The knowledge base for all things Zealong Tea
There is a lot to know about tea and about Zealong Tea Estate so we have prepared some of the most frequently asked questions about Zealong here.
The main difference is the different level of oxidation involved in the tea processing that gives tea different characteristics. Green tea does not undergo oxidation, while black tea is fully oxidized. This is why green tea has a clear, light colour while black tea is a lot darker (some of the tea’s compounds are transformed into flavours and colours during the oxidation stage). Oolong tea is between green and black: the 10%~70% natural oxidation allows oolong tea to have the refreshing taste of green tea, but also the rich and soft flavour of black tea.
We harvest three times per year: November, January and March for about 20 days each time.
(Also called oxidation) This is the process where enzymes within the picked tea leaf react with the oxygen in the air. Over time, this process causes the leaf to turn brown, and also affects the flavor profile. This is the same thing that happens to sliced apple, for example, when it starts to brown.
There are various ways to stop oxidization. In tea making high heat is used to control this process to the desired level.
Our tea is all vacuum-packed and considered processed food, not a live plant, so it should be ok for you to take it overseas. We have lots of customers ordering online from overseas; we haven’t had delivery issues so far, not even in Australia or the US.
Oolong style is a traditional semi-oxidized tea produced through a process including withering the plant under strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for varieties.
Yes, anything is possible depending on the craftsmanship of the tea masters. We make green tea from our oolong plants and also make black tea from the same plants. The result is truly unique teas that are different from the typical green and black teas that are currently in the market today.
You can put it into a cool and dry place, or even in a sealed container in the fridge. It should last for 1 year after opening if it is properly sealed. Like for any other tea, direct sunlight and sun heat can kill the taste very quickly. Tea should be kept clear of moisture, light, and smells. On production, our teas have a shelf life of three years.
Spring or filter water, but not mineral water. It has a taste of its own which would spoil the tea flavour. A lower pH is also usually recommended.
A whole-leaf tea has enough flavour to speak for itself. Also, oolong and green teas, being little or non-oxidized, do not have a lot of tannins, which is usually the reason why people add milk to black tea. We recommend guests try their teas without first, but if their preference is for milk and sugar then they should add as desired. For those who enjoy tea with milk, we also recommend Zealong’s Own Breakfast tea, which is designed to take milk.
Ideally the temperature will be around 90-95°C to brew the leaves. Extremely hot water may kill the most delicate flavours but tea leaves would not unfurl in lukewarm water. Green and Black teas appreciate a lower temperature water about 80-85°C.
Drinking tea is good for you. Green tea, black tea, oolong tea -- all our teas come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Tea has high levels of antioxidant polyphenols, which include flavonoids, catechins, theaflavins and thearubigin. These wonderful nutrients scavenge for cell-damaging free radicals in the body and detoxify them.
To see the health benefits, some tea experts recommend drinking just two cups of tea a day, while others go for five or more: there’s no set amount. Drinking your tea hot or iced doesn’t seem to matter either if it has been brewed with real tea leaves. But beware of additives: there’s some evidence that adding milk to tea can prevent some of the beneficial chemicals being absorbed, and excess sugar intake isn’t ideal.
Although it is by no means a medicine, oolong tea has been credited with weight loss properties, mainly through a process called lypolisis. To some extent, Oolong tea increases metabolism, burns fat and blocks dietary fat absorption. Therefore, how much weight you will lose while drinking oolong tea also depends on many other factors, for instance: switching over to a healthier diet or having a more active lifestyle.
We recommend brewing fresh tea leaves each day with re-infusions throughout the day for general tea consumption, up to 8 times. There are some exceptions to this when using tea in iced tea recipes though as you can brew fresh tea leaves in the fridge overnight – Visit our Retail shop for brewing ideas.
From our experience, it does come down to personal preference and we typically recommend that our teas be considered from the perspective of food matching. The lighter teas go well with fresher ingredients and darker ones with food that has more spices or bold flavours. Zealong Black tea is great with sweets and desserts.
From the first to the third infusion, tea leaves need to steep for approximately 1 minute, from the fourth cup onwards, add an additional minute. Again this comes down to personal preference though and these are just general guidelines. Tea appreciation ceremonies do differ in the way the tea is prepared.
We found Waikato region to be very suitable to grow tea, e.g. temperature difference between morning (cold), noon (hot) and night time (cold again). It is very similar to Asian high mountain regions. The Waikato in particular is famous for its foggy weather, which the tea plant loves.
Zealong Tea Estate is the only commercial tea plantation in New Zealand. We have around 30 hectares of Certified Organic land with over 1.2 million tea bushes.
All teas from the Camellia sinensis plant have some caffeine in them. Our tea plant varietal has a low level of caffeine, much lower than many of its overseas counterparts. This may be due to long sunlight hours and low pest issues, which means that the plant does not have to develop caffeine to protect itself.
Zealong pyramid tea bags are made with all-natural materials. The bag is made with a non-gmo degradable material derived from sugar cane, and heat-sealed with no additional plastics, glues, staples or other binding agents. The tea bags also contain no BPA, Phthalates, Epichlorohydrin or bleaching agents, colouring agents, or additives. The same material is used for the string and the tag.
Zealong is proud to say that all of its products are completely natural and that all flavours have been achieved with natural raw ingredients.
The Origins Collection has its unique flavours and characteristics through the creative manipulation of oxidation, processing techniques, and roasting.
The Botanical Collection uses New Zealand grown teas as a foundation and harmoniously introduces unique botanicals from within New Zealand and from around the world.
The Heritage Collection redefine tea favourites with Zealong’s own interpretation – without the use of any artificial flavours, oils, or additives, which is why these unique flavours differ from the industry traditional standards.