Coal Town Coffee and Tea
Homer Spit - Homer, Alaska

Making Exceptional Tea

The flavor profile of a tea depends on many factors, including climate, altitude, soil, and specific harvesting and processing methods. As a result, there are thousands of varieties of tea, all with their own flavors, aromas, and nuances.

Black, oolong, green, and white teas are all made from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Each variety of tea requires that the tea leaves be plucked at specific times and processed differently.  At Coal Town, we also serve herbal tisanes, which are not made from the tea plant, but from the leaves, roots, or fruit of other plants.

Regardless of the variety of tea, the creation of a whole-leaf specialty tea requires skilled manual labor by attentive, knowledgeable producers.  Many hands are needed to pluck, roll, fire, and shape the tea leaves. 

The final step in creating a cup of tea is brewing the tea, a ritual that can be steeped in tradition or simply be a modern moment of calm in a hectic world. Correct brewing allows the flavors that are created through the hard work and artistry of the producers to reach the tea drinker. 

Here are our suggestions for making a great cup of tea:

1. Use loose-leaf tea. Loose-leaf tea develops a fuller flavor and is less likely to oversteep than the tea dust you often find in pre-packaged tea bags.  Loose-leaf tea also offers a wider range of choices; many high quality teas are not available in bags.

2. Store your tea away from heat, light, and air. In a sealed container, your tea should be fresh for 6-9 months.

3. Measure the tea.  Use about 1 teaspoon for every 8 ounces of water. 

4. Use good, filtered water at the correct temperature.  Black teas and tisanes usually require boiling water, while oolongs are steeped at 180-200 degrees, and green tea even cooler.

5. Make sure your tea leaves have plenty of room to expand as they steep for maximum flavor extraction.

6. Clean your tea pots and mugs with baking soda and hot water to remove stains and lingering flavors.