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Maps at flight tea bar and lounge

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the expiration date of tea?

Tea does not have an expiration date, but it can start to lose freshness over time.

We recommend storing your tea in a cool, dry, and dark place. Tea needs to be kept away from heat, light, air, and moisture to ensure its freshness. Do not store opened teas in the freezer or refrigerator as moisture and unpleasant aromas can be introduced. (The caveat to this guideline is listed under ‘how do I store matcha?’)

How do I store my tea?

Tea is a product of nature and is best savored when fresh and close to its harvest date (with some exceptions, namely dark teas). If you intend to store your tea, ensure it's housed in a container that shields it from light and moisture. Ceramic or metal containers are ideal choices, while it's advisable to steer clear of clear plastic since it absorbs aroma, and glass as sunlight is harmful to your tea.

How much caffeine is in tea?

The amount of caffeine extracted from the tea that you brew is dependent on the steeping parameters used. In general the amount of caffeine is less than that of a cup of coffee. Additionally, caffeine in tea interacts uniquely with the calming effect of Theanine and GABA  regulating its impact and creating an alert but relaxed feeling. Decaffeinated tea is usually chemically processed, though some non chemical processes are used too. For completely non-caffeinated tea, we recommend herbals! To learn more please read this wonderful guide made by our friends over at Hugo Tea.

What is a tea house / shop / bar / lounge / room?

We believe that a tea shop cannot simply be confined by the definitions of a cafe, restaurant or store. At the heart of a tea house is a center of community, intentionality, peace, health, and relaxation. A place where people gather to try new teas, share conversation, and connect with one another. We believe that a tea shop can provide an experience and a service rather than a commodity.

Why are there combined metrics like ounces and grams on your packaging?

Both metrics have their benefits and are usable in different scenarios. In the case of ounces, many pots you may be brewing in will be sized by the ounce, so we include oz in our packaging for that purpose. When it comes to grams, it is best practice to weigh your tea leaves, and grams are the most accurate for doing so. Using a tablespoon for tea can yield varying results, as the shape of each leaf affects the overall volume within the spoon and ultimately influences the amount put into the cup.

Single varietal? Single cultivar? What does it mean?

Like wine grapes, tea plants produce cultivars (cultivated varieties) with distinct flavors, aromas, and colors. A single cultivar or varietal tea is 100% one cultivar, unblended with others. These teas showcase the singular characteristics of a plant and reflect the region's unique terroir.

Why do you give such specific steeping instructions? Does it really matter?

This is a convoluted topic, and it ultimately comes down to preference. The temperature and time at which you brew will change the flavor and character of the tea. Included on all our tea packaging are both modern and gongfu style brewing techniques, which is a great place to start, but they are not the end-all-be-all of instructions.

 

You may decide to brew a silver needle white tea at 170°F and then try it at 195°F - You will notice that the first is much sweeter and softer, while the second is bolder and more full-flavored. Certain teas, however, can be much harder to brew and more prone to becoming bitter, faster. If the tea you brew is bitter, try lowering the temperature and shortening the brewing time. Conversely, if the flavor is too light and watery you may try reversing those principles.

 

If you overbrew a tea and the resulting taste is bitter it is very difficult to get a pleasant flavor after that, so as a general guideline it is good to underestimate rather than overestimate your brew time.

 

If you aren’t feeling adventurous simply adhere to our recommended water temperature and steeping durations for your specific tea to prevent any bitter or displeasing tastes.

 

At the end of the day, tea is just like cooking eggs in that you can prepare it in many different ways to achieve different flavors. Over time, you will develop preferences or certain ways you like to brew, and that is one of the many beauties of the tea journey.

What are bitterness and astringency in tea?

Tea contains polyphenols like tannins and catechins, which are primarily responsible for the bitter and astringent flavors in tea. These compounds also contribute significantly to the tea's antioxidant content. Additionally, caffeine is present in tea, and its bitter taste serves as a natural defense mechanism to deter insects from consuming tea leaves.

 

Bitterness is typically experienced in the back of the throat and tastes like what you might expect: bitter.

On the other hand, astringency produces a drying sensation in the mouth.

 

While excessive amounts of these flavors can be unpleasant, they are inherent in all teas, and without them, tea would lack depth and taste rather flat.

What is a cultivar?

"Cultivar" stands for "cultivated variety." Traditionally, this is accomplished by selecting a tea variety with suitable taste, resistance to specific weather conditions, adaptability to certain climates, and so on, and then taking a cutting from that bush for propagation. In theory, the genetics of the new plant are identical to the mother plant, making this method a form of asexual propagation. Alternatively, you can allow the plant to be pollinated, leading to seed production and introducing genetic variations.

 

Let's consider an example: The Da Bai (big white) cultivar is primarily used for making Chinese white teas due to its larger-than-normal bud size. Does this mean we can expect the same flavor from every tea made from this cultivar? Not at all! Every step involved in growing and producing tea ultimately influences its taste. While producers strive to maintain consistent and delicious flavors every year, even the most subtle factors can significantly alter the taste. These factors include weather conditions, soil composition, processing techniques, plucking choices, elevation, and more.

Why don't you carry silken or pyramid tea bags with the Flight brand?

While these 'silken' tea bags may seem luxurious, they are typically made of plastic, specifically polypropylene. Steeping plastic in hot water raises health concerns. Moreover, polypropylene isn't biodegradable; even the corn PLA versions take around 1000 years to break down. We prioritize the most natural tea-drinking experience: whole, loose leaf tea without additives, chemicals, or artificial materials like polypropylene. 

How long does matcha last?

Matcha powder remains fresh for up to a year when unopened in a cool, dark place. Once opened, use it within a month for the best taste and effects.

If your matcha starts losing potency, all is not lost! There are a range of drink and baked good recipes that take advantage of the increase in bitterness.

Is matcha a type of green tea?

Yes, matcha is a Japanese green tea that has been shade grown and stone milled. Shade growing typically lasts 21 days and increases the amount of L-Theanine within the leaf before plucking.

How do I store matcha?

1. Minimize Oxygen Exposure: Catechins, matcha's powerful antioxidants, need protection from oxygen. Use an airtight container or one that reduces oxygen contact. The original tin container or a vacuum-sealed option is ideal.

2. Avoid Heat and Humidity: In most cases, storing matcha in a cool place is sufficient. If you live in a hot climate or lack air conditioning, consider additional measures. But be cautious about placing matcha in the fridge, as it can absorb odors. Use an airtight container or plastic bag to prevent this and keep the matcha fresh.

3. Serve at Room Temperature: If you've stored matcha in the fridge due to excessive heat, let it return to room temperature before serving. This prevents condensation inside the container, ensuring your matcha stays dry and delicious.

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