A Webster's cup of tea is one you can rely on to taste consistently great, every single time. And while the finished product might seem simple, the truth is, many variables are involved when crafting a beautiful cup for you to drink. Offering the best-tasting, premium organic loose-leaf tea is no easy feat. However, we believe it's always worth going the extra mile. This love is what you can taste with each sip!
In today's journal post, we explore the finer details that piece together the story of our tea. So pop the kettle on, and take a quiet moment to read about what makes Webster's Tea extra special.
Like all types of plants, different tea varieties thrive in specific climates and, most often, the indigenous country it comes from. We're proud to have been in partnership with one tea supplier for almost seven years now, and they do an excellent job at sourcing premium quality tea from the place in the world where it grows best. We're in constant contact, a lot has happened in that time, however, through clear communication and working together in partnership, we've both managed to be resilient and come out the other side with a stronger relationship.
In terms of specific origins, our Sencha and Lime Ginger are both sourced from Zhejiang province in China, and the black tea in our fragrant Earl Grey, also from China. In our most popular tea, English Breakfast, we've combined various full-bodied black teas from Darjeeling and Assam in India, and Ceylon from Sri Lanka in order to create our signature harmonious blend. The rooibos in our Blood orange and Mānuka herbal blends are sourced from the western cape of South Africa, where it grows abundantly in its best environment. Whereas here in New Zealand, we're proud to source wild harvested Kawakawa from Gordonton, Waikato, for our ultimate wellness tea (more info on this here!), and Mānuka for its namesake blend.
With all this said, we've only just scratched the surface in terms of how many varieties of tea feature in our blends. Simply put, we always buy the best stuff, even though it's more expensive. Quality is something we are never willing to compromise on!
Growing and Harvesting
When it comes to growing and harvesting tea, there's a myriad of external factors that can have a vast impact on the prices and varieties available to us. Whether it's good or bad harvests, or unexpected weather events such as floods and droughts, add global political and economic issues to the mix, and it's no wonder many tea companies opt for the easier, cheaper quality option.
Instead, we opt for tea harvested using traditional hand picked methods, also known as orthodox tea. This old-school process retains a higher amount of antioxidants in the leaves, not to mention a richer flavour profile. The production is more time-intensive, including careful plucking, withering, rolling, oxidation and drying of the leaves to the highest standard. This keeps the tea in loose leaf form for optimal brewing. Plus, it looks prettier!
The Travelling Process
In addition to the natural factors when it comes to growing tea, there are the storage, processing and transportation stages too, which can lead to variations in the flavour nuances in the tea. Which is why here at Webster’s Tea we pay close attention to how our tea is stored and transported. By ensuring it's kept in optimal conditions (cool, dark, dry, and airtight) we're able to maintain the quality ensuring freshness is never impaired, and the tea is in tip-top shape when it arrives!
Sustainability is always top of mind for us. When importing tea and ingredients, we order in the largest unit possible to help minimise unnecessary packaging and waste on our end. One of our freight forwarders offsets its carbon emissions from the port of origin to here, the Port of Auckland, through partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects. This wonderful organization has to date, planted more than 300 million trees in 6 countries. We're working on similar carbon offset initiatives for all of our imports.
Tasting and Blending
Once the tea arrives in our neck of the woods, we indulge in the most enjoyable part of the process - tasting and blending to come up with the beautiful-tasting teas we offer today. When formulating and deciding on a new tea blend, it always starts with an intention; it could be a particular variety, flavour profile, or brewing method (think iced tea) that we want to shine. Then ingredients are considered, sourced, imported, assessed for quality, and different mixes are tested. When tasting, we approach it based on the order that tea hits the senses; first, does it look beautiful? Does it smell divine? And lastly, the taste: is it flavourful, balanced, and does it fit the brief? Voila, a new tea is created!
The finishing touch
Quality, detail and care infuses everything that we create here at Webster's, from sourcing the tea, to how it's meticulously blended, packaged, and then shipped to your doorstep. We're proud to do all this in-house, ensuring each beautiful detail is never missed.