Het Kleinste Huis has a very diverse range of loose quality teas. In addition to the traditional white, green, oolong and black teas, we also offer some special teas. Due to the limited store stock (after all, the house is very small) it may happen that some teas are out of stock for a while.
WHERE DOES OUR TEA GROW?
There are more than 1,000 varieties of tea available today, and each one has its own unique flavour and aroma. Our tea comes from the leaves of the Camilia Sinensis and prefers to grow in a warm (sub-)tropical climate at an average altitude of 1200 meters. Depending on the location, they are picked 2 to 3 times a year.
The teas that we offer on this website and in our tea shop mainly come from Asian countries such as China, India, Japan and Indonesia. But countries in Africa, such as Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique also supply beautiful quality teas. Due to the location, altitude and climate, each of our teas has developed its own flavor profile.
We prefer to try to offer an organically grown alternative for all our teas.
All these teas can be ordered via our website or in our tea shop on the Oude Hoogstraat in Amsterdam.
China is the largest tea producer in the world. The tea plant 'Camellia Sinensis' originally comes from here. Due to the different geographical locations of the tea gardens, China has a very large and diverse range of quality teas.
Taiwan is known for its beautiful Oolongs. Most tea gardens are located above 1000 meters sea level. As a result, these teas contain less theine and tannin and they get soft notes of honey and nuts.
Most Japanese teas are grown in the Uji region, above Kyoto. Japan exports about 5% of the annual tea production. Japanese teas are full of antioxidants and polyphenols, which have a positive contribution to your health. Japanese teas have a fresh and vegetable taste.
It was not until the late 19th century that tea was cultivated in Vietnam. Production of mainly green tea takes place mainly at small independent tea plantations. Vietnamese teas are characterized by their light, delicate flavours.
Thailand has only developed as a tea producer since the 1980s. Thai tea production mainly focuses on high-quality Oolong tea. Overall, the teas have sweet honey-like flavor notes.
India is the second largest tea producer in the world, producing 1,283 million kilograms of tea per year. Enough for 641.5 billion cups of tea! The regions of Assam and Darjeeling in particular are famous worldwide for their quality teas. The predominantly black teas have taste notes of malt, wood, chocolate and muscatel.
Nepal started producing tea at the end of the 19th century. Every year 140,000 tons of high-quality tea are grown. The tea gardens are located between 1000 and 2000 meters altitude. The teas are very similar to the ones from the Darjeeling region and have full body and muscatel flavor notes.
In the fifties of the last century they started growing tea in Rwanda. Most tea gardens are at an altitude of 1900 - 2500 meters. In combination with the climate, volcanic soil and sufficient rainfall, these teas from this country are among the top in Africa. The teas are generally strong and fresh in taste.
Tea was introduced to Kenya at the turn of the last century. Tea production is now one of the main pillars of the Kenyan economy. Most of the tea in Kenya is produced according to the CTC (crush, tear, curl) method and often serves as the basis for the well-known supermarket tea brands. The quality teas have a fresh, light and citrusy taste.
Tanzania produces 40 thousand tons of tea annually and is an increasingly important contributor to the country's GDP. Most tea gardens are located in southwestern Tanzania. It mainly produces black tea and oolong. All of very high quality.
Of all the tea produced in Sri Lanka, 98% is destined for export. The teas from Sri Lanka are also known as Ceylon. Ceylon tea is generally fresh and light in taste. We often use Ceylon tea as a base for our Earl Gray or Keizer's Best Box.
Indonesia is the 6th largest tea producer in the world. The cultivation of tea started in the 16th century. Most tea production takes place on the island of Java. The humid warm climate is very suitable for harvesting all year round. In general, Indonesia produces black tea, which can compete with the best teas from India or Sri Lanka.
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Origin of Tea
Tea is the oldest known herbal drink of humanity. It was already consumed in the 28th century BC. in the Yunnan Province, China. Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis, the tea plant.
There are several legends about the origin of tea. The most famous one is that of Emperor Shen Nung. In the year 2737 BC. the Emperor walked through his garden. On his way, he stopped to pause and boil some water. At that moment, a tea leaf fell into the boiling water. The emperor drank the water and was so impressed by it that he wanted to drink it again. Eureka! The birth of tea, as we know it.
Although most people think that it was the English who introduced tea in Europe, the honour still belongs to the Dutch. The first shipment of tea arrived in the Netherlands in 1610. In the 17th century, tea was mainly reserved for the elite or used as a medicine. This changed in the early 18th century and from that time everyone could enjoy a nice cup of tea.
Tea versus infusions
In the Netherlands, we quickly call most hot drinks tea. A well-known beverage is hot water with mint or mint tea. Officially you should not call this beverage tea, because it doesn't contain the leaf of the Camellia Sinensis. A better name is a 'infusion'.