The world of Tea is wonderful and expansive - as well as, on occasions, complicated and confusing. Sometimes, having terminology thrown at you from this way and that is more than enough for the mind to boggle.

Other times, knowing the difference between each type, what brewing methods should be used, and whether it has health benefits seems like a lot of work. 

The good news is that The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company aims to make it that little bit easier for you. Below, we have answered the top 30 most common Tea questions in the simplest possible terms.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be able to impress friends and family alike with your incredible knowledge. So, are you ready to find out more about your morning cuppa?

How Much Caffeine in Tea?

So-called “real” Tea (in other words, NOT Herbal or Fruit Tisanes) comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. This is but one of around 60 plants to naturally contain caffeine, with others including Coffee (Coffea), Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) and Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis). 

However, depending on the specific brew you choose, there will be varying caffeine levels in tea. This is because of its processing, which alters the chemical makeup of the leaves.

White Tea, the least processed variety, has about 15-mg per 8-oz cup. Next, there is Green Tea with 30-mg. Oolong Tea, on the other hand, contains approximately 35-37-mg, while Black Tea boasts 40-mg.

Does Green Tea Have Caffeine?

Yes. As mentioned previously, Green Tea Caffeine does, indeed, exist. Yet the level is less than that of, say, Black Tea. The reason for this is its processing.

Once harvested, the leaves arrive at the factory, at which point they undergo “pan-firing” or steaming to prevent too much oxidation. By stopping oxidation, green tea maintains much of its natural profile - which lacks significant amounts of caffeine.

Indeed, the more workers do to the Tea leaves, the more likely they will contain caffeine. And the more caffeine they contain, the more they will provide you with that early-morning energy boost.

Green Tea is an option when in need of a pick-me-up, although Black Tea, admittedly, might be a better choice.

How Many Calories in a Cup of Tea?

It depends - although, for the most, it’s good news. When we’re talking about Calories in Tea, specifically those from the Camellia sinensis plant, expect no more than two calories per 8-oz serving.

When we’re talking about Herbal Tea or Fruit Tisanes, things get a little more complicated. Peppermint Tea, for example, has about 2.4 calories, while Hibiscus can have up to 37 calories.

Nevertheless, it is additions such as milk and sugar that contribute most to calorie intake in your morning cuppa. With semi-skimmed, you’re looking at around 13 calories. Whole milk, on the other hand, has about 19 calories. Two teaspoons of sugar, perhaps unsurprisingly, boasts 30 calories - or more!

How to Make Iced Tea?

There is no one answer to this question. However, here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we certainly have a few Iced Tea Recipes worth trying.

The following, which uses our ever-popular Bora Bora Iced Fruit Tea, is only one of many options - one, we hasten to add, that is unmistakably delicious.

1. Use a Tea Filter / Infuser

Put Bora Bora Iced Fruit Tea into one of our Tea Filters / Infusers (2tsp per person).

2. Boil the Kettle

Brew fresh water using either filtered or bottled water.

3. Put the Filter or Infuser into a jug, pitcher, etc.

Be sure to use a suitably large and heat-resistant vessel.

4. Pour freshly boiled water.

ONLY enough to cover the Loose Tea - no more.

5. Allow it to Infuse / Steep.

Let it steep for 5-10 minutes (the longer you leave it, the stronger it tastes.)

6. Add cold water and ice cubes.

Now’s the time to fill the vessel entirely.

7. Consider further additions - including fruit and herbs.

Strawberries, raspberries, sugar, honey or even a sprig of mint - the choice is yours!

8. Time to Indulge

Your Iced Tea is ready to enjoy at your leisure.

Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing particularly complicated when it comes to “how to make Iced Tea”. For the most, in fact, it’s a question of time. But if you’re willing to commit, you will, undoubtedly, be in for a truly scrumptious treat. 

Is Green Tea Good for You?

Absolutely - and then some! The primary reason behind Green Tea benefits is its wealth in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These chemical compounds combined have the potential to combat free radicals in the body, thus slowing down natural, though often harmful, human oxidation.

In essence, this ultimately reduces the risk of developing a multitude of chronic conditions.

But that’s not all. Studies suggest that this remarkable infusion can boost the metabolism of fat cells. This, in turn, enables the body to burn fat not only quicker but also more efficiently - thus resulting in weight loss.

Additionally, it might support the immune system, aid digestion and even enhance brain function. What more could you want from your morning cuppa?

Does Tea Have More Caffeine Than Coffee?

This is where things start to get REALLY interesting. Because, contrary to belief, the amount of Caffeine in Coffee, specifically in dry form, is less than that in an equal weight of Tea.

Technically, this then means that, before brewing, there is more Caffeine in Tea than that in Coffee. Are you a little confused? Then please allow us to explain.

Basically, you can get more cuppas from a unit quantity of Tea leaves than from an equal quantity of Coffee. This results in the caffeine content in Tea “spreading out”, all the while the caffeine in Coffee remains more concentrated.

Only does this change upon brewing, at which point Coffee, with an average of 100-mg per 8-oz cup, has more caffeine than Tea.

How to Make Ginger Tea?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a spice with an unmistakably zesty flavour.

It is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, one that’s been familiar to the west for at least 2,000 years. Nowadays, we use ginger in a wide variety of household and commercial foods, including, of course, Tea. But how, exactly do you make it into a warming, nourishing brew? 

1. Use a Tea Filter / Infuser.

Add Ginger Tea to one of our Tea Accessories.

2. Put the Kettle on.

It’s time to boil some fresh water.

3. Add Filter or Infuser to your cup.

Place the Tea-filled accessory into a cup or mug.

4. Pour water into the cup.

Fill your cup and mug with the water from the kettle.

5. Allow it to Infuse / Steep.

Let it steep for 5-10 minutes (Herbal Tea rarely overbrews).

Time to Indulge.

Why not add honey or lemon to your Ginger Root Tea? 
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Best of all, the same rules apply to almost every type of Herbal Tea.

One of the only exceptions, in fact, is Lapacho Tea. This particular beverage does, at times, require a little more preparation if you plan on making it traditionally.

Apart from that, though, the above instructions can be used for a variety of other products.

Can Dogs Drink Tea?

Now and again, we love to treat our pets to scraps under the table. Whether it’s the fat from a bacon rasher or surplus gravy, the occasional leftover rarely does any harm to our furry friends. But Is it safe for dogs to drink tea

Technically, yes - in small quantities. However, it hopefully goes without saying that your brew shouldn’t be hot. What’s more, and perhaps more importantly, the Caffeine in Tea could pose a risk to dogs if they drink too much. This is because caffeine elevates the heart rate, as well as having the potential to be toxic.

We have known of some dog owners giving their animals Herbal Tea - a particular favourite being that of Olive Leaf Tea.

Nevertheless, despite its lack of caffeine, there remain health concerns with this beverage and nearly every other type. If in doubt, it’s always best to consult a vet or another professional before giving your pets Tea of any variety.

Is Peppermint Tea Good for You?

Peppermint Tea is another excellent choice for the health-conscious individual. Like Green Tea, it is jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants.

This includes Vitamins A, B, C and E, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, calcium, copper, inositol, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sulphur and zinc. And this is to name but a few! 

Evidence indicates that Peppermint Tea Benefits the mind, body and soul in a plethora of ways. It can, among other qualities, offer relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), improve skin health and boost the immune system. And as for bad breath? There’s no better brew.

Is Tea a Diuretic?

Again, it depends on the type. But let’s first start at the beginning. The term “Diuretic” refers to promoting the formation of urine, which, in essence, enables someone to excrete excess water.

It sounds a little odd, but there are, indeed, benefits to it. People with high blood pressure, heart failure, swollen tissues and kidney disease often use diuretics as a treatment.

The four primary types of Tea (Black, Green, White and Oolong) can help. However, it’s worth noting that there are better options, namely Milk Thistle Tea and Dandelion Root Tea.

Both of these varieties, according to the latest scientific research, have extraordinary diuretic properties. Other choices include Nettle, Camomile, Peppermint, Ginger and Fennel Tea.

Does Tea Dehydrate You?

Yes and no. It’s true, as mentioned above, that Tea is a diuretic. This, of course, means that you’ll likely be urinating more often after drinking a few cuppas, thus losing water.

That said, the vast percentage of your beverage IS water - which goes without saying, is hydrating! Does this then mean that one cancels out the other? Not exactly. Tea is more likely to hydrate than dehydrate.

When it comes to Herbal Tea, the lack of caffeine in most infusions (excluding Yerba Mate) again, for the most, translates to hydration. Even famously Diuretic Teas such as Milk Thistle Tea which will contribute to your daily water intake.

How to Make Green Tea?

Much of the same rules for making Black Tea apply when making Green Tea. However, there are a handful of significant differences to recognise before brewing up.

First and foremost, Green Tea requires an element of delicacy so as not to ruin its taste. But what, exactly, does this involve?

When you put the kettle on, be sure to let it cool to temperatures between 80 and 90°C. This is because pouring water straight from the boil can burn the Green Tea leaves.

As for steeping, you should be looking at AT LEAST 1 minute and NO MORE THAN 3 minutes. Any longer and you risk overbrewing, which creates an unpleasantly bitter taste.

Is Tea Bad for You?

Tea, under certain circumstances, can come with adverse side effects. However, this most often depends on the health and wellbeing of the individual.

Drinking too much of it can, for instance, lead to jitteriness and sleeplessness due to its caffeine content. There have also been cases of it causing headaches, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhoea, irritability, irregular heartbeat and more.

Some types of Herbal Tea, meanwhile, can be a risk to those who are pregnant. Examples include Liquorice, Sage, Pine Needles and Vervain Tea to name but a few.

If you have any concerns, it’s paramount you speak to a doctor or another medical professional. Here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we care about the welfare of our customers.

What is High Tea?

We’ve all heard of Afternoon Tea - a quintessentially English pastime associated with ornate Teacups, delectable finger sandwiches and scrumptious miniature cakes. But what, then, is High Tea? And why have so few people today heard about it?

Enjoying a High Tea refers more to a social event than a specific type of Tea. It first became popular as an affordable option of the British working classes during the 18th and 19th centuries. During this period, it often consisted of “heavier” foods such as meat pies and boiled potatoes.

All of this, of course, was washed down by a strong cup of what we today might call Builder’s Tea. 

Rather than being a frivolous pastime like Afternoon Tea, a High Tea was a necessity. The upper classes indulged to avoid feeling peckish while simultaneously enjoying the company of friends.
A High Tea, in comparison, needed to feed the family. As such, you’re unlikely to see it on the menu when searching for an Afternoon Tea venue. Nevertheless, it has much to offer.

Where Does Tea Come From?

There are two answers to this question, depending on the context. If you’re referring to its botanical origins, the answer is simple: Tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant.

If, however, you’re talking about where in the world Tea grows, it becomes a little broader. 

China is arguably the home of Tea, although it has since spread to other countries across the globe. Indeed, Tea production takes place in Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi.

If you’re interested in trying infusions from different locations, be sure to browse our website to find the brew for you. 

Does Green Tea Stain Teeth?

It can, yes. The primary reason for this is the Tannins in Tea. These are a class of astringent polyphenols that can, admittedly, contribute to teeth stains.

With Green Tea, in particular, it might leave behind a dull grey mark, while Black Tea creates a yellowish discolouration. But it’s not all bad news. Indeed, Tannins in Tea likewise have a part to play in Green Tea benefits.

Research has shown that tannins have antioxidant activity, meaning the pros far outweigh the cons. With Green Tea, an abundance in tannins called catechins, specifically Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), translates to improved cardiovascular health and reduced diabetes risks.

Is Black Tea Good for You?

EGCG in Green Tea is, perhaps, the most health-beneficial antioxidant of them all. Black Tea, meanwhile, contains theaflavin and thearubigin.

While “lesser” than the chemical compounds found in Green Tea, these two constituents still have great potential. Research suggests that they might, although not yet proven outright, reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Evidence exists in a study conducted by the University of Singapore and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The project saw some 2,500 participants aged 55 or over undergo cognitive measuring. Two years later, scientists remeasured those involved.

The results established that participants who drank two or three cups of Black Tea a day had a 55% lower chance of suffering from cognitive decline. Those who drank six to ten cups a day, meanwhile, had up to a 63% lower chance.

So yes, is the answer, Black Tea Benefits appear promising.

What are Tea Bags Made of?

Most companies use filter paper or food-grade plastic to make their Tea Bags.

Others use silk cotton or even just silk, particularly for Pyramid Tea Bags. While most of these materials are unmistakably sturdy, there has been a growing concern about their impact on the environment. And that’s why The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company has stepped up efforts to make a change.

We have recently moved away from Tea Bags that contain a significant percentage of non-recyclable petrochemical plastic (chemical products obtained from petroleum by refining).

Instead, we’ve opted for heat-sealable, petrochemical plastic FREE Tea Bags made from wood pulp and vegetable starch. So, if you’re looking to help mother nature, you’ve come to the right place.

How Much Caffeine in Decaf Tea?

It sounds a little backwards, right? Surely, Decaf Tea (and Coffee!) contains NO caffeine? It’s in the name. Well, in reality, and contrary to popular belief, even DECAF products contain a trace amount of this stimulating chemical compound.

What we’re trying to say is that there is no such thing as a 100% decaffeinated Tea or Coffee.

Depending on the efficiency of the decaffeination process, however, Tea can have about 94-98% of the caffeine removed. Indeed, the best options will have no more than 5-10 milligrams remaining.

This, in the whole scheme of things, is very little! We’ll talk more about the specific methods of decaffeinating Tea and Coffee a little further down.

Is Tea Acidic?

Most types of Tea have mild acidity - emphasis on “mild”. So, if you’re a big fan of your morning brew, rest assured knowing that it’s unlikely to damage your teeth due to its acidity.

That said, it’s worth noting that the more “sour” an infusion tastes, the more acidic it might be.

Fruit Tisanes are a prime example. Despite containing fewer calories and lower sugar content than soft and fizzy drinks, these beverages could still negatively affect your teeth.

Your best option with Fruit Tea, then, is to limit the amount you consume. Consider brewing it up as a treat while having, say, a Herbal Tea as your “everyday” cuppa. It’s a win-win that way!

Who Invented Tea?

Tea is, of course, a plant that grows naturally. As such, no one “invented” it in THAT sense. If, however, you’re wondering “Who Discovered Tea?”, then there is, at the very least, one interesting legend surrounding its origins.

According to the tale, which dates back to 2737 BCE, it was a mythological Chinese Emperor who made the first cup of Green Tea - by pure accident! 

But that’s another story (and another blog!). Let’s instead look into aspects of Tea production that WERE invented over the course of history: 

Production methods for making Black Tea invented in the Chinese Qing dynasty (1644-1912).

Afternoon Tea invented by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840.

Breakfast Tea (likely) invented by Robert Drysdale in 1892.

Tea Bags invented by Thomas Sullivan in 1908.

The CTC (cut, tear, curl) process invented by Sir William McKercher in the 1930s.

Pyramid Tea Bags invented in 1997.

What Was The Boston Tea Party?

The Boston Tea Party happened on December 16, 1773. It was one of the sparks that led to the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), resulting in the birth of The United States of America. So yeah, some would say it’s a pretty big deal.

British colonists, angered by “taxation without representation” (especially taxes on Tea), decided to stage a protest. Dressing up as Native Americans, they boarded ships in the Boston Harbor and dumped 342 chests of Tea into the water below.

Those involved, as well as most citizens of the thirteen colonies, would eventually become the first Americans, indeed the first “patriots”.  Learn more about The Boston Tea Party.

Can You Drink Tea When Pregnant?

Yes - in moderation. It’s essential to note, however, that the primary concern of drinking Tea during pregnancy is its caffeine content.

NHS Choices recommends that pregnant women limit their intake to 200-mg of caffeine per day - the equivalent of two cups of fresh Coffee. Yet providing you monitor how much Tea you drink, it is, for the most, safe.

Another option, of course, is caffeine-free Herbal Tea. Again, though, bear in mind that some of these infusions come with side effects of their own.

One recommended by some midwives is Raspberry Leaf Tea (NO SOONER THAN the third trimester), which, according to research, comes with pregnancy benefits. Just be sure to speak with a medical professional before brewing it up.

How is Tea Decaffeinated?

The process of decaffeination, first invented by Ludwig Roselius, dates back to 1903. He began by using benzene, a potentially toxic hydrocarbon, to extract caffeine molecules from pre-moistened Green Coffee Beans.

Methods have, thankfully, moved on since then. Here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we utilise two of the safest and most efficient techniques to decaffeinate our products.

The first is the CO2 process, which uses pressurised liquid carbon dioxide to extract the stimulating molecules. This ultimately removes between 96% and 98% of the caffeine from Tea or Coffee.

The Swiss water process, meanwhile, involves hot water passing through beans - taking the caffeine and flavour molecules with it. The taste is then returned using a carbon filter, while 96% of caffeine is removed.

What is Builder's Tea?

Builder’s Tea can be anything you want it to be! If you’re a builder and you’re drinking Tea, it’s that!

However, the broad definition made by most is that it is a type of strong Black Tea. Popular choices include English Breakfast Tea, Kenya Tea, Ceylon Tea and Assam Tea. All of these have something unique to offer. All have, at one time or another, been classified as a “Builder’s Tea.”

When it comes to “how to make Builder’s Tea”, we recommend reading an article written by the late, great George Orwell (1903-1950).

An extract reads: “First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese Tea. I maintain that one strong cup of Tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true Tea lovers not only like their Builders Tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes.”

What is Nettle Tea Good for?

The short answer is “a lot”. In one study published by the University of Maryland Medical Center, researchers concluded that nettle capsules helped reduce itching and sneezing in volunteers with hay fever.

In another study, 57% of participants rated nettles as effective in relieving their allergies, while 48% considered nettles more effective than some allergy medications.

Meanwhile, clinical trials held at the University of Medical Sciences in Iran showed that Nettle Tea Benefits reduced symptoms associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BHP).

In other words, it could improve kidney function! And then there is a German study demonstrating its potential to reduce inflammation. Most important, though, is the fact that it tastes great!

What is Oolong Tea?

Oolong, in all its shapes and sizes, has a vast multitude of noteworthy qualities. But did you know that some people call it the ‘in-between’ Tea?

This refers to its processing, whereby it’s only partly oxidised. In other words, it sits somewhere between Green Tea and Black Tea in terms of its production.  

Yet it’s important to note the term “somewhere”. This is because seldom do two Oolong Tea shares the same oxidation levels. Some types undergo 8% oxidation while others can be oxidised up to 80%.

Less oxidation means its taste likely resembles Green Tea, while more oxidation almost certainly makes it akin to Black Tea. Whatever you choose, expect a truly unique brew.

When Were Tea Bags Invented?

Thomas Sullivan, as mentioned previously, first created the Tea Bag in 1908 - by pure accident! According to accounts, the New York-based Tea merchant had sent samples of Tea to his customers in silken bags.

Mistaking the bags for part of the product, people started brewing it the same way we might today use an infuser. The rest is, as they say, history. 

But then, nearly 90 years later, in 1997, came the Pyramid Tea Bag. This remarkable creation continues to allow up to 50% extra room for the Tea leaves to infuse while brewing. The result is an enhanced flavour and aroma - the choice made by many a Tea connoisseur.

Does Peppermint Tea Help with Bloating?

Peppermint Tea famously aids digestion. When consumed frequently, it can soothe the intestines, relieve minor abdominal pain and, indeed, reduce bloating.

Additionally, several studies have proven that this beverage can relax gastrointestinal tissue. This is one of the reasons why some people choose to drink Peppermint Tea for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

But let’s talk a little bit more about its ability to reduce bloating, specifically when it comes to bloating caused by the menstrual cycle. Peppermint Tea has antispasmodic properties, which means it can offer relief to those suffering from menstrual discomfort.


So there you have it! The top 30 most common Tea questions - answered! If, however, we’ve missed something, then please feel free to contact us.

The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company is ALWAYS willing to help expand your Tea (and Coffee!) knowledge! Now you know the facts, though, it’s time to try brew up! Why not put the kettle on? You’ve earned it!

Author: Richard Smith

Partner at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

Richard Smith is a Tea expert, entrepreneur, and owner of The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Part of a family of renowned Tea planters dating back four generations, he was born in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, where he spent his childhood between Tea Estates in Assam and Darjeeling.

In the late 1970s, having accumulated years of knowledge in the industry, Mr Smith and his mother, Janet Smith, moved to Kent, South East England, to establish a Tea business in the village of Pluckley. Their early days of packing Tea Bags by hand from chests of 10,000 prompted the creation of the company’s flagship infusion known as Pluckley Tea. It remains our most popular product today.

Mr Smith, who studied economics at London Polytechnic, has since specialised in over 1,000 types of Loose Leaf Tea - in addition to around 70 varieties of Roast Coffee - from around the world. These are now available at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, where everything is still packed by hand and fresh to order, not only to honour tradition but to ensure the utmost quality and consistency.