Beginner's Guide to Tea: The 7 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Tea

Beginner's Guide to Tea: Everything You Need to Know

Discover the World of Tea, the 7 most frequently asked questions about tea answered!

Een blije vrouw zit aan een tafel en geniet van een kopje thee, met een witte theepot op een houten serveerplank naast haar. De achtergrond is neutraal en vervaagd, wat de focus legt op haar ontspannen uitdrukking en de thee die ze vasthoudt.

Door Kirsten

Discover the World of Tea, the 7 most frequently asked questions about tea answered!

Welcome to the world of tea! In our tea shop in the heart of Amsterdam and on our webshop we notice that drinking tea is becoming increasingly popular. Many wonder: "How do I become a tea drinker?" and "How do I know which tea I like?" That's why we've put together this guide for anyone new to drinking loose tea. Whether you are looking for your first tea experience or want to deepen your knowledge, in this blog we answer the 7 most frequently asked questions we receive in our tea shop, from the basics to the intricacies of brewing a perfect cup. These are:

  1. What exactly is tea?
  2. What types of tea are there? An overview
  3. How do you make your perfect cup of tea?
  4. Does tea contain caffeine or theine?
  5. How do I know which tea I like?
  6. How do you best store loose tea?
  7. What is the difference between loose tea from Het Kleinste Huis and Supermarket Tea?

What exactly is tea?

Tea is much more than a hot drink; it is a journey through history and culture. It all starts with the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, whose dried leaves form the basis for the tea we drink.

This plant is carefully cultivated in different parts of the world, each with its own unique climate and soil, which contributes to the diversity of flavors in tea. After harvesting, the tea leaves are processed, which determines the taste and type of tea.

Black tea, for example, undergoes a process of oxidation, resulting in a strong, full flavor. Green tea, on the other hand, is heated soon after harvest to prevent oxidation, which helps it retain its lighter, fresher taste. It is this combination of cultivation, processing and preparation that gives tea its unique character.

Every cup of tea tells a story, from the careful selection of the leaves to the precise way they are prepared.

Drinking tea is a ritual, a moment of peace, and a deep dive into a world full of taste and tradition.

What types of Tea are there? An overview

Tea can be divided into several categories, each with their own unique flavor profiles and preparation methods. We list the most important types of tea for you below. We also call these pure teas. These in turn often form the basis of a tea blend, or a flavor is added to it.

  1. Black Tea : One of the most famous and most consumed teas worldwide. Black tea is completely oxidized, resulting in a strong, robust flavor and higher caffeine content. Examples are Earl Gray and Darjeeling. Read all about Earl Gray tea in this blog.
  2. Green Tea: Less oxidized than black tea , with a more subtle taste and lighter color. Green tea is known for its fresh, and sometimes slightly grassy taste. Well-known varieties are Sencha and Matcha. Read all about Matcha in this blog.
  3. White Tea: The least processed tea, known for its delicate, light taste. White tea is often praised for its subtle, sweet notes. Examples are White Jasmine tea and White Dragon Tea.
  4. Oolong Tea: This tea is oxidized between black and green tea. Oolong teas vary greatly in taste, from light and floral to dark and full. Well-known varieties are Green Oolong Tea and Tanzania Oolong.
  5. Herbal tea: Technically not a real tea because they do not come from the Camellia sinensis plant. such as chamomile, mint and rooibos, and contain no caffeine.
  6. Pu Erh Tea: Pu Erh is a special type of fermented tea from the Chinese province of Yunnan. This tea undergoes a unique maturing process, resulting in a deep, earthy flavor. Pu Erh is known for its dark color and can have both smooth and complex flavor profiles depending on the age.

Each of these teas offers a unique experience and flavor profile, and the choice often depends on personal preference and the time of day. Experiment with these different types to discover which one suits your taste best.

Tip: Start by drinking lighter types of tea, such as white and green tea. Then move on to powerhouses like black tea and Matcha.

How to brew the Perfect Cup of Tea?

Making a delicious cup of loose tea may seem complicated, but with a few simple tips you will soon be making tea like a pro! Here are the basic steps and variations per type of tea:

Choose Your Tools

To brew loose tea, you can use a teapot with a built-in strainer or a loose tea infuser. Special tea infusers or paper tea filters are also available.

Amount of Tea

A general rule is to use about 1 teaspoon of loose tea per cup. For larger tea leaves, such as some white or oolong teas, you can use a little more.

Water temperature

  • Black and herbal teas: 100°C (boiling water).
  • Green and white tea: about 70-80°C (let the boiling water cool for about a minute).
  • Oolong tea: between 80-90°C.

Steeking time

  • Black tea: 3-5 minutes.
  • Green tea: 2-3 minutes.
  • White tea: 4- 5 minutes.
  • Oolong tea: 4-7 minutes.
  • Herbal tea: 5-7 minutes.


Although spring water is often recommended, you can also use tap water. Let the tap flow briefly to release more oxygen into the water. This improves the taste of the tea.

Taste and Adjust

Experiment with the amount of tea, water temperature and steeping time to find your perfect cup.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a delicious cup of tea that is just right for your taste. Remember, experimentation and personal preference are key to finding your ideal tea experience!

Tip: First preheat your teapot or teacup with warm water to prevent your tea from getting cold quickly.

Does Tea contain Caffeine or Theine?

What many people ask me is whether there is caffeine in tea and what theine actually is. Well, the answer is quite interesting! Theine and caffeine are actually the same molecule. The difference in name is usually due to the source it comes from. Tea certainly contains caffeine, but the amount varies per type of tea.

Caffeine content per type of tea

  • Black Tea: Contains approximately 20-60 mg caffeine per 10 grams of dry tea.
  • Green Tea: Has an average of 10-30 mg caffeine per 10 grams of dry tea.
  • White Tea: Typically contains 6-25 mg caffeine per 10 grams of dry tea.
  • Oolong Tea:Falls between black and green tea, with approximately 12-55 mg caffeine per 10 grams of dry tea.

For comparison, 10 grams of coffee can contain up to 100 mg of caffeine, which is often higher than most teas. So yes, tea can give you a caffeine boost, but often less intense than coffee!

Tip: do you drink a lot of tea in a day? Then end the day with a herbal tea, this ensures an undisturbed night's sleep!

How do I know which tea I like?

That's a very good question! However, it is not that easy to answer, because tea has such a diverse taste. However, we can help you find your taste preference. We have put together a trial package especially for the novice tea drinker. We have included all standard teas. With this collection you can discover in your own time what kind of tea you prefer.

How do you best store loose tea?

Also a frequently asked question in the store is: What is the best way to store loose tea? Good storage is very important. Elements such as moisture, light and temperature all influence your loose tea. We have listed the best tips for optimally storing loose tea:

  • Use an airtight container: This is the key to keeping your tea fresh tea. An airtight container protects the tea from moisture, air and light.
  • Store in a cool, dark place: Heat and light can age the tea and affect its flavor. A cool, dark cupboard is ideal.
  • Avoid strong odors: Because tea absorbs odors easily, it's important to keep it away from herbs or other strong-smelling products. li>
  • Keep tea separate:Different types of tea can affect each other's taste. Therefore, store them separately.
  • How long can you store tea? Most loose teas will keep for up to a year if stored correctly. Over time, the tea may lose its flavor, so it is advisable to use it within this time frame.

Tea tins, not only beautiful and decorative, but they also extend the life of your loose tea!

What is The Difference Between Loose Tea from The Smallest House and Supermarket Tea

People often wonder what the difference is between the tea you can buy in the supermarket and our loose, fresh tea from Het Kleinste Huis. Now do you have a minute? We are going to publish an extensive Blog, but here are the most important differences:

Quality of the Ingredients

  • Loose tea from Het Kleinste Huis is often of higher quality, with carefully selected ingredients.
  • Supermarket tea often consists of mass-produced products and may contain smaller, broken leaves.


  • Tea from Het Smallest House is often fresher, resulting in a better taste.
  • Supermarket tea can remain on the shelf longer and lose its taste.

Diversity in Supply

  • The Smallest House offers a wide range of unique and exotic teas.
  • Supermarkets often have a more limited, commercial offering.

Sustainability and Origin

  • The Smallest House often has more insight into and control over the origin of their tea.
  • The origin of supermarket teas can be less transparent.

Personal Service and Expertise

  • At Het Kleinste Huis you can count on personal service and expert advice.
  • This personal approach is often lacking in supermarkets.

Packaging and Presentation

  • Tea from Het Kleinste Huis is often carefully and attractively packaged.
  • Packaging in supermarkets is more standardized.
Cozy interior of Het Kleinste Huis tea shop with shelves lined with yellow and black tea canisters, loose tea jars, and tea accessories.

The Smallest House carefully selects the tastiest and freshest teas and herbs, only the best is good enough for us!

The 7 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Tea in short:

What is Tea? Tea is a drink made from the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.

  • Types of Tea: There are different types of tea, such as black, green, white, oolong and herbal teas, each with a unique flavor profile.
  • Making a Perfect Cup of Tea: The ideal cup of tea depends on the type of tea, water temperature and steeping time.
  • Caffeine/Theine in Tea: Tea contains caffeine (also called theine), but the amount varies per type of tea.
  • Personal Tea Preference: Discovering which tea you like is a matter of trying different types.
  • Tea Storage: Store loose tea in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
  • Difference Between Loose Tea and Supermarket Tea: Loose tea from Het Kleinste Huis differs from supermarket tea in quality, freshness, and diversity.

- Kirsten -

Discover the rich selection of Herbal Tea from Theewinkel Het Kleinste Huis

Did you know that we have a rich selection of Herbal teas at Het Kleinste Huis. Our collection includes a wide range of herbs, each with their unique health benefits. Whether you are looking for something to soothe your sore throat or strengthen your resistance, you will undoubtedly find a tea that suits you in Het Kleinste Huis. Discover it yourself and be surprised by the natural power of our herbs.

For a large part of her life Kirsten has had a passion for entrepreneurship and tea. Since 2014, she has been combining this with her husband, Niels, in the tea specialty store Het Kleinste Huis (The Smallest House in Amsterdam). Kirsten likes to write about things that keep her busy (this doesn't have to be just tea!).

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