The tea leaves in both provinces are harvested and processed from late April to early November when climate conditions are most favorable to yield a tea with complexity in aroma, flavor and character.

Processing

Upon harvest, the leaves of the tea plant go through a withering stage where initial surface level moisture is removed. The leaves are then rolled, breaking the cell walls and releasing the juices, enzymes and essential oils, ultimately enhancing the flavor notes in the leaf and starting the oxidation process. Oolong teas are semi-oxidized. Our Organic Oolong tea is a blend of the finest oolong varieties that have been oxidized at various levels to create a unique and refreshing flavor profile. Once oxidized to the desired amount, the leaves are exposed to high heat to dry by firing. This stage reduces the moisture content to 3% and preserves the distinctive flavor notes and quality. The tea leaves are now ready for blending or packaging.

Caffeine Range

Oolong is the perfect pick-me-up with ours containing approximately 40 mg of caffeine, compared to 90 mg in 8 oz of coffee.

Ideal Brewing Temperature

We recommend always using pure, filtered or fresh spring water. For a perfectly balanced cup, allow your oolong tea to brew at a temperature range of 185-205°F. Use an electric kettle with a temperature setting, a simple kitchen thermometer, or bring water to boiling and let cool for about 2 minutes. For oolong teas, pour water into your cup first then add your tea bag for a more balanced flavor. Follow the recommended steep time on our packaging for the best cup.

Cup Color

Oolong tea is oxidized at various levels, resulting in a range of hues in a brewed cup of tea. It can be lighter and more transparent, similar to a green tea, to bolder and darker with hues similar to a black tea.

Flavor Notes

Oolong tea has a variety of flavor profiles based on the amount of oxidation. Flavor notes can range from light to full-bodied, floral to grassy, and fruity to smoky. Our Organic Oolong tea blends a lightly oxidized oolong with mellow flavor and natural orchid notes with a more oxidized oolong that has a roasted sweet character and floral aroma.

Explore Our Organic Oolong Tea

Organic Herbal Tea

Growing Region and Harvesting

Our collection of organic herbal teas are sourced from some of the finest gardens. Our Organic Chamomile tea is sourced from the very best growing regions in Croatia and Egypt. Our Organic Peppermint tea is sourced direct from the grower whom we have built a long-standing relationship with. Our peppermint is harvested in the summer months in Washington state and is prized for its high quality, unique flavor profile that is rich in essential oils and highly aromatic. Our Organic Rooibos tea is sourced from Fair Trade Certified gardens from its native land in South Africa.

Caffeine Range

Mellow and soothing. Our herbal teas are naturally caffeine free so you can sit back and enjoy any time of the day.

Ideal Brewing Temperature

We recommend always using pure, filtered or fresh spring water. For a perfectly balanced cup, allow your herbal tea to brew at a temperature range of 200-212°F. Use an electric kettle with a temperature setting, a simple kitchen thermometer or bring water to boiling. For herbal teas, add your tea bag to your cup first and then pour water directly over it. Follow the recommended steep time on our packaging for the best flavor.

Flavor Notes

Our Organic Chamomile tea is delicately floral with honey-like sweetness. Our Organic Peppermint tea is lively and vibrant, full of sweet minty goodness. Our Organic Rooibos tea is sweet and earthy with subtle notes of vanilla.

Explore Our Organic Herbal Teas